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Trip Report Albuquerque to Ouray and Back-- Part 1

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Thanks to all our Fodorites, we have another successful trip on which to report. Traveling with DH and DD, 24. We are young 60's.

Itinerary
Day 1: arrive and sleep in Albuquerque for 2 nights
Day 3: visit Tent Rocks and go to Mancos, CO for 2 nights
Day 5: Drive to Ouray and stay 4 nights
Day 9: return to Albuquerque
Day 10: Fly home

Day 1: arrived in ABQ around 12 N, picked up rental car and went to El Modelo for lunch with all the locals. It is a take out establishment, with some tables outside, in an industrial area that has been there for about 40 years and has fabulous food. A lovely mental health worker told us about the area and recommended food choices. From there, we went to the International Balloon Museum and spent about 2 hours. Very enjoyable and informative. Spanking new, light and open. Checked into Cinnamon Morning B&B - wonderful - for 2 nights. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60933-d224974-Reviews-Cinnamon_Morning_Bed_And_Breakfast-Albuquerque_New_Mexico.html
Had fresh and delicious dinner at Church Street Cafe http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60933-d386992-Reviews-Church_Street_Cafe-Albuquerque_New_Mexico.html and then took bicycle tour of Old Town for about 45 minutes and walked around, joining in on some dancing in the gazebo.

Day 2: Given that there were reports of thunderstorms in the afternoon, we decided to go to Sandia Crest first. It was cool and misty, but we got our poles and readied to take a hike from the upper parking lot. We hiked a short distance, but were experiencing fog that made us only have 1-2 views, so we decided to turn back. Lunch at Ribs, which was good. We went to Petroglyphs National Monument and hiked 3 trails- It was hot, but so very enjoyable. Drove to Nob Hill after a brief stop at the Nature Center (it was closing) and ate at StreetFood Asia http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60933-d2221648-Reviews-StreetFood_Asia-Albuquerque_New_Mexico.html. Had delicious food, generous portions and a lovely waitress. Went to the Coop down the block to pick up some cheeses, etc.

Day 3: After breakfast, made our way to Kasha Ketuwe Tents Rocks National Monument for a wonderful hike through slot canyons and amazing scenery. Again, it was quite warm, but drank lots of water and took our time. There is a good place to stop before the last climb that affords bird's eye views of the rocks or, one can continue and have 360 degree views of the area. Stopped in Cuba, NM for lunch at El Bruno's which, although it had good reviews, we found disappointing, with the fajita's were dry and the prices were high. On to Mancos and a great B&B-Flagstone http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g33536-d117926-Reviews-Flagstone_Meadows_Ranch_Bed_and_Breakfast-Mancos_Colorado.html.

Day 4: After breakfast, left for Mesa Verde NP and signed up in the visitor center for 2 tours for that day and the next. We went on the Long House Tour and then Badger walk, lunch at the Far View Terrace Cafe and Spruce Tree House visit. Dinner in Mancos at Millwood Junction, which was average. Nice evening at B&B, witnessing the International Space Station.

Day 5: Back to Mesa Verde after breakfast to go on the Balcony House Tour, strenuous, but fun. Ladders are doable and tunnel is too. Left about noon to drive to Telluride, our stop before getting to Ouray, CO. The ride on San Juan Highway was beautiful. It was pouring rain when we approached Telluride and we went into a local Fiber Exhibit (excellent). Dinner at Floradora Saloon was good. It cleared up and we took the Gondola to the top, seeing spectacular views and snow-capped peaks from the rain/snow. On to Ouray and our friends there.

Day 6: Took Perimeter Trail from across the street from the Visitor Center/Hot Springs to the Cascade Falls. Well-marked trail, drink a lot, and take it slowly due to altitude adjustment. After hike, walked to Beaumont Hotel for lunch in the garden, which is a lovely setting. Food was good. Booked Jeep Trip for tomorrow at San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g33581-d1500274-Reviews-San_Juan_Scenic_Jeep_Tours-Ouray_Colorado.html#REVIEWS Make sure you register at the hotel. Visited Ouray County Museum, which was a comprehensive and well-thought out display of the history of the area-not to be missed. Great dinner at Adobe Inn in Ridgway http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g33620-d383099-Reviews-Adobe_Inn-Ridgway_Colorado.html.

Day 7: Jeep Trip to Red Mountain 3 -HIghway to Heaven-great trip, even though it rained some. Would go with them again on a full day trip. They gave us blankets and ponchos and the jeep had a top and we were all comfortable. Went to 13,000+ feet! Came back and had lunch at our friend's. Went to Box Canyon and took the hike up to the bridge and around Perimeter Trail back into town. Dinner at friend;s, too, after dip in Hot Springs (glorious).

To be continued...

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