Day 4 of 14
After nearly a month hanging around Silverton it was finally time to pack up Little Bear and have a travel day in search of our next 14er hikes. So, on Day #4 we slept in (sort of) before taking down camp. Our campsite was surrounded by pretty wildflowers, but we were partial to the Fireweed, which we decided to feature for our project (Wildflower #4) before heading out.
We were on the road for less than five minutes before making the first stop of the day—Avalanche Brewing Company (Brewery #4). Kendrick has been enjoying the delicious pizza and hoppy IPA from Avalanche since first visiting back in 2011. Next time we visit they should be all moved into their newer, bigger location on the main drag in town. Can’t wait!
With a belly full of pizza it was time to put some miles behind us. The drive from Silverton to Ouray along the Million Dollar Highway via Red Mountain Pass (Scenic Drive #4) is a “must drive” road for anyone visiting Colorado, but is not for the weary. If you’re scared of heights, driving on narrow winding roads, or driving near drop-offs without a guardrail then consider letting someone else do the driving.
Shortly after topping out on Red Mountain Pass you’ll be treated to the scenic and sometimes still Crystal Lake (Water #5). This is a beautiful sunrise location with great views of the Red Mountains off in the distance. If you’re lucky you’ll get a nice, still reflection of the peaks in the lake.
We opted to skip coffee in the morning knowing that we’d visit a coffee shop once arriving in Ridgway. Our stop at Crumb Bakery & Café (Coffee #4) couldn’t come fast enough. We were both itching for our coffee fix once we arrived and their Americanos definitely hit the spot! The food all looked amazing, but our stomachs were still full of pizza from Avalanche. Next time…
Properly caffeinated, it was time for distillery. Next up was the Storm King Distilling (Distillery #5) located in Montrose. This is still a young distillery so they don’t have any whiskey offerings yet. They did have a quite sip-able barrel-aged agave spirit that seemed to reasonably satisfy the whiskey palate and paired well with the great ambiance. Guess we’ll have to go back once they start putting out some whiskies.
The drive up to the Palisade/Grand Junction area brings about a transition from the high mountains of the San Juan Range to more of a desert-like feel of Colorado’s Western Slope. Palisade is well-known for its peaches and it’s hard to miss the orchards when driving into town. When we arrived in Palisade we promptly parked the truck and camper in our intended sleeping space for the night because we still had another distillery and brewery to visit.
First up was Peach Street Distillers (Distillery #6), which was an interesting experience, to say the least. We arrived on a weekend night during a major festival and the entire distillery felt a bit like a college party. Despite the ambience of the evening, all of the whiskey spirits we tried quite good. A lowlight was ordering an Old Fashioned (Mandy) and a neat pour of their bourbon (Kendrick) and the drinks being served in plastic Dixie cups. A highlight was the heavy-handed bartender pouring Kendrick about six ounces of bourbon! We can’t help but feel like we just hit this place on a bad night and need to go back during the weekdays to get a distillery experience that’s on par with their good whiskey products.
At this point, it was time for a nightcap and some food. The Palisade Brewing Company (Brewery #5) was just the place! They were packed when we arrived with live music from a great band- Union of None, beer flowing, and BBQ smoking. They had a great IPA for Kendrick and an Imperial Stout for Mandy! The BBQ nachos were the perfect comfort food right before retreating to the camper to finally call it a night.
We may not have hiked any 14ers on Day #4, but it was no less exhausting. We slept well.
Here’s to 10 more days exploring Colorful Colorado…
Info & Links for Day 4 Travels:
(click for more info)
Wildflower 4/14: Fireweed
Brewery 4/14: Avalanche Brewing Company
Scenic Drive 4/14: Million Dollar Highway
Water Feature 5/14: Crystal Lake
Coffee Shop 4/14: Crumb Bakery & Cafe
Distillery 5/14: Storm King Distilling
Distillery 6/14: Peach Street Distillers
Brewery 5/14: Palisade Brewing Company
Images from Day 4:
(click to enlarge)
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