The Great Colorado-Utah Vacation 2011, Day Nine.

DURANGO, COLORADO – Today was taken up by riding the Durango-Silverton line.

Completely taken up.

We got down to the train station at around 8 a.m. and piddled around the museum down there for half an hour or so until the train boarded.

01 - durango silverton train car

We were riding an open gondola car. Note, we say “GON-dol-a” but they say “Gon-DOL-a.” Ah, regional differences. Fun.

The brakeman reminded me of Leo DiCaprio in, say, “Catch Me if you Can.”

02 - leo dicaprio perhaps

The train took off and the kids started whining. Ethan wanted the concession car to hurry up and open. Laurel bitched and moaned about having to sit there looking out the window for 3.5 hours.

But there were a few highlights. For example, get a load of this tennis court complete with tennis-playing metal sculptures, a horse, and two llamas:

03 - horse and llamas on a tennis court

Okay, yeah, you might not be able to see them all that well but trust me, each of those things I listed are there.

Beautiful scenery was the phrase o’ the day.

04 - heading around a bend05 - heading around a bend07 - blowing off steam

And when the snack car finally opened, Greg promptly scored us some appropriately-named Steam Engine lager. I think it was about 11 a.m. at this point, but the kids were impatient, the weirdos on the train were yapping at us (more on that in a forthcoming post), and we’d about had it.

06 - Steam Engine Lager08 - laurel09 - ethan

Once in Silverton, though, Greg scored a pork sundae for lunch.

10 - pork sundae

It was downhill from there, both figuratively and literally. We tried to hop over to the Silverton Brewery, and when we sat down we were acknowledged and given menus.

And then that was it. Nobody came back. The lady who was serving told us she was sorry and would be right back, but then delivered food to the table behind us, who complained that a) the burger wasn’t what they ordered, and b) the soup was cold.

Really? Because there were about 8 customers in the whole place. How do you fuck that up so completely?

The waitress took their food back to the kitchen and then, rather than coming out to find out what beer we wa
nted, just stayed in there, presumably waiting for the other table’s food.

We grew more and more impatient, and you could tell the bartender KNEW we were getting annoyed, but he didn’t bother to do anything about it.

So we got up and left.

And went to have ice cream instead. Oh, then found another restaurant where we managed another craft beer even though the waitress didn’t have ANY IDEA what kind of craft beers they had and left about half of them off the list she gave us.

What a miserable experience. Folks, aside from eating BBQ there isn’t much to do in Silverton unless you’re interested in crappy tourist shops and the like. It’s worth a drive through but not a drive to, savvy?

THANK GOODNESS, we’d had the foresight not to take the return trip on the train, but to ride the coach bus back instead. 1.5 hours is much better than 3.5 hours, even when the driver-slash-tour guide does this weird smacking thing with his mouth every time he finishes a sentence.

Even that didn’t keep me from napping after the couple of beers we did manage to score.

We laid low the rest of the night. We found a park because our RV park didn’t have a playground. We grilled up some sausages, ate some good junky Fritos, and retired early.

That was enough Durango and Silverton for us. We’ve done it once and I can almost guarantee you we will never do it again…but I’m cautious about these things. We’ll probably have grandkids who want nothing more than to ride that damn train and we’ll end up enduring it all over again.