07 November 2018

Heaven Exists!!

BREAKING NEWS:  Heaven is real and its in Southwest Colorado!!!! 

The little mountain town of Ouray, nestled in the San Juans.

Just over three weeks ago, we arrived in Ouray, and despite it being Heaven, they let us in.  The plan was to stay for four days, then continue fleeing winter by heading south to Durango, and then New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.

We're still here.  We reserved our RV site through winter.  Which, around here, is the end of April.  We're not giving up the nomadic lifestyle, but the beauty of having a house on wheels is that when you find somewhere this awesome, you can just stay.  

I mean, really, how do you leave when this is the view from your living room window?

Ouray is a small town, with about 1,000 year-round residents and not a single stop light.  Its history is as a mining town - and there are abandoned mines everywhere - but these days, its main economy is tourism.  We were lucky enough to get here during shoulder season - so the summer tourists are all gone and the winter tourists haven't started to flock here yet.  We don't think winter will be too bad - while Ouray is known as the "Ice Climbing Capital of the US" because of its Ice Park, the closest ski area, Telluride, is about an hour's drive away.   Kind of like North Conway, but without all the Massholes flocking in every weekend to ski.  

The snow covered peak in the background is Telluride and the pools in the foreground are the Hot Springs.

Ouray's other claim to fame is its moniker as the "Switzerland of America".  And when you see the photos we post, you'll know why.  (Fun fact:  Switzerland was the first trip Doug & I took together when we first met!).  

Since we've been here, we've done a ton of hikes, found two amazing local breweries, registered (painlessly) with the VA, purchased a gym/pool membership and even rented a P.O. Box (which, for true nomads, is a huge step!!).  I religiously pick up every real estate flyer I see, but the reality is that we're just not ready to be that permanent anywhere ... even Heaven.

Visitors during the first snow.  This photo was taken from the RV - that path right there is the river walk.  

We couldn't ask for a better location to hunker down for the winter.  The RV is literally just steps from the Uncompahgre River Walk, which is also groomed for XC skiing in the winter.  That River Walk also offers a direct link to the outdoor Ouray Hot Springs - just 1/2 mile away from the RV - where we can soak our sore muscles in 104-degree sulfur-free mineral water as often as we want.  

Soaking with a view!

I keep trying to find a reason to not like it here, but the only thing I can come up with is the lack of a Trader Joe's.  But, the city of Montrose is only about 30 miles to the north, where there is a Natural Grocers, a Kroger, and a Target.  I think I'll survive.  😉

The pups also lobbied hard for us to stay here.  This is the most dog-friendly town we've visited in the United States.  Nobody bothers to leash their dog anywhere, and Sunday loves playing ball on the town park by the Hot Springs.  Neither pup has complained about hiking almost every day, or hunting for moles on the trails, or stopping by the Ouray Dog Company - right next door - for treats on our walks.  

Pups playing ball on the town park right after the first snowfall.

Mountain mole hunting is dirty work!

Even Mookie is getting into the spirit of winter in her new kitty sweater!

We did have to order some new winter gear, though.  Since we never planned on staying anywhere with snow, all of our winter stuff is in the storage unit in Arizona.  Snowshoes, winter boots, XC skiis, crampons - all of it - is in Arizona.  When we calculated how much it would cost to drive down there and retrieve it all, it was actually less expensive to just order new stuff.  Oh, gee, darn.  

Santa came early to the Nomadic Norvells!!

We're not sure how we'll fare in the RV once the snow really starts to fall, but we did buy a snow shovel, some paw-friendly ice melt, and a second Dyson heater, so we should be all set.  Our RV is insulated for winter use, but the propane furnace gets finicky at high altitude (we're at 7640 feet!), and ultimately, the RV really is just a metal tube.  I'm sure it will get old soon enough, but for now this middle-aged lady with a propensity for hot flashes is absolutely loving snuggling with the pups under a bunch of blankets!  

First snow at the RV Park.  Hopefully there will be a lot more to come!!