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Weminuche Wilderness 1999

Pagosa to Durango

We all got up for a jog today, but the elevation really made running a challenge, especially up hill. We came back, took showers, had some bagels and cereal for breakfast, said our goodbyes, and folks went their separate ways: ASTD to builders, and other housing related folks, and Susie and I off to Durango. We wanted to get a feel for the area. I had not been there in 18 years, and for Susie, it had been even longer. Durango is a much bigger town, around 15,000. I had always looked at it as potential retirement real estate, but a quick trip around town confirmed that the area, while close to Purgatory ski area, is a bit on the dry side for our tastes. Labor Day weekend is not the time to be in Durango: we had not been able to get lodging there, due to the Four Corners Iron Horse Rally. In other words, if you own a Harley, this is the place to be this weekend. God, the place was noisy. We walked around town for a bit, and did some shopping, but the noise in the bookstore was not conducive to careful reflection on what additional purchases I should make. Of course, always being up to a challenge, I did manage to purchase another hiking guide to Utah, one I had not seen before, even though it had a year-old copyright date. We ate in a small Swiss bakery on Main Street, and then headed up to Purgatory, thinking that we might ski there this winter. It is 25 miles north of town, and the views of the western edge of the Weminuche are very impressive.

We decided we had had enough noise, so we headed for Farmington, NM, where we had accommodations for the night. We asked the girl at check-in where the best Mexican restaurant in town was. She said Senor Pepper's out by the airport. I thought I remembered that I had seen sighs for the airport as we were driving in on US 555 from Durango on the east side of town, so we headed out. Well, we drove and drove and drove, and no airport signs. Not being a typical male, I did not hesitate to stop and ask for directions. Well, the folks in the convenience store sorta laughed, because we were headed in the totally opposite direction from the airport, which is on the NW corner of town. But one nice man gave us excellent directions, and in about 20 minutes, we were driving up to the Farmington airport. It is small enough that all the parking is free. And Senor Peppers is actually IN the airport. It was written up in some article in the Wall Street Journal as being one of many examples of a good restaurant in a small airport. The food was not too bad, but Garduno's, it is not. We went back to the motel, and had an early bedtime, as tomorrow we were to head for Chaco Canyon, something I had been wanting to see for a long time.

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Roger A. Jenkins, 1999