Colorado Mountain Town Vacationing

Editor’s note: Today, Lisa Martinez continues her ongoing series about an amazing adventure through Colorado and to Pikes Peak. Lisa

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Colorado Road Trip Quick Stats:

Trip Day: 6
Route: Salida, CO to Telluride, CO
Departure time: 9:00 am
Arrival time: 12:30 pm
Mileage: 200 miles

We packed and checked out of the Salida Inn & Monarch Suites first thing. It was a roadside motel with a comfy bed and a quirky Inn Keeper. He recommended breakfast at the Country Bounty, so we decided to try it.

That was exactly the kind of local restaurant that you want located within 300 feet of your hotel. It had a charming, home-cooking feel with attention to the details — infused tea, local honey, Espresso machine, and sides of seasoned home fries that have been deep fried to brown crispy perfection outside filled with soft chewy potato centers.

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Mike tried to tackle the Country Bennie — homemade biscuits, “smothered in made-from-scratch sausage gravy”, topped with sausage patties and scrambled eggs. I went with something less traditional, the Southwest Polenta & Eggs — their original polenta cakes layered with roasted veggies, over-easy eggs and smothered in their homemade pork green chili and cheese. After enjoying my portion, which seemed sized for two, I can see why this place is award winning.

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Our server, Kendra, was finishing up her last week of work before heading back to college. A volunteer with the local Search and Rescue, she shared with us some funny stories and facts about Salida.

We hit the road for Telluride around 9:00 am. The scenic views along Highway 50 were outstanding. Mike said that next time we’ll need to check out the beautiful Willow Recreational Area that we passed. I chuckled as we passed the “Bay of Chickens”, which is known to have a rocky shoreline but some good swimming spots.

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After a nice stretch of road, we arrived in Telluride shortly after noon. As we were driving through the quaint mountain town to get to the campgrounds, our friend, Tim, called.

Tim and Grayson, his friend’s son, were supposed to join us at Pike’s Peak but couldn’t due to a family emergency. Just as we were pulling up to the Campgrounds we had planned to stay at, we learned from Tim that:

1.) They had the green light to leave home — Alpine, Texas;
2.) They had been on the road since 5 am;
3.) They had gotten us a place to stay in town, at the “Tower House”, with their friend — for FREE.

All packed and geared up to camp, I felt a tinge of disappointment, but it was mixed with gratitude that we’d have beds and bathrooms in a dry, warm place. We circled back out of the campgrounds and drove back through downtown to meet Bob, the homeowner. He was there doing renovations on the half of that huge duplex where we were would be staying, preparing it to put it on the market. Windows all through the house, it was the type of home where one could happen upon majestic mountain views even in the bathroom.

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We unloaded our car, threw some laundry in the washer, and headed into downtown. The streets are lined with restaurants and shops, and people out with their dogs. We poked through a few shops and ended up at “The Steaming Bean” coffee shop to have lunch, enjoy some WiFi, and get a bit of time-sensitive work done.

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Needing a spot near a power source, we asked a single man if we could join him at his table. He said sure, and when Mike went to get his coffee, we fell into a friendly conversation. I inquired what he was writing in his composition book, which he said was a film he had been working on.

Returning to our table, I introduced him to my husband, and he said his name was also Mike. As he extended his hand to shake my husband’s, he proceeded to knock over a glass of lemonade, spilling it on both of us. Thankfully no electronics were baptized that day.

We went about our work, sometimes stopping to chat with our table-mate. Talking about his screenwriting, the conversation rolled into a discussion about faith. He shared that he was a content Atheist. As I began to converse with him about topics touching on Theology, Philosophy, and Literature – it was interesting. Recognizing the span of our views, and hearing some of his negative views on the Catholic Church, it certainly made for lively conversation – albeit respectful.

The debate left me hungry – time for dinner. La Cocina de Luz was recommended to us, which serves Whole Foods Taqueria-Style Mexican Cuisine. We walked down the street, ordered some tacos and burritos, and sat in the perfect spot by the patio with the mountaintop backdrop.

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Seated in the table next to us was a friendly, young couple with a little girl. Another easy conversation, we started sharing our Pikes Peak story from that weekend, which caused them both to get misty-eyed. They shared with us that they had met each other years ago at that very restaurant — how sweet! We enjoyed chatting with them all throughout dinner, and the food was delicious too.

After dinner, we hung out in town until Tim and Grayson arrived shortly. We returned to La Cocina de Luz with them so that they could eat and we could try the organic homemade ice cream. Yum!

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We stayed out and about town a bit longer, but the post 10 PM options that could include minors were slight. There was some discussion about going for a hike to Bridal Veil Falls tomorrow, and then we decided to go back and get some sleep.

This post is part of my Colorado Road Trip series. Next up will be our mountain hike up the falls in Telluride, so come back and join me on our next trip adventures!

Copyright 2014 Lisa Martinez

About Lisa Martinez

A writer, artist, and silly-heart from her youth, Lisa Martinez utilizes a variety of mediums as outlets for creative storytelling, laced with humor whenever possible. Lisa attended Franciscan University, where she studied Writing, Mental Health, and Theology. In 2004, she discovered her passion for driving small business growth; now, with her husband, she owns a boutique digital agency, illuvint, based in Dallas and partnering with a world-class team across the States. Closed Doors Open Windows is where her personal blog lives on the web.