May 11 Montrose and Ouray

Rained for most of the night .. when we looked out the window this morning  we discovered that rain had turned into a wintry mix.  Very little if any accumulation .. but temps were in the 30’s ..  Temps have been down in the 30’s for past few nights .. both in Alamosa and now in Montrose .. Oh .. did I mention our ‘heat strip’ in Casita conked out a few days ago !  Heat strip is a part of our air conditioner unit that provides a little heat on chilly days.  So .. we’ve been using Casita propane furnace to give us some heat ..  furnace puts out alot of heat and it does it quickly .. only problem is .. it’s very loud…. and when it starts up .. it can spook you .. especially in the middle of the night ..   So .. we’re going in to town to see if we can get a small, electric heater ..  Also .. because of the cold temps at night .. we noticed we had no hot water ….  checked out the Casita forum and manual to do some research … Casita forum to the rescue … someone had described the exact problem and how to fix it .. so .. I tried it .. and it worked … brilliant !  Problem was a stock (frozen) valve outside by the water heater .. a few taps on the valve … and we’re in business.. Love that Casita forum !

Since today was not a good day to see the Black Canyon we decided to go into the town of Montrose and check out a small town called Ouray.  We drove around Montrose .. walked around the main street .. went to Ace Hardware to pick up a small ceramic heater (Pelonis) for our camper.  No snow in Montrose .. just raining .. Next we drove South for 35 miles to Ouray .. Ouray is called the Switzerland of Colorado .. now we know why .. the closer we got to Ouray the more snow we encountered .. big.. heavy .. wet flakes that were accumulation as we drove .. we were a few miles from the town when we saw a digital sign board on side of road advising all commercial vehicles to put on their snow chains.  We pulled over and re-thought our travel plans .. Roads were wet .. it’s snowing hard .. temps are 32 degrees. Figured we’ve driven this far .. we have 4 wheel drive .. lets go for it !  Continued for a more miles .. snowing harder .. road getting a little slippery .. pulled into a visitor center to check with them on how far Ouray was .. and asked about road conditions … Seems as though Ouray was just around the corner .. so we continued on. Ouray is a small town with mountains all around it ..  rustic buildings .. very scenic with the snow falling .. looks like they had at least 6 inches of snow on the ground.  We parked .. and walked around main street to check out a few stores .. seems like the town is a seasonal town … most shops were closed. Ouray was just 35 miles South of campsite .. it’s elevation is over 7,000 feet (as opposed to Montrose’s 5,000) ..  difference in altitude made a big difference in weather .. !   Headed back to Montrose for more tourist stuff .. had lunch a place called ‘Rib City’ .. (tasty baby back ribs !) .. then headed back ‘home’.. Checked out our new heater .. it’s working good .. we’re all set for another cold night ..Tomorrow we head for Black Canyon is supposed to be much better ..  it’s our last full day in Montrose .. so .. we’re going .. rain or shine !

Montrose to Ouray is 35 miles …


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One response to “May 11 Montrose and Ouray

  1. Nick

    We don’t have a ‘heat strip’ built into the AC. I think it’s a rooftop mount kind of thing. I heard they don’t provide much heat – jut enough to get the chill off. Those cube heaters work well – especially if you’re already paying for the electricity at the campground! Our propane furnace is noisy too, and we don’t use it much if we have a choice.

    Sounds like the weather is wild and wooly in Colorado! I’m sure weather will get warmer as you head south. Bet you thought you were leaving the snow behind you in PA!! I wonder if they get snow flurries most of the year at these higher altitudes? Enjoy reading about your adventures every day!!

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