Saturday, July 23, 2011

Not Forgetting Ouray, Colorado

I tried to make the cemetery on the Dallas, not the last place I remembered as we're leaving this part of me where my family tree is planted. I pleaded with Steve to just go about 10 minutes up the main road and go to Ouray. I had talked about Grandpa's mine there. A house where my Grandmother and Grandfather and their little family had lived near the "Cave Restaurant" (now closed) and where the real Gypsy's always camped with their beautiful horses and lavish wagons. And lastly, where this huge, naturally-heated, mineral pool had been one of my greatest memories of Colorado when I was little. He wasn't buying it. All my pleading and wishing didn't even deter him from thinking we had to get to Larin and her family now. He said, "The kids are on the porch waiting for us and we haven't even started yet!" I agreed, but I told him we didn't have to stop and go to the Box Canyon (I didn't tell him I was afraid of going there), swim in the pool (and I did bring my bathing suit) and he didn't care where my grandfather had mined. He asked me why I wanted to see it again if he hated looking at it himself? I told Steve that it wasn't that, it was that he took risks to take care of his family. It was a job that involved lots of hazards and I was so grateful that he was determined to take care of his family during a terrible depression. I added that Ouray is County-Seat. Steve thought, when I had told him that it was city. "It's the Little Switzerland of America!" He came back with, "Okay, but we're just doing a drive through and we're off to Salina, right?" I said, "Right."

There are lots of caves in this whole area. In the mountains some look like bear caves and really some are, but mostly the ones in rock are the caves where silver was mined. When my mom was was about 6 or 7 a man from the Bureau of Wildlife Management Office went in what he thought was an abandoned cave and met a momma bear head-on and very awake. She attacked him and he shot her. It really upset him but he took the cub into town and gave it to my grandma O'Connor to feed. The little girls loved the cub and dressed it up like a dolly and could hardly leave it alone. Mom said she always loved to talk about their little bear to her sisters. It was back in the wild and not soon-enough for my grandmother because it tore everything up, and ate a lot. and that included things that aren't recognized as food like shoes and socks.

Looking for one of the mines that my Grandpa O'Connor
used to visit to sharpen all the mining equipment.

I found it and I can't believe the road to the mine is completely gone. At this stop I remember even what I was wearing the day we were sightseeing. My mother didn't remember ever seeing this silver mine. Grandpa rode a Jennette mule up the face of the mountain. We got out of Grandpa O'Connor's Volkswagen van and stood on this large turnout on the road. We looked WAY UP HIGH!

I even remember my dress I wore that day. It was really nice with a-line style, light-pink color and with large polka-dots. Oh, and it had scallops all the way down the front with dot buttons that were made from white bone. I even had light pink, patent leather shoes to go with it. I was so pretty! Oh wait...I had the mumps. I had to wear a pink scarf on my head and bunch the knot a'little so the scarf was loose on my sore cheeks. I looked like "2-ton Tilly" My face was huge. I still got out of the van to see the mine.

Great! Someone pulled right in behind us. It was this "know-it-all" Texan with a huge white cadillac and long horns attached to the front of the grill. He had a big camera on his neck and a "HAY-WHY-IN" shirt, baggy board-like shorts, and a big hat with a tiny rim. This Texan dude marched right-up to Grandpa and instantly I knew my Grandfather was mad, red-faced mad. Grandpa was trying to show us and and tell us how terrible the winters were and how life was so very hard. This big buffoon just butted-right-in. "Wha' This is sure God's Country, ain't it?" My grandfather marched right-up to that guys face and said softly, "The HELL it is!" He turned on his heel and told all of us to get in the car. I think I scrambled inside the van in shock and we drove off and left the dude standing in the dust. Was I exaggerating? No, I actually think my grandpa's van peeled-out.

There's The Silver Mine!

My Children Know My Love For Wagons!

The Ouray Plunge ... I hadn't seen  it up close since I was 10 or 11 years old so it looked smaller than I thought it was. We laugh when we think of my husband's grandmother when she first saw the ocean. She said, "I thought it would be bigger than that!" But, I thought exactly the same thing. The mountain didn't seem as high or the pool so large. We have taller mountains with the Pacific Range of the Topa Topas, Santa Paula Peak and San Caytano in practically our backyard. I had to keep telling myself we were already at the top and above us was the tippy-top. The pool still, I don't know, maybe the Koi Pond was part of the pool and they wanted to save water. The view of the mountains while floating on your back is just about the grandest picture embedded in my head. I love this place.

We got even above the town. Oh, there again the town was smaller. Not really, but I thought it was more than just about a street wide. It is such a beautiful little valley. I just wanted to take a picture of us, so we would remember the perspective of the town and the mountains above.

 If Steve were to point toward the left (right to him) that would be Box Canyon entrance

The Fire Station I don't know why I even caption the photo

I think that somewhere there's a beer commercial with these falls. The cool thing is it's in the town. Right there.

One of the most unusual things we saw in Ouray was a bunch of FJ Cruisers like ours. Steve thought that it was a popular car because of the weather, but there were sooooo many. We found the FJ convention and my husband could've kicked himself for not being in our FJ. We were in our daughter's Camery. I think that was my Steve's only "let-down" on the whole trip. We did save a bunch of money on gas, well some. But, I think it would have been worth the extra money to be able to compare notes. Oh well, we couldn't stay. We're off to Salina!

Just guessing? Maybe Silverton Mine, Colorado What's my grandfather thinking? : (

We're on the highway from Ouray to Montrose and then on to Grand Junction. There's my great grandma McKean's house from the road. Looks just like it did around 1959. I waved and I'm so glad my camera got a good shot through the windows of the car. I really, really love that house. Don't want it--I don't covet a place that gets 30 below in the winter-time. I just think I'm blessed and that house blessed our family.

There sure was a lot of nothing going from Grand Junction to Salina. Rainstorm?
We got closer to, I think... near Emery, Utah or Weird Hills, it looked just like Disneyland's Thunder Mountain ride. So many rocks and all of them balancing like a juggling act. The Thunder Mountain ride used to be a donkey ride when I was little. Disneyland had a reenactment of the miners that walked with their donkeys across the plains and met the Indians. The mountain at Disneyland was built when I was about 5, over 56 years ago and mounds and rocks have held up really well. Probably not much erosion with earth/red cement.
Salina, you are around the corner!

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