A Tale of Two Garth’s. Chapter Twenty – The bigger the balls the harder it’s going to be for Stacy to swallow them.
The next morning we got up bright and early to set out for the town of Silverton and the impending rocky mountain oysters (aka deep fried bull’s balls). I had no idea how I was going to get out of this one but I had a little under an hour to figure it out. Dewitt, Garth, KC and I all climbed into Dewitt’s truck and drove off Sheryl and Glenn’s property. I looked out the back window at Sasha who was watching our departure. There she was staring at me with her big brown eyes as if to say, “Good luck Stacy. You’re going to need it. Oh, and don’t throw up or they’ll make you eat them again.” I dry heaved a little at just the thought of what bull balls were going to look like. Were they at least going to garnish them with a piece of parsley? That would be nice. Or maybe they could drizzle a black truffle sauce on them to add to the flavor. As if on cue, out the window I saw my future meal swinging between the legs of a rather large bull as he sauntered across the planes of Colorado.
“Do you see the balls on that guy?” I could hear one cow saying in my head.
“Yes, but you know what they say, the bigger the balls the harder it’s going to be for Stacy to swallow them,” her friend would reply. HA, HA, HA. You keep laughing cows. I may not eat you but I will wear your asses.
Before we headed out of town we stopped for breakfast at this nice little diner and for the first time in days I had options other than eggs. I was starting to really not like eggs. As I drizzled yummy syrup over my pancakes and dug into my bowl of fruit Dewitt and Garth laid down our game plan for the day. First off we were going to stop off at the Durango & Silverton Railroad and Museum. Second stop was the small town of Silverton and the Handlebars Restaurant for my initiation. After that it was off to Romero’s Restaurant y Cantina for the best margaritas in town. I was probably going to need two or three margaritas after our trip to Handlebars.
After breakfast we made our way to the Durango & Silverton Railroad and Museum. Dewitt wasn’t hip on the whole train ride up to Silverton and opted that we drive but wanted us to see the museum anyway. We didn’t get to see the train because it was making it way up the mountain to Silverton with its trainload of overzealous tourists vying to get a window seat and the best pictures a ticket could afford. Truth be told I would like to go back one day and actually ride the train myself with my husband and our little girl. I know it’s a tourist trap but one I’m willing to endure to experience a part of history first hand. I walked through the museum and learned all kinds of interesting facts. For instance, the train had first pulled into Durango in 1881 and by July of 1882 the tracks to the small town of Silverton were complete. By 1885 the population of Silverton had grown to a whopping 1100 people, most of whom had moved to the mountain town because of the silver mining prospects. The town itself was pretty much like any small town back then. It had a nice healthy mix of law-abiding, church-going folks along with the gamblers, prostitutes, variety theatres, dance halls and saloons. But in 1893, 10 large mines in the Silverton district were forced to close when silver prices plummeted because of a slow market and low demand. Mining in Silverton closed down in the early 1990s. There is still gold and silver up there and it is said that mining may be back one day. Don’t think I won’t be there.
The railroad itself had all kinds of problems from mudslides, snow, flood, war, and financial instability. And things just got worse from there. In 1918 the Spanish Flu wiped out 10 percent of the population in six weeks. On top of that the Gold King Mine closed, and the Sunnyside Mine ceased operations for almost ten years resulting in the closing of the Silverton Railroad. In the 1940’s Hollywood discovered Durango’s railroad and filmed movies in the area showcasing the train. If you’ve seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you know the train I’m talking about. In the 1960’s the Durango-Silverton Railroad was registered as a National Historic Landmark and is still taking tourists back and forth from Durango to Silverton in vintage locomotives that are maintained in original condition.
But enough of the history lesson, let’s go eat some bull’s balls! After our trip through the museum and walk down the train’s memory lane it was back into the truck and on to Silverton. The drive its self was magnificent. Literally. That part of Colorado is really inspiring. I know John Denver was singing about the Rocky Mountains when he sang “Rocky Mountain High…Colorado.” But maybe he really was high and was actually on the road to Silverton instead. We began to climb in elevation and next thing we knew we were in the middle of snow flurries.
