PROLOGUE: A few weeks ago, I was driving south on Route 550 towards the town of Ouray, when I passed a local resident (legally). After a furious honk, she began tailgaiting me. I slowed down almost to a crawl, hoping she would pass, but she continued to tailgate. In town, I pulled into a parking lot in front of a convenience store, hoping to resolve the conflict off the road. However, the driver just circled me, then exited the lot and drove in the opposite direction. I didn't think much of it, went into the store and spent about 20 minutes shopping. Then I got in my car and continued south on Route 550 / Main Street.
WHAT HAPPENED: After I had driven a few miles out of Ouray, a local cop caught up with me, in a huge SUV truck. He pulled me over and accused me of having driven erratically for many miles at twice the speed limit, and that I was trying to evade him back in town. This was completely false!! Besides, it was nonsensical: what was this cop doing while I was shopping -- sitting in the parking lot waiting for me? I didn't see his truck anywhere, and this thing would be kind of hard not to notice. Looking at my out-of-state license, he made lots of snide comments about how back in my barbaric home state it's probably normal to barrel down the road killing people, how unwelcome it was of me to just barge into their perfect little town like I own the place, and how I should just go back where I came from and so forth and so on. He was hinting that I was about to be arrested. Eventually, he let me go, but he had terrorized me. I was dismayed that a cop could, at the behest of an unhinged local resident, stop me under a false pretext, lie to my face, make out a false report, and so forth.
It's obvious the law enforcement in Ouray treats the county as their own little fiefdom. Beware who you pass on the road, or better yet, stay away altogether: that scenic route isn't really THAT scenic -- certainly not worth the risk and aggravation. Lord knows Ouray needs fewer tourist dollars.
Driving just outside of the town of Ouray, I passed (legally) a local resident. After furious honking, the car tailgaited me for about 7 miles into the town of Ouray itself. Not feeling safe, I pulled into a parking lot and the car followed me, but to my surprise, it passed by me and drove away. After a few minutes, I continued on my way. A few miles past Ouray, however, I was stopped by a local cop who claimed that I drove through town at an extremely high speed, that I had ignored his command to stop, and that I had tried to evade him. This was completely false!! Even while the local car was tailgaiting me, I was actually driving BELOW the speed limit, hoping that it would pass me. (Also, the cop drove a big, big SUV truck, so I could not have failed to notice him.) Looking at my (out-of-state) license, the cop kept making snide comments about how I probably drive right over people in my home state, and how that sort of thing is probably acceptable in my barbaric home state but not in the uber-civilized Colorado, and how I might as well go back where I came from. I started pleading after it dawned on me that I was about to be arrested on some absolutely hideous (and totally, totally trumpted up) charge. Or worse: we were on a desolate stretch of road, and if I had disappeared, no one would even know where to look. I swear, the man was THAT menacing. Eventually, he let me go, but it was a rattling experience; and I have no doubt in my mind that he followed and stopped me after the driver of the car I passed called him and gave him my plate number. This is no joke! Be careful who you pass on the road in that place. (Or better yet, stay away from it altogether -- God knows they can do without the tourist dollars.) The local "law enforcement" seems to be somewhat of a goon squad for the benefit of local residents.
Nestled up in Ouray Red Mountain In The Month Of December for sure. Use Caution during this month alot of snow and sleet the roads are very narrow so use Caution, to take in this Breathtaking adventure. One of the Most beautiful places in America To Visit and to drive through!Need more side Rails! Resting places are scarce through here and i saw no restrooms.
Remember you are high up in the mountains here. Ouray sits (if I remember correctly) about 8500-9000 feet. The mountain passes you have to go over to get into Ouray are usually between 10,500-12,000 feet.
The sun shines brighter here, wear sunscreen, drink lots of water.
The mountain passes just south of Ouray have some of the best scenery in Colorado. But they are steep, narrow and do not have guard rails. Be careful driving. It helps to put the car in hear when descending the mountain.
Ice climbing is becoming popular, especially in Ouray. It requires technical skill and an awareness of how to use equipment. Permits are required for Ouray Ice Park. Tower Guides also offers climbing lessons for those who are interested.
Flatlanders get a little nervous through this area. In Colorado the law says you must yield to traffic coming uphill, as a result when you're here you must pull over as far to the right as you possibly can, or backup to an area that you can do that. When you're actually in the spot that these cars are you cannot see the to the bottom of this cliff, makes it scary.
On our second trip to Yankee Boy Basin we were sickened to see this truck off the road tearing up the fragile landscape. He was stuck and kept spinning his wheels. Shortly after we took this photograph a park ranger came and I'm sure he was issued a citation. Please...stay on the road, it takes many generations for this misuse of the land to return to normal.