Friday, December 11, 2015

Telluride in September

Toward the end of September, I drove to Telluride to getaway for a few days, explore somewhere new, and do the first day of fall right! It's been almost two months, but here are some snaps from my trip. Telluride is such a beautiful place and I would love to go back someday! (Maybe even for the Telluride Film Festival!)

Testing out the Snapchat filters in Vail. Wishing I could have stopped for a Pure Barre class!

My first views of Telluride.

I barely stopped on my way there, so the first thing I did was eat! I was too early to check in at my hotel, so I went to a neighboring hotel in Mountain Village and had the caprese salad with an extra dirty martini. Hey, it's vacation!

Embracing the opportunity to dress for fall...with new clothes!

I took the gondola to downtown. It was as beautiful as I imagined.

I stopped at the Floradora Saloon and talked to some locals and the bartender (about Oprah, Tom Cruise, and Jerry Seinfeld) while enjoying another extra dirty martini and some duck egg rolls. Seriously, yum!

I went to the Cosmopolitan for dinner and treated myself to the surf 'n turf. It was hands down the best lobster I've ever had!

I got to witness an incredible sunset from the gondola on the way back!

Mountain Village has firepits all over so I relaxed at one until my feet felt like they were on fire.

For breakfast, I brought a box of Trader Joe's Pumpkin O's. The perfect fall breakfast with the perfect view!

I decided to drive up to Bridal Veil Falls.

This photo is still my lock screen on my phone.

 I drove back to my hotel, parked, and took the gondola back into town for lunch. I decided to stop at the top and explore a little bit.

I had lunch at the Brown Dog, an award winning pizza place that serves Detroit style pizza. Yeah, I had never heard of Detroit style pizza before then either! I had the 3-1-3.

I walked around downtown for a while, went back to the hotel to relax, then got ready for dinner.

I wanted to eat in Telluride again. I got a drink at the Last Dollar Saloon and walked around to find a restaurant, but nothing caught my fancy so I went back to Mountain Village to explore up there.

I once again caught an awesome sunset on the gondola.

I ate at the Madeline. I sat at the bar and talked to the bar tender the whole time. She was awesome. I ordered the Buffalo Negra at her suggestion. I was a little skeptical about the balsamic vinegar but it was probably the best drink I've ever had. For dinner, I had oysters and tater tots. I would go back to Telluride just for that meal!

On my last morning there, I went on a 4x4 tour up Imogene Pass. They picked me up at my hotel then we went around Mountain Village and Telluride to pick up the rest of the group. I was the only one under 50.

The guide said they considered it bad luck for single women to go beyond this tunnel. That's when I started getting nervous. When the Tomboy Mine was functioning, the only single woman allowed up there was the school teacher.

We had some incredible views for a while.
 After we drove past the ghost town of Tomboy Mine, we were beyond tree line and it was pretty barren.

 We made it to the top! Below me is the Million Dollar Highway. 

I got dropped off downtown at the end of the tour so I could go to lunch in Telluride before leaving. I ate at Steamies, which was pretty good. It reminded me of Shake Shack a little bit. I think I accidentally got blueberry ketchup, but it was surprisingly good.

 Got some caffeine for the ride home and obviously had to document the fall cup with the fall colors.

 I decided to drive on the Million Dollar Highway on my way home. I put it into my Maps and found it was only 25 miles away, but it was over an hour and a half drive. I assumed my Maps had a glitch and went on my merry way. If you recognize this mountain, you've probably drank a Coors beer before.

 So I'm driving along the highway when the directions tell me to get off and drive along this dirt road. I drive through Alta and then into the woods. It was wide enough for one car, but also looked like a hiking trail almost. I passed another car going the opposite direction and that was it. When I came out of the trees, there was a car stopped along the road. The passenger was outside taking pictures, but when she got back in, they didn't start going. Then the driver got out and walked up to my car saying he was waiting for the car to come down because it's "pretty narrow up there". So we waited. The car that was coming down took forever and then had to go up onto the side of the mountain a little bit to pass us. It really was narrow!

We start going and I quickly realize we're on a 4x4 trail. I later discover it was Ophir Pass, one of the most dangerous roads in the state. You can only drive it with high clearance 4-wheel drive so thank goodness I was in my mom's Rav. I was white-knuckling the steering wheel and actually praying allowed and talking to myself the entire time. The guy ahead of me stopped again at a switch back and said there were more cars coming. I asked him if he had driven the road before and he said he just had a map that located the few spots where you could pull over to pass. We waited while two more cars passed and then continued on our way. I got high-centered for a quick second and then we eventually made it to the top. He told me I could keep going and it was an easier road from there. I actually thank God for that man every day because I would have died on that road without him, I'm pretty sure. I would have started going and ended up head-to-head with the car coming down with no where to go. It was terrifying and I was already traumatized from the 4x4 tour that morning.

When I finally got on the Million Dollar Highway, it ended up being worth it. Kind of...

I was just cruising along when I came to a stop due to construction. The guy directing traffic came up to my window and asked if I had seen the sign saying the road was closed from 8 to 12 and from 1 to 5. It was about 1:30. I told him I hadn't and he said it was my lucky day because they had decided not to go back to work that afternoon and it would only be a 20 minute delay. I got out of the car and walked over to the waterfall off the side of the road.

My detour to the Million Dollar Highway added quite a bit of time to my drive home. I went a different way back, but was able to catch an amazing sunset outside of Fairplay and get back for the second half of Merge.

It was such an incredible trip and I'd love to go back, especially in the winter. I follow some Telluride Instagram accounts now and all the snow is making my antsy to travel again!

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