A Mountain Road Detour

We work in shifts between loading the car, watching the sunrise, eating breakfast, and grabbing some food from the hotel lobby before stopping to air the tires on our way out of town towards Placerville.

The temperature has dropped to 55° F and we both appreciate the chance to enjoy the weather as we stop along our route for a chance to capture the fog among the dew-covered trees, some of the taller ones looking like q-tips as they reach for the sun.

There’s inspiration to be found in the mundane but there’s also an elegance in finding it in the unexplored. I want to take this feeling and bring it home again to find the excitement and knowledge in the ordinary.

Dad stops to write while I photograph ants and worms. He’ll stop again next to a trail for some tripod shots where he took Katarina, Caroline’s niece, on her visit to America to see backroads and horses.

We’ll stop about every 15 minutes on the 145 N for pictures until our eight-mile roundtrip detour into Telluride, to the trailhead of Bridal Veil Falls – 1.2 miles up with almost 1,000 ft elevation gain. The line of cars and people walking from downtown tell us this is a popular hike. We pass two eight-year-olds testing out their golf clubs on the roadside.

“I thought we’d make good time driving so we could hike,” says Dad, but driving 20mph under the speed limit isn’t helping us. Dad’s worried that I’ll get bored if I’m not out in crowds showing off my tights, duck lips, and headphones.

That anxiety is there because it’s been years since we last saw each other in person and had a chance to contemplate the beauty and natural silence that comes in spare moments gained on the roadside away from civilization, traffic, and internet.

We stop in Ridgway so that Dad can fill out a reference for a former employee while I walk around their farmer’s market full of ceramics, jams, rugs, veggies, beads, bags, spicy cheese that makes me think of Caleb and summer teas for Caroline, but I buy neither.

We stop at the Looney Bean in Montrose for sweets, caffeine, a video call for me, and writing for Dad. He’ll call Caroline before we get on the 65 N, a more winding route towards Craig, with more time for sightings of Yellow-pine chipmunks, an Alpine pika, and a dying fawn.

Sign posted on 13 N: ‘Wildlife zone. Fine doubled 5p-7a Oct 1 – Jun 1.’ There’s some heavy rain as we arrive into Craig, Colorado at 630pm. The hotel we check into has rooms with two doors so that in case of fire you can jump into the pool or out of the window.

A sad dinner will be had at Fiesta Jalisco, a family run place, on recommendation over The Sizzling Pickle across the street. At least that disappointment would’ve come with a cool name.

Out for a walk in the neighborhood and notice the odd distribution of wealth. There are houses with RVs next to trailer homes with new trucks and Thule cargo cases but no sidewalk except an old section behind a shopping center that says no trespassing.

We’re rewarded with a sunset for dessert versus the rain cloud we saw looming that might’ve given us an early soapless shower. Dad tries talking to me in German before remembering that I’m not his usual bilingual travel companion, but I get the gist.

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