Before we could trek about downtown Ouray on Saturday morning, the kids made sure to clamber for pancakes for breakfast. As Nathan and I have learned, going camping is just like staying home… Only every task we complete takes eighty times longer.
Making coffee at home: 90 seconds. Making coffee while camping: 12 minutes.
A pancake breakfast at home is a pretty big deal around here and takes at least an hour once you figure in noshing time and cleanup. When we are out camping? By the time we finish, we’re ready for grilled cheese sandwiches.
The weather had warmed up and the sun was on full power as we made the five-minute walk to Main Street. First on Finn’s list was O’Toys. It was a charming family owned affair with its own Game Bar where everyone was welcome to try out any number of the giant stash of games they sold. We hit up the toy store on our way into town and also on the way back; we had a chance to talk to both of the owners while they suggested age-appropriate trailer-friendly games for us to take home.
Finn is a pain most of the time, but when we are out and about, he is pretty well-mannered when he wants something. He constantly tries to ask questions of every cashier we meet. It is adorable, but very frustrating. Most folks seem to tune out little people, so Finny’s “Um, excuse me, ma’am”s ususally go unheeded, no matter how many times they are repeated.
The gentleman at O’Toys was a completely different story. Every time Finn would politely interrupt, he would respond right away with a kind “Yes, sir?” It made all of us happy.
After we chose “Spot It,” we ventured out to find a spot for lunch and ended up at the Timberline Deli. You’d think a deli would be a speedy place to get a bite to eat, but you’d be wrong if you expected to get in and out of there in a timely manner. After waiting for twenty-five minutes for our food, the kids’ grilled cheese sandwich arrived as a hamburger topped in mac and cheese. How does that even happen??
After another ten minute go-round with the waitress who completely missed me gently repeating GRILLED CHEESE, not MAC AND CHEESE five or six times, two plates arrived with fries and mac and cheese. I rolled my eyes and shut my trap, especially when I noticed the pieces of bun and hamburger particles stuck to the noodles. She scraped the pasta off the first hamburger we got? And that took her ten minutes??
“You know, if all that hadn’t just happened… I might have actually said the food was pretty good here,” Nathan mused. “Too bad it was spoiled by-”
“The taste of bitterness?” I interjected. I was still irked and mildly fuming.
We decided NOT to stay for dessert, but instead moved the crew to Mouse’s Chocolates and Coffee (they roast the coffee and make their own chocolates in-house – HOLLA!). A wise decision, fo sho.
We dove head-first into ice cream, caramels, truffles, coffee and “Scrap Cookies.” What is a Scrap Cookie, exactly? All the extra pieces of chocolate, caramel, truffles – any of the scraps from chocolate-making – end up in an enormous cookie. Good lord. It was amazing.
After hitting up the rock shop, hardware store, a few kick-knack shops and the toy store one last time, we walked back to The House with Wheels to put Alice down for her nap. While I settled into getting some work done, Nathan and Finn played a few rounds of “Spot It” and built a snowman.
Once Alice woke up, we packed up our swimming gear, bundled up and headed to the Ouray Hot Springs. Though it was only 40 degrees out (which made getting in and out of the pool a little uncomfortable), it was amazing to settle into the steaming water for a few hours. The water was between 95-105 degrees depending on where you parked yourself, and both the kids were completely enamoured with the novelty of being outside, almost naked, when they had been playing in the snow an hour or two before.
We stayed in the pool past the kids’ bedtime, and by the time we were snuggly warm back at camp, all of us were itching to roast ourselves some marshmallows. Nathan built a rip-roaring fire and just as we popped open the bag of Stay-Pufts, the Fourth of July fireworks began. Yep. In October.
For whatever reason, Ouray didn’t blow off their Independence Day pyrotechnic display in July. Instead, they blew off the entire fifteen minute show in ninety seconds to coincide with the city-wide Jeep raffle (I was scratching my head, too). Couple that with a toasty marshmallow and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent nightcap.
On Sunday morning, we headed into town one last time for breakfast at Backstreet Bistro. All four of us were in hog heaven; Nae had a giant cup of coffee to rouse him from his morning grump, Alice and Finn each had a large cinnamon roll to gorge on, and I had the “Scramble,” which brought me right back to the glory days in Spokane when Nae and I would wake up to breakfast at Huckleberry’s every Saturday morning. (Oh, Bistro Scramble and Brule; how I pine for thee!!)
Before heading back to pack up camp, we took in a mountain drive and took a moment to check out the Ouray Ice Park, though it was completely devoid of any ice climbers. Or ice.
On our way out of town, we stopped at the Hot Springs again to feed giant coy. I’m happy to say that we all walked away clean and dry (by only a narrow margin), and Alice and Finn were happy as a clams feeding the fish and chasing the turtles. We got back on the road just before lunch.
Once Alice fell asleep around the Blue Mesa Dam, we pulled the trailer over and popped it up. Alice and I settled inside with the dogs while Nae and Finn climbed down to the river to go fishing. Besides the fact that we were pulled over on the side of the highway (all the National Recreation Area parking lots were closed… Still.), it was rather peaceful. I fired up my laptop and put my nose to the grindstone. Besides the group of foreign travelers who stopped right next to us and proceeded to take photos of themselves in front of the camper like it was George Michael, no one bothered us.
And don’t worry; I TOTALLY photobombed every shot from inside the trailer. How they couldn’t see my bare ass face through the window is anyone’s guess. Bet their friends will be entertained when they post those shots on Facebook.
We pulled into the driveway around ten on Sunday night, and both Nae and I wished we were still out there.
Heck, I still wish it was out there and it is already Friday. Sigh.