Sometimes the scenery (don’t forget lighting) is so good that the photo seemingly takes itself. But here in Bisti, we needed to use all of our post-processing skills (that means photoshop) to get a photo worthy of showing you.

On the hike out of Bisti. Kas’ last photo with just a little post processing…. light, color balance, highlights, shadows, vignette, and maybe a few other tweaks. 

Feeling like we failed, we left the Bisti Badlands with a bitter taste in our mouths and blisters on our feet. But things were still looking up as we were heading to our good friends in Colorado via Durango and the Million Dollar Highway. Our expectations were high as we headed north. We’d  been told that Durango is the place to go, can’t miss it, wonderful, and many other wondrous adjectives.

Let me tell you that our experience in and around Durango was a polar opposite.

  • Did you know that Durango sponsors a bike race every year on the Saturday before Memorial Day? We didn’t.
  • Did you also know that they close the Million Dollar Highway so they can run their race? We didn’t.
  • Did you further know that auto drivers are not informed of this closure until they drive 30 miles north past Durango, at less than 30 mph, while dodging exuberant bicyclists large and small? We didn’t.

With just 18 miles left to Silverton, we were stopped. The road was closed, and we unceremoniously dumped into a ski resort aptly named “Purgatory Resort. Thinking it was just a detour, we meandered through parking lot after parking lot, looking for a way around the road block. Nothing doing. Finally, we came across a woman dressed in official garb. Maybe she can help us get around the madness and out of purgatory?

“Can we bypass this race so we can get to Silverton?”, I asked ever so nicely.

“You can’t get there from here,” she snorted. “We’ve been doing this race for over 70 years. Everyone knows that.”

“What do you mean we can’t go North?”, asking in my calm NY persona.

“If you want to go North to Silverton, you can turn around and go back to Durango, then find another way. Or, you can wait here in this parking lot (purgatory) until the road opens, in about 4 hours.”

We quickly weighed our options. Option one – we can turn around, adding two hours to our trip and missing the Million Dollar Highway. Or, option two – we can park here for four hours until the road opens. Or, option three – we could yell at this woman. Being courteous travelers, we chose option three.

We got our two cents worth, using expletives that should not be repeated here. Satisfied, we started to pull away when she leaned in. I could smell the passive aggressiveness on her breath. “Have a great rest of your vacation you ignorant out of towners!” She didn’t really say the part about the ignorant out of towners but she did speak in that passive-aggressive way that irks me to no end. It mattered not, Kas had had enough. I’ve never seen her react in a fashion such as this. I made sure I was a good soldier the rest of the trip. In the end, there was no way through purgatory.

We ended up choosing Option one. We returned to Durango and headed off in a different direction – swearing that we’d never return.

After six more hours of driving (two of which were unnecessary), we arrived at our good friends’ home is Eagle, CO. With Durango safely behind us, we were ready to party. “Would you two like a drink?” Life is good.

An abandoned mining town just outside of Eagle, CO. A brief stop to energize our photographic juices. In just a few moments we would be happy to be partying with our good friends, Jim & Liz.