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05/21/06: Day 8: Pagosa Springs to Monte Vista, CO
We arrived in Pagosa Springs tired and hungry. The motel restaurant had Elk burgers and Rocky Mountain Oysters. When in Rome. Actually, our server hadn't tried either of these delicacies. Karen bravely followed my lead, and decided that testicles were actually reminiscent of oysters.
I wrote this while sitting under a thatch umbrella over a sandstone table by a rushing, icy, mountain stream, next to a steaming sulphur-scented pool in Pagosa Springs, Colorado while sipping a 3 shot espresso ice-cream drink and jotting some notes. The ambient temperature in the shade is a bit cool by the river for my shorts and tee, but a few feet away, the warm sun and hot water bring it up nicely. I spent about an hour and a half in the hot pools this morning. Karen is still doing it after 3 hours.
The rushing river water and gently cascading spring water create a nice ambience.
Karen in hot water at Pagosa Springs, Colorado
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Karen Blue-Hat sits placidly in warm water as white-water rafters whoop and holler by on the icy San Juan River
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This is hyped as the hottest natural spring in the world, and they have an elaboprate system of cooling ponds and pipes to bring it down to anything you might want between 108 and 90 Fahrenheit. There are also stairs down to the river. Shiver.
I'd had enough by 11:00. Karen was willing to leave by 2:00. So we finished packing up, and hit the road, back westward a few miles to take a picture of a sign.
Now, here's an attention getting sign off of Hwy 160 west of Pagosa Springs
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Then back into Pagosa Springs to take a picture of a wall that Karen saw on our way out. So, on the road. We decided to take the faster, not-marked-as-scenic federal highway. Shortly after we began, we saw a sign saying, "Pass Open, Expect Delays". A few miles east we reached the Treasure Mountain Falls. So we stopped for a look, and a high altitude hike. Karen got pretty wet from the spray at the uppermost lookout. I was impressed by the distinct micro-climes on either side of the falls. It was certainly a delay, although probably not what the sign-maker was thinking.
Treasure Mountain Falls. Hear the rumble.
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Karen taking the previous picture of Treasure Mountain Falls. Her skill with a camera is improving quickly on this trip.
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Karen in sandals in the snow on the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass
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So, up into the mountains we drive, and stop at a few lookouts, and at the continental divide, and finally decided to stop in Monte Vista, a high valley with a nice view. And the motel is a true hoot!
It's called the Movie Manor, a Best Western. Every room has a view of the Drive In Movie screens next door, and the sound from the PG movie is piped into the rooms. We chose it from the AAA book because of the WiFi and the good price. These remote towns are pricier than anything on the Interstate, or at Low Altitude.
Where to spend the night in Monte Vista, Colorado
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Karen tries out the view before we go to get a Mexican dinner in this nice Colorado mountain town. There are hazy mountains all around us, as well.
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Because it was there, we watched the movie out the window. The screen was about the same size (in radians) as our TV, but darker and with weaker sound. Although we were in the "Tom Cruise" room, and "MI3" was on one screen (starring him), the sound piped in was for "RV" with Robin Williams. So we watched a movie about travel misadventures in Utah and Colorado on the day that we only got 70 miles from our starting point!
Next: Day 9: Homeward: Monte Vista, CO to Hays, KS

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