Thursday, June 29, 2017

Durango & Silverton Railroad

In 1871, under the direction of William Jackson Palmer, the Denver & Rio Grande Railway began construction.  They started by laying 3 feet narrow gauge rails south of Denver.  They chose the narrow gauge because of the tall mountains and steep valleys it will be running through.  This was cost efficient and would increase sustainability for this railroad.  They enhanced the additions of the tracks to embrace the mining towns in southwestern Colorado.

It was on August 5, 1881 when the Denver & Rio Grande Railway made its way to Durango.  Then on July 10, 1882, the tracks reached the tiny town of Silverton.  Right after that they started carrying passengers and cargo.  The railroad had its challenges.  It was met with yearly snow slides and floods, but managed to survive.  After World War II, the railroad started to see a surge in passenger traffic on the train to Silverton.  In 1950, with only four passenger cars, travel increased as tourist enjoyed sightseeing on the train ride from Durango to Silverton.  They had one train running until 1963 when a second was added.  A third was added in October 5, 1980.
Today, you can enjoy a train ride on a narrow gauge steam locomotive from Durango to Silverton.  You travel 45.2 miles of pristine scenery though the most breathtaking land.  My family and I just recently took the train ride and it was amazing.  We sat in an open car and could smell the smoke coming from the steam/coal engine.  The weather was perfect as we enjoyed the beautiful terrain.  The cars rocked back and forth.  This made things a bit difficult when getting beverages and food four cars away.  I bumped into other passengers as I walked like a drunk to get our snacks.  On the ride back, I got margaritas and thankfully they had lids on the cups because the drinks would not have made it back to our car.  I was thankful they had bathrooms.  All and all, the train ride was fantastic and I was so glad that I got to experience it.

For more information, check out their website:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Durango: Large Family Rental

When my family decided to make Durango, CO as our 2017 vacation destination, my daughter found a house big enough for all of us.  She found a house called "Trappers Ridge" about 25 miles from downtown Durango and just 5 minutes from Purgatory. 

The house is three stories and sits next to a small lake and stream.  The view was amazing.  We entered on the first floor through the garage.  On that level was a bedroom, bathroom with huge shower, the hot tub and a game room.  My son and his family stayed in the room on that floor.  Up one level is where the kitchen, living room with fireplace, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kids room was located.  There were lots of large windows to enjoy the views from all angles.  On the top level was the master bedroom suite, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  Every room was full.

It was a short walk down to the water's edge to fish.  Our fishing area was next to a beaver damn which was destroyed so the water can flow through.  The fishing in that area was amazing.  The boys must have caught about a dozen large fish.  Some were released, but some were saved for dinner.  The fresh fish was amazing!  We also took advantage of the fire pit and made s'mores for the kids and adults too.  This house not only suited our needs as a large family, but was close to all the activities we had planned.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


For three generations, Honeyville’s “beekeeping and honey bottling family business” has been going strong.  It is situated just outside of Durango, CO and started by Vernon Culhane in the 1920’s.  Vernon began his venture by taking away some of the honey bees from a tree close to his house to initiate his own hive.  The honey these bees were creating tasted amazing and soon the whole area heard about Vernon’s honey.  He started selling his honey in and around Durango which gained him the nickname of “The Falfa Honey Man”.  He started out taking honey to downtown Durango on his old flatbed truck where the town’s folks would be able to fill up their jars with honey.  After a while, people started coming to the Honey House for honey where people not only filled up their containers but was greeted with a tour of the farm.  Vernon’s pastime with honey turned out to be a flourishing business.

Today, you can shop at the Honeyville factory store, watch them make the honey, observe the bees, and buy a variety of products created from the honey.  My husband and I went crazy and not only bought their raw honey but whipped cinnamon, chocolate buzz, honey caramel, apple butter, bumbleberry jam, honey peach wine, and chocolate raspberry honey wine.  Everything was mouth-watering good.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pinkerton Hot Springs

Between Durango, CO, along Highway 550 and the house we rented north of the town sits an interesting rock.  We drove by it a couple of times before stopping and checking it out.  We found out it was Pinkerton Hot Springs.  The colorful rock pile was generated as a protected area for the hot springs to release water.  The water’s minerals have caused the colorful look for the rocks exterior.  The temperature of the water is a sweltering 95 to 105 degrees.  Be cautious if you decide to touch the water.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Durango Colorado

This year’s family vacation was spent in Durango, CO.  We drove from Phoenix to Durango in over 7 hours.  Since it was summer, we lost an hour.  We got there at dinnertime and barbequed hotdogs.  The town was nice and the weather was perfect.  The house we rented was about a half an hour from downtown Durango and 5 minutes from Purgatory.  My next several posts will be all about our trip with tons of photos.
Durango is located in the southwestern portion of Colorado and close to the edge of New Mexico.  The tiny town came to existence in September 1880 as a planned municipality for the San Juan mining district.  The locale was selected near the Animas River by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.  The town was established and named after Durango, Mexico by Alexander C. Hunt.
Today, Durango has lots to offer.  You can ride the 19th-century Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad steam train back and forth to each town.  You pass through tall mountains and deep canyons to the most breathtaking scenery.  You can check out the Railroad Museum located at the train station in Durango.  Inside you will see refurbished locomotives, aircraft and a baggage car which is now a movie theater.  Also, close to the museum is the Powerhouse Science Center where you can encounter interactive exhibits.  This building used to serve as a power plant. 
There are lots to experience in Durango.  Check out this website for more:

Monday, June 5, 2017

Future Projects

I have lots of ideas for future projects for my Etsy shop, Getaway Keepsakes.  There are bottles, frames and journals sitting around waiting to be designed.  I have some travel journals almost finished and will add them to the shop soon.  I will be leaving on my vacation soon and will post all about it when I get home.  Until then....

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Site of the Oatman Massacre

A few years ago a friend of mine and her hubby took an off road trip in the desert.  They came across the site of the historical Oatman Massacre.  In February of 1851, the Oatman Family was killed by Indians while traveling to California.  Two of the daughters were captured.  The family's graves are near Painted Rock Petroglyph's Site.

Here is the link to books on Amazon about the massacre if you are interested in reading more.
Amazon - Oatman Massacre books

To find the trail, check out this website:

The heavy wagon left a mark on the rocks which are visible today.
(Thanks Pam for the pictures.)