Reminiscing – CO Rockies

Dreaming about our time spent in the Rocky Mountains exploring the quaint town of Ridgeway, Colorado at the state park.

Ridgway is an old railroad town established in 1891 to support the mining towns of Ouray and Telluride.  It was the headquarters of the Rio Grand Southern Railroad (RGS) and home to Galloping Goose railcar.  It is situated in the valley along the Uncompahgre River at the foothills of the San Juan Mountain range.  The town has less than 1000 people and has the only traffic light in Ouary County. (Hwy62 & Hwy550).  It is the gateway to the San Juan Skyway a 236 National Scenic Byway which we will come back to ride on our motorcycles in the very near future. (yeah baby… that’s how we roll)

We stopped in town at the Ridgway Visitor Center to gather information on the town.  Little did we know that the Railroad Museum is also housed in the Visitor’s Center.  This is where we got to see an actual Galloping Goose railcar- #4.  I should mention the Galloping Goose were 7 railcars that were created by the RGS back in the 1930’s  to save the railroad company when the mining industry took a down turn.  These railcars were lighter and cheaper to operate.  The name is said to come from the way it rocked back and forth on the tracks and by the sound the whistle made.  Only the first goose was destroyed the rest are still in existence today.  In fact Goose #5 is run once a year on the Durango Silverton line which is how we first found out about the railcars.  We will come full circle when we embark on our mountain bike adventure down the mountain on the old Galloping Goose narrow gauge tracks when we do Telluride.

We drove around town a little bit then headed over to the Dennis Weaver Memorial.  Dennis Weaver was an actor from the 60s and 70s.  We remember him from Gunsmoke and McCloud.  I can’t say I was a big fan of his, however my brother was obsessed with him down to wearing a jacket and hat just like the character on McCloud.  So by default, I was a fan.  The memorial was very nice, it had an earthy, Native American, spiritual vibe going on.  While there we met his son, the creator of the memorial, who explained the layout.  From there we drove up the mountain to see Dennis Weaver’s Earthship home.  Prior to visiting Ridgway we didn’t know that Dennis Weaver was an environmental pioneer.  His home featured many of the components we saw at the Earthship homes out from Taos, New Mexico.

Nugget of Knowledge:

Did you know the Grammy Award trophy is manufactured exclusively by Billings Artworks in Ridgway.   The trophies are all hand made, assembled, and plated on site.


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