I came under the cover of night when I finally arrived at the Hotel Madeline in Mountain Village, so I wasn’t fully cognizant of my surroundings until the next morning, when I had my rental brought out and cruised down the mountain road to visit downtown Telluride.
Telluride has sort of a dual personality, divided between the town itself and Mountain Village, which are connected to each other via a meandering road and a free gondola line. About midway down from Mountain Village there’s a place where you can park to enjoy a panoramic view of valleys, mountains and streams (shown above). I sat here and sipped my morning coffee for a good long while, understanding now why Telluride was such a popular draw for celebrities. These are million dollar views, yo.
I hit downtown and pranced around a bit in the morning sun, although I also had a mission to complete. Because I had arrived on a Saturday my hotel’s laundry service was closed, so I needed to find a laundromat to get my funky undies washed and blow torched.
Except that, there are no laundromats in Telluride. None. Zero. Zippy. Nadda. Rien. Niente.
At this point I was starting to get a little panicky. There had to be SOMETHING around here, so I fired up my iPhone and did a 411-like search, one which lead to a dead end, and another that led to a dry cleaner, which fortunately also offered regular laundry service too. WHEW…
I walked in with my laundry bag and handed it over to a cute brunette sporting a nose ring and bedazzled fingernails. The fact that she would be washing my Superman jammers all but assured me that I will have now seen more action in Colorado than I have in 20 years of unsuccessful dating in New York. I love this state.
After I dropped off my jammers I headed back to Telluride and had lunch at the Sheridan:
Then took a walk around and discovered the Mahr building, the very same building that once housed a bank where Butch Cassidy pulled off his first ever robbery. Awesome.
Despite skiing being Telluride’s main draw (it’s also referred to as South Aspen by Colorado natives), the town does attract a lot of festivals as well, so there’s always something going on to keep people busy. When I arrived they were hosting a conference for photographers, who could be seen all over town hoisting ridiculously sized cameras over their shoulders and taking shots of the buildings and landscape.
Even then, the combination of warm weather and it being off-season was perfect for me. Stores were still open and there were hardly any annoying tourists around to bother me. Even teh doggehs were mellowing out:
Good thing too, because I needed to rest in a bad way. I had literally driven thousands of miles before finally stopping to catch my breath here, so I was more than ready to be a right lazy weenieball. And you know what that means: Free gondola rides!!!
And gondola I did. Repeatedly. All… day… long. It was free, and the views were second to none, so why not?
Sometimes I rode with a few mountain bikers and tourists, striking a few friendly conversations, but I usually had the gondola all to myself, so I was spread eagle, baby. The aspen trees were nearly in peak autumn form, while recent snow blanketed the mountains here with a fresh batch of white. I really couldn’t have asked for much more.
The next few days were pretty much a hodge podge of riding the gondola back and forth between Mountain Village and Telluride, visiting the museum, geocaching, and lots of pancake eating tossed in between. Ahhhh, I miss it already. Fortunately I wouldn’t be done with the San Juan mountains yet, as I’d spend the next three days in Ouray, with a stop at Mesa Verde and Durango along the way.