Demolition Derby & Navajo Lake

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Saturday, August 1, 2009

  Within a couple weeks of moving to Monticello, we had already located a couple demolition derbies that were going to be held at fairs near here.  The first one was in Cortez at the Montezuma County fair and last weekend was FINALLY the time!  Since it didn't start until the evening and we were planning on hiking near Telluride on Sunday, we decided that we were going to camp near Dolores that night to save about 2 hours of driving.  So we took it easy on Saturday morning and even walked over to the Peace Tree and got coffee and sat on the deck for a while.  After lunch we packed up and headed to Dolores to get a camp site so we could set up the tent and stuff before the Demo derby.  
  We stopped at the visitor center in Dolores to get some info on campgrounds in the area and found one only about 5 miles out of town- McPhee Reservoir Campground- picked a site, set up our tent, and we were off to Cortez!  
  We had allowed ourselves some time to check out the fair before the gates for the demo derby opened, but we soon realized that we were there WAY early.  Every time Silas and I have gone to a fair together (Western Montana fair in Missoula, Marias fair in Shelby, MT, and this fair- the Montezuma County fair) I have been very disappointed with the animal barns and the midways.  I always end up saying something to the effect of, 'At the Douglas County fair the pig barn is HUGE!  And each FFA chapter has it's own area.' or  'At the Douglas County fair the midway is paved'  or  'At the Douglas County fair the exhibit buildings are huge!'  Silas seems to think that I'm just remembering it as being huge since it was the fair we went to when I was growing up.  But the 2 years that I raised pigs for FFA I stayed at the fair the whole week and the last time I was there I think I was 16 almost 17, so I think I remember it pretty well.  Melissa or Sarah, please back me up on this.  I don't know how many other fairs you guys have been to, but the Douglas County is big for a county fair, isn't it?  Please tell Silas!
  Anyway, we walked through all the animal barns.  My favorite is the pig barn and Silas likes the rabbits. (oops, was I not supposed to tell that?!)  It didn't take us too long to go through all the barns and walk around the midway area so we ended up getting to the demolition derby really early.  But it ended up working out good because once the line started forming, it just continued to get longer and longer and they even held off on starting for about 25 minutes until they were able to get most of the people through the line.  
  It was a pretty good demolition derby- I think there were 15 cars, so they did two main heats, then a heat for anyone whose car had died during the first two heats but was able to get it going again, then the final heat.  The announcer kept saying that they were going to do a 'calcutta' on the final heat and had tried to explain it once, but seemed confused about what exactly it was.  Turns out it's a way of betting where they auction off each car and people bid for the one that they think is going to win. The cars all went for between $80- $160 and all the money goes into a pot and the person who bet on the car that wins gets half the pot.  A couple of differences we noticed from other demolition derbies we've been to are that, 1. There was no beer garden!!  A demo derby with no beer?!  And 2. The crowds in Montana are ROWDY!  (Of course the presence/absence of beer probably plays a role in the rowdiness of the crowd)  
  One last thing that happened at the demo derby that I thought was hysterical was that a kid 'petted' Silas' leg...twice!!  Silas went down to get food or something, and when he came back he told me that a kid sitting a couple rows in front of us had reached out and 'petted' his leg when he walked past him, then again when he came back up.  I was begging Silas to walk past him again so I could see, but he wouldn't.  
  We camped that night and got up early the next morning and left the campground before 8am, we made a stop in Dolores for coffee and gas and then we were on our way to Telluride for breakfast at Baked in Telluride.  The plan was to get breakfast and then I wanted to go to a shop that we had gone to the last time we were there and get a T-shirt.  Well, to make a long story short, we ended up going to about 6-7 shops and I couldn't find anything that I liked, so I didn't end up getting anything. 
  So after that we were planning on hiking to Navajo Lake in the Lizard Head Wilderness.  Right as we got to the trailhead it started raining, luckily it didn't last long.  It was actually kind of nice because it cooled it off a little.  The hike to the lake was beautiful- it reminded me so much of hiking in Glacier.  Navajo Lake is at 11, 154 ft, and I think there's about 2,000ft elevation gain on the 4 mile hike, but I swear that half the elevation gain is in about 3/4 mile!  That part of the hike was switchbacks, and at that elevation I was SO out of breath!  I was breathing so hard I had to wait a while to even take a drink of water when we stopped.  It's the most out of breath I can remember being since running lines in volleyball practice in high school!!  But it was worth it- when we got to the lake we sat on the shore and had lunch and enjoyed the view. 
  On our way back out to the main road, we drove on a little half gravel/half paved road through a really beautiful area.  The road passes the town of Dunton- apparently it's actually a privately owned ghost town, so I don't think you can walk around it or anything.  But the whole stretch of road was really nice, Silas and I were sort of hating the people who live there! (Okay, I'll admit it- we were jealous of them!)   But we saw a couple campgrounds and several hiking trails, so I'm sure we're going to be going back there soon. 
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alandjen on

Good lake
That is a really beautiful lake. Can't believe the elevations you guys get to there! Even in Glacier, I don't think you're ever above like 8000 feet. Could be wrong. Can we go there!?

Sorry about the leg-petting incident, Silas. Hope you're not scarred for life! Maybe the kid just wishes he was old enough to have leg hair?

syamamoto on

Douglas County Fair
Okay, first of all, I no longer get email alerts when you post a new entry. So don't think I'm forsaking the travelog in exchange for facebook :P

I haven't been to many other county fairs that I can remember, but I'll agree that the Douglas County fair seemed huge for a county fair (especially DOUGLAS county, of all places). The pig barn WAS huge. I remember having to navigate through it with my pig to get out to the little wash area. And the exhibit buildings were huge! Do you remember how we'd go to that recycling booth like 20 times a day trying to win...crap, what was it? Like a t-shirt or something? I remember winning a lot of shoelaces instead. Anyway, the point is that the DC fair was big-time, haha :P

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