October 4, 2005

Start: Walsenburg, Colorado

End: Durango, Colorado

Miles: 245 miles

Route taken: Route 160 west to Route 491 south to Route 160 west, exit at Durango


        The clouds came early and weren’t leaving. I knew it, even if I didn’t want to admit it.

         My denial was shaken about 10 miles out of Walsenburg when I ran into a solid gray horizon that seemed to be running to greet me.

        In less than two minutes the storm was upon me and threw stinging rain on my arms and face. I pulled over to put on the rain gear and helmet with visor to counter the elements.

        Two miles down the road, I was forced to retreat. The rain was heavy, the skies dark and the wind unrelenting. It was too much to take. I decided to go back into town, eat an early lunch and wait the storm out.

        An hour after my meal the clouds had broken up enough that I felt confident on continuing.

        Highway 160 is a scenic road that twists along southern Colorado. The first incline is La Veta pass and at the peak the altitude is 9,413 feet.

        The storm was more active the higher I climbed. I had the rain gear on and the little spits of rain didn’t affect me too badly.

        By the time I reached Fort Garland and Blanca Peak the rain was becoming a little more insistent. I gutted it out for 30 miles until I reached Alamosa, and then dived into a gas station for cover.

        A squall had stopped above me and was unleashing rain that was almost sideways because of the wind. I sat in the gas station for about an hour waiting it out.

        Monte Vista was 17 miles away and where I wanted to visit George Kelloff.

        Kelloff owned a drive in just outside of town since 1955 and lived on the property. One day in the mid-60s he got the idea to build a motel with large windows so people staying at the hotel could watch movies.


        The drive in supported the motel in the beginning but with America owning video players, the drive in has become a quaint oddity instead of a legitimate money maker.

        The hotel now brings in the revenue and Kelloff has decorated it with a Hollywood theme. There are movie posters and pictures in the rooms and each room has a different Hollywood star. There is the Tom Cruise room, a Clint Eastwood room, even a Yul Brynner room.

        Between May and mid-September the drive in runs movies nightly. Kelloff is the ticket taker for the two screens, one that serves the hotel and the other for people who come in their cars for a little nostalgia.

         There would be no movie on this day. It is early October and my brief respite from the rain is about over. I left the Movie Manor Motel and was reacquainted with the rain and wind.

        By the time I reached Wolf Creek Pass, a popular ski resort, I was losing the battle. The rain had gotten into the hole on the left leg of my rain suit and was soaking my jeans. The opening at the top of the jacket was letting in the water so it would run down the front and back of my shirt.

        I thought if I could just get over the 10,000 foot pass and start declining the rain would slow as well and for the most part it did.

        About 40 miles outside of Durango the sun poked through the clouds and other than a couple of spurts I remained dry until I reached Durango.

        When I got to the motel, I peeled off the rainsuit and took off my wet clothes. I was going to go into town and have dinner after I got a hot shower.

        I got no further than the shower. I put on a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt and fell asleep on the bed.