Swinging in the Clouds and Galloping Geese!

Wednesday morning in Ridgway, CO greeted Bonnie and me with cloudy skies and a forecast for rain. Though we didn’t pay much attention to it, wind, rain and lightning buffeted the environs the evening and night before. “Nobody told us,” Bonnie bemoaned, “that this is the monsoon season!” Yes, that’s exactly what the TV weatherman called Colorado July weather.

Galloping Goose #1Before leaving town, we headed over to the local railroad museum. There we photographed an exact replica of Galloping Goose #1; whereas railroads of yesteryear referred to them generically as “motors,” the Rio Grande Southern nicknamed those odd trains (cross between a boxcar and a truck) in their fleet the Galloping Geese. This particular one was a small pickup truck that rode the rails delivering mail.

After refueling the rental car, we drove toward Telluride, CO. A long time before we encountered difficulties, a lighted road sign warned that the road ahead was closed. It seemed as if a sick joke, but the wording on the sign advised to take an alternative route, but there are no alternative routes! We were on the only paved highway and the only roadway that didn’t require four-wheel drive going the direction we needed to go. Eventually, we encountered the huge mudslide that had closed Colorado Highway 145 north of Telluride until 1 a.m. We experienced a delay, but we were able to pass through; the slick, red mudslide must have enveloped miles of roadway.

Telluride, CONot long after getting past the mudslide, we arrived at Mountain Village. At first, we could not find suitable parking; we paid $7 to an unmanned, cantankerous machine sentry to park so we could ride the free gondola from Mountain Village across hilltops and valleys and down a mountain into downtown Telluride. The parking fee was well worth just the experience on the series of gondolas in to town. After all, it is not every day that we get to swing through the clouds and skip on mountain tops aboard a cable-bound, swinging gondola.

Telluride, COApparently, we visited after most summer visitors had come and gone; all of the visitor maps and guides had vanished before we arrived, and we were left to wander according to our best guess to find the main thoroughfare of shops in Telluride. The entire town is consumed with real estate sales, expensive clothing stores and pricey restaurants (not necessarily fancy, just expensive). The historic mining town of bygone days was invisible amidst the joggers, hikers, bikers and the well-off clientele of the mountain golf course and sea of condominiums.

It was not at all what we had imagined, and it held little interest for us – except for Galloping Goose #4, which was on display along the main street. It was wedged angle-wise between two buildings, shrouded with short trees and with a picnic table in use at its side. Unfortunately, we were not able to get a picture of it in its entirety under those circumstances.

The second highest waterfalls in Colorado is somewhere around the town of Telluride. However, no map or guide book in hand, and with no signage, besides being on foot, we counseled ourselves that we were tired anyway and headed back toward the gondolas.

Galloping Goose #4The balance of the drive toward Cortez was uneventful compared to the harrowing ride across the top of the mountains the day before. For me personally, the brightest moment of the day was when we happened upon along our route of travel Galloping Goose #5. There it was beside the highway in Delores, CO in front of the old train depot – now a little museum. This specimen is carted by tractor-trailer various times of the year to special events where it once more takes on passengers and plies the rails. I must confess that I bought a souvenir!

Galloping Goose #4It was time to continue our day’s journey southward toward Cortez. Do you know how hard it is to find a restaurant with which you are not familiar in a part of the country with which you are not familiar – when it has changed its name! I drove in so many circles in all directions turning around and looking every which way. It’s a wonder that someone didn’t call the authorities to investigate. Finally, we found the place, but the name didn’t match the advertising, and subsequently, the menu was different, too. Nevertheless, we had a good meal before returning to our motel for the night (two nights in total, actually).

We are tired. Since we applied sunscreen to our faces and arms (we burned slightly yesterday), and we seemed to have experienced a dusty day, we feel like we have been breaded. To clean up and to slumber we must, for another day comes, we think. If it does not come, either because the earth no longer turns or though it does we do not, that will be all right, too. Each of us must ready ourselves to meet God in Judgment (Amos 4:12).

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