“It’s snowing? On the 5th of July?” I asked. I was so happy I had thrown my sweatshirt in the car.
“The weather up here is pretty unpredictable,” Dewitt informed us.
“Can we pull over and take pictures?” I asked.
“Perfect timing, I have to pee,” KC added.
We pulled over and all jumped out of the truck and took turns standing in the falling snow getting smiling pictures of ourselves. KC’s was by far the most interesting. We just got his back as he urinated on God’s country. Men are lucky that way. Back into the car we went and the drive continued. Before long I could feel the pressure begin to build in my ears.
“I can’t get my ears to pop,” I said as I opened my mouth wide.
“Mine too, I feel like I’m on an airplane,” KC said from the seat next to me holding his nostrils and mouth shut trying to blow the pressure out of his ears.
“It’s because we are at nine thousand feet,” Dewitt informed us. Durango sits about 6500 feet above sea level and we had just climbed another three thousand feet in under an hour. I’d like to see Jon Denver do that. Oh wait, he did. He just went the opposite way. What, too soon?
Before long we had pulled into the tiny little town. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. I thought I had grown up in a small town, but this town made Big Bear look like a bustling metropolis. Silverton is a quaint little town set down in a valley surround by mountains and was currently getting covered in a light dusting of snow. More colorful facts about Silverton: population of around 500 with three registered sex offenders. It wouldn’t be too hard to find the asshole in that town.
As beautiful as Silverton is, the thought of my initiation brought me quickly back to sobriety. I was going to have to face the Rocky Mountain Oyster music or do the dreaded secret walk of shame. I had already made my decision but hadn’t verbalized it yet. But just between you and I, I was going to be walking no matter how shameful it was going to be. Even though I had the sinking feeling there might be nudity and witchcraft involved. The four of us walked into Handlebars Restaurant. This was an old restaurant and a favorite of tourists and locals alike. When you walk in you feel like you have just stepped through a time machine into the Old West. The staff is dressed in period garb and the restaurant itself is decorated to perfectly replicate the feel of a mining town saloon during the gold rush era.
The place was packed but we were lucky enough to score a table. The waitress came up to the table with menus but Dewitt immediately informed her that menus would not be necessary. He ordered four plates of Rocky Mountain Oysters, four beers, and four shots of tequila. And a bottle of hot sauce. I felt my heart sink and my gag reflex stand at attention.
But the angels were with me that day, my friends. Because the waitress sadly shook her head and informed us that the storm had knocked out the power. No power means no deep fryer. No deep fryer means, you guessed it, NO BULLS BALLS! Sandwiches and salads only.
“Ohhhhh noooooo,” I moaned behind a shit-eating grin. “And I was so looking forward to this.”
Instead of Testicus Bovinicus, I got a veggie sandwich and tried not to look too smug as I munched away. The boys looked a little depressed that they weren’t going to be eating some sort of animal flesh, but I didn’t rub it in. Much.
“I guess the initiation will just have to wait until next year, huh?” I asked around bites of tomato and lettuce.
“You are NOT going to get out of this Stacy. You will eat Rocky Mountain Oysters,” Dewitt informed me. We’ll see about that old man. We’ll just see.
After our time munching on yummy vegetables we moseyed on down to Romero’s Restaurant y Cantina for their famous margaritas. The guys looked hungry and a little grumped off so I was hoping that some margaritas might cool their fire. We went in and had a couple of pitchers while they filled up on chips and salsa before we decided to head for home. Even though we didn’t get when we had come for, we still felt good for contributing to Silverton’s economic status. Last bit of random Silverton trivia: the residents make 10% of their annual income during the 4th of July weekend, and hope that it holds during the winter. Heavy snow makes it nearly impossible to get in or out of Silverton for a few months, so get your asses up to Romero’s for some margaritas before it’s too late!
So that was it. We got back in the truck and headed back to Durango. I had a nice buzz on, I got some great pictures, I learned a LOT about the railroad, and I didn’t soil myself with the testicals of some bull. Not a bad day if I do say so myself. Not a bad day at all.
To be continued…
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