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EXPLORE AMERICA: Bartels' Mancos Valley Stage Line

Experience travel by historic stagecoach in southwestern Colorado

In the 1800s, passengers paid $200 to ride 18 hours a day, 24 days straight to get from St. Louis to San Francisco. Nowadays a ride on a stagecoach costs a lot less, you can get lunch or dinner thrown in, and you don’t have to worry about bandits. Still, owner and driver Eric Bartels warns, “This isn’t Knott’s Berry Farm.” Riders who sit up top have to hold on tight once the horses start trotting; if you’re looking for less excitement, sit inside the coach, where you’ll still be able to see the thistles and goldenrod that dot the countryside. On the two-and-a-half-hour lunch ride, passengers stop for generous portions of barbecue, baked beans, potato salad, and lemonade; the dinner version features steak instead. One-hour rides are also available. Ask Eric about his screen debut in the Tommy Lee Jones movie. Bartels’ is open from May 1-October 30.

Bartels’ Mancos Valley Stage Line is located at 4550 County Rd. 41, in Mancos, Colorado. Telephone (970) 533-9857. http://www.durango-colorado-vacations.com/durango_colorado_stagecoach_rides.php

Photo credit: ©Rand McNally/Anne Ford

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