This chilly mountain morning Lori and I were talking about important stuff, over coffee. Like… I never knew until last night that Lori can and sometimes does put her pants and her underwear on at the exact same time! It’s like a really good magic trick and just one more thing that I can’t do without falling down. Also, we discussed our itinerary, in that since we now have an idea of how many hours we care to drive a day and how much time it’s going to take to do our one remaining “must do” sight seeing trip; we recalculated and…changed our plans. Today, we’re going to pack up the motorhome and drive to Mesa Verde National Park. We’ll spend half a day there and since we’ll already be over be an hour in that direction anyway, we will just head towards Albuquerque, New Mexico instead of spending another night back in Delores, Colorado.
We arrived at the Mesa Verde Park station at about 8:30 and after we got a professional opinion from a ranger we headed out. The drive into the park is a full hour of narrow, super winding mountain roads at steep grades, all the way to the top of the Mesa. The geology is “mars like” and the views are stunning. It took a lot of will power for me not to sightsee while driving, but it seemed really important for me to keep the motorhome in between the lines. By the way, “Thor” did really well going up mountain roads again and it was perfect for sightseeing. The big front window gave you great visibility, you could pullover anywhere and have lunch and the dog had somewhere comfy and air conditioned to wait while went outside for a stroll.
Speaking of dogs, this park doesn’t let dogs on any of the trails. I love to argue about stupid rules, so I decide to argue this one with a junior ranger who had no ability to change it. “Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails?” The poor junior ranger nodded. “That’s right, because it’s an archeological site.” I looked down at the drawings of the ancient Inhabitants that was in front of us. “Is that a dog with them?” The ranger squirmed. “So why can’t a dog be on the trail? it’s historically consistent!”
Yeah, Yogi had to stay in the motor home. But we saw the amazing cliff dwellings and learned a lot about the people that built them and why. I only had one problem with all that. How motivated would you have to be to build something like that. Crawling up and down a cliff with bricks, mortar, wood, food… everything? And all at 8,000 foot elevation! I mean, I got tired walking across the parking lot. Amazing.
After driving two of the loop roads and stopping at countless sites, we drove the hour back down and then headed towards New Mexico. Before you know it we were heading across terrain that made Kansas look like a forest. It was beautiful but it was like a scene from an old Clint Eastwood movie. Hour by hour it changed though, from sage brush, to red rock formations, to tall pine and then to an area with some really bizarre geological formations. Fun stuff! But there was a lot of really disturbing industrial stuff mixed in too. Oil wells, that were burning off methane. Strange smelling fenced in areas with drums of who knows what and then around the next curve… wild horses, running next to the highway.
We stopped on the outskirts of Albuquerque, at a KOA that was, Ok, but there was only one patch of grass and it had a “no dogs allowed” sign on it! And the “dog walk” was just nasