As a teenager, I was into mountain biking, and the epicenter of the sport was in Durango. Ned Overend and John Tomac, the godfathers mountain biking, lived there. I wanted to live in Durango too. Or Moab (home of the Slickrock Trail, one of the most famous mountain bike trails on the planet). But then we visited Moab during our honeymoon road trip and realized it left something to be desired (relative to Durango at least). As a teenager, I didn’t realize what a backward state Utah was and still is. So I guess I didn’t know everything … but I was damn close.
We love Durango. We loved it when we visited a couple years ago. We love it more now. It’s right next to canyon country and Arches and Canyonlands and Mesa Verde and all that stuff Lisa loves. It’s located in the middle of miles of mountain bike trails, dirt roads, and winding paved roads that make me dream about becoming a cyclist again. There’s a river running through the town, so I could take up fly fishing (another teenage dream, this one never materialized). There are ski resorts everywhere, the closest is 11 miles away. (We went skiing once while we lived in Chicago — in central NY over Christmas — and we both miss it.) There’s a great library, a great used bookstore, a wonderfully old train, a historic downtown, a walk-able grocery story, a great microbrewery. And there are restaurants and city-things, but the geographic constraints of the town keep everything pretty sprawl-free (minus the south side).
Oh, Durango. If only your houses were a bit cheaper. If only you were a bit closer to our friends and families. If only we’d just win the lottery (tickets: bought). Durango is our favorite mountain town — big enough to be exciting, not too removed to feel isolated (ahem, Bisbee). We’ll see what the rest of the trip brings, but it’s going to be tough to dethrone Durango from its pedestal … even if John Tomac has since moved to Cortez.