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Offline big oil

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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1060 on: August 05, 2020, 04:22:58 am »
Founded in an ancient caldera, Silverton, Colorado is called home by roughly 600 year-round inhabitants. The only township in San Juan County at an elevation of 9,318 feet, this town has roots in mining at the turn of the 20th century, when the mountains were renown for high mineral content and Blair Street was known for its shady ladies. Now the mines are summer tourist attractions, the brothels are hotels, and the mountains are famous for massive amounts of snow. Locals here still know how to make last call and still get first chair no matter how cold it is when they wake up. Be polite, tip well, and try to keep up with a local during unguided season to find a few stashes.









To reach the Red Mountain Mining District, the first road was built from Ouray across the steep “impassable” cliffs to Red Mountain Pass by the Ouray and San Juan Wagon Road Company in 1880. Though progress was made in the first two years, the company was running out of money by 1882. After several attempts to reorganize, and refinance, Otto Mears, known as the “Pathfinder of the San Juans” because he had built so many roads through the area, offered to purchase a 54% interest in the toll road company. After putting a larger and more experienced construction crew to work, much of the road was blasted from solid rock. His crews cleared 8.5 miles at a cost to Mears and his backers of $40,000 per mile. He also extended the road along Red Mountain Creek over Red Mountain Pass, down Mineral Creek, and into Silverton.

The road was completed in 1883 and the narrow track operated as a freight and stage line. Mears attempted to recoup his costs by charging a $5 toll for a team and wagon, $2.50 for a trail wagon, and $1 for saddle animals. Mears made sure the road narrowed at Bear Creek Falls, about three miles south of Ouray, so to prevent anyone from circumventing his toll bridge. Here, his gatehouse also doubled as a small store where he sold “whiskies and fine cigars.”
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Offline big oil

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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1061 on: August 05, 2020, 04:25:56 am »
However, local merchants and miners who contributed money and labor toward completing the road soon turned on Mears. By 1887, San Juan County and the State overtook maintenance of the road, thus ending one man’s dominance of Red Mountain Pass.

But Otto Mears had other plans and was working to connect the Red Mountain Mining District to Silverton with the Silverton Railroad. In 1888, the line reached Ironton in November. It was completed in September 1889 to its terminus in Albany, about eight miles south of Ouray. Above this point, the toll road above Ironton was much to steep for the Silverton Railroad to use as a roadbed. An electric cog railway was planned to connect Ouray with Ironton, but due to financial restraints, it was never completed.


The railroad connected the Red Mountain Mining District’s towns to the bustling city of Silverton and allowed the mines to ship medium and low-grade ore to smelters in Durango and Pueblo.


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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1062 on: August 05, 2020, 04:27:40 am »


The first automobile descended the Red Mountain wagon road to Ouray in 1910 when Ouray doctor L.G. Crosby and some companions made the six-mile journey from Ouray to Ironton in a new Model T on a house call. This trip made immediate news and Dr. Crosby and his passengers were hailed as heroes:



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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1063 on: August 05, 2020, 04:29:28 am »
“It was a trip that few believed could ever be accomplished. It was one of the most exhilarating, thrilling, unusual, and stirring automobile trips that could be taken or imagined”

When the mines began to play out, the Silverton Railroad cut back service, shortened the line, and was abandoned in 1921. Mears’ toll road continued to operate until the early 1920’s when it was rebuilt and became part of the present day US Highway 550.




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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1064 on: August 05, 2020, 04:30:27 am »
In 1924, the Colorado Department of Highways improved Mears’ work and began to upgrade the road for automobile travel. Several changes were made at this time, but one of Mears’ greatest feats – the 200-foot-long, 17-foot-wide Ouray Tunnel, remained the same. Today, its original integrity is still intact. Mears’ original course was extremely narrow outside of Ouray and was located closer to the Uncompahgre River than modern US 550. However, above Bear Creek Falls, US 550 still follows Mears’ initial shelf.




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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1065 on: August 05, 2020, 04:31:14 am »
The 1930 State Highways map showed US 550 as a patchwork of a graded and surfaced road. Armed with improved snow-clearing machinery, the state kept the road open year-round for the first time in 1935.




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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1066 on: August 05, 2020, 04:32:08 am »
Many people traveling the byway wonder why there are no guardrails in some places. Archival photos show that large earthen blocks once served as guardrails in the road’s early days. However, the blocks left snowplow drivers no place to push the 300 inches of snow that annually fall on the San Juans. There are some guardrails along the highway today, but only where the road has enough width that it can still be maintained.




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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1067 on: August 05, 2020, 04:33:15 am »
Today, U.S. 550 draws an average of 2,300 vehicles a day, as travelers are drawn to the stunning alpine panoramas, wildlife views, and ghost towns along this historic path.




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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1068 on: August 05, 2020, 04:38:54 am »
I arrived in Silverton, late afternoon, around 5pm, to get some supplies.  Saw this beautiful relic for sale, an antique Ford Ranger F250 (3/4 Ton Payload Capacity back then) and began drooling.







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Offline big oil

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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1069 on: August 05, 2020, 04:43:22 am »
That's when one of the local Colorado cowboys came over n said, "dats a nice old Furd, what day askin' for her"?   :imaposer:  Sorry, we Murican's laugh about how much different we talk in different parts of our massive country. 




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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1070 on: August 05, 2020, 04:52:17 am »
It was time to go setup camp, take a breather, so I made my way to South Mineral Campground. 








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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1071 on: August 05, 2020, 04:55:19 am »
I chose South Mineral because I'd heard and read that it was close to the Gulch's I wanted to climb, plus it was hidden nicely, about 5 miles off US 550, not much traffic on the gravel path it takes to find the camp.




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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1072 on: August 05, 2020, 05:00:06 am »
As you can see, it's centrally located between Ophir, Telluride, Ouray, and Silverton.  I rode several of the passes back in ought 9 on my then ought 9 R1200GSA, so the plan was to only ride Clear Lake Gulch and Blue Lake Gulch this time around and get some much needed rest and relaxation in the cool crisp fresh mountain air.

I setup my tent, detached my gear, sat down with a Coca-Cola and took the scenery in.  Then decided it was time to ride back in to Silverton, find a decent place for dinner, sightsee, find wood, fill up with gasoline, find some good ol' Colorado Homegrown weed to help me relax before coming back to camp.



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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1073 on: August 05, 2020, 05:07:18 am »
At dinner, a fella and his wife struck up a convo with me, they were visiting from Oklahoma.  I asked him if there was a Marijuana Dispensary in Silverton.  He said as a matter of fact there was, and I was planning on making a stop there after dinner.  It was agreed we'd walk down together while his wife and kids remained at the restaurant. 

We walked down, opened the door, had to provide Identification immediately upon entry (State Law).  Man, was I in heaven.  This was the first time I'd ever been able to do something like this as my home state of Michigan still wasn't a Recreational Pot state yet.  What a great place to spend some time.  All kinds of different strains of medicine that help alleviate the aches and pains and anxiety of being so far away from home.  I bought a big fat bag, enough to last me for awhile.

The Oklahoman and I returned to the restaurant, finished a couple of drinks with his family, then I toured around Silverton for awhile to get these two pics from in town as the sun set:








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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1074 on: August 05, 2020, 05:15:41 am »




« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 05:16:40 am by big oil »
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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1075 on: August 05, 2020, 05:16:59 am »
Now, the only thing left to find before going back to camp was firewood.  I'd seen a sign on my way into town in front of an older dilapidated house selling bundles.  I decided to buy a bundle, looked like good stuff.  I told the owner if it burned long, I'd be back for some more tomorrow.  He couldn't believe his ears apparently, most people can't when they first hear a Michigander speak, lol.  He asked the same question many ask, are you from Canada?  I replied, "Michigan sir, same thing".  He laughed.  He said he'd never heard anybody with such an accent before. 

We chewed the cud for a few minutes, he told me if I was happy with the wood he sold me and wanted some more tomorrow, he'd hook me up.  I agreed, we shook hands, I departed for camp.




« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 05:20:15 am by big oil »
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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1076 on: August 05, 2020, 05:18:36 am »
First things first, get a raging fire built. 




« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 05:20:52 am by big oil »
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Nasty Austrian[emoji1038] Conquers da [emoji631] & [emoji1063]
« Reply #1077 on: August 05, 2020, 05:22:53 am »
Then breakout the weed, load a bowl, and smoke it.  All the pain and anxiety slowly released, a Whitetail deer must have liked the smell and came to investigate! 

Man, I was in heaven.  I sat and stared at the fire and slept like a log the first night in Colorado.



« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 05:24:43 am by big oil »
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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1078 on: August 05, 2020, 05:31:01 am »
This concludes Day 61!  Next up, I climb Clear Lake Gulch.  The locals told me not to climb it on such a big heavy bike!

Climbed it High AF!



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Re: Nasty Austrian🇦🇹 Conquers da 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦
« Reply #1079 on: August 05, 2020, 07:40:45 am »
THanks again for taking the time and effort to share your adventures and beautiful surroundings with us  :thumleft:
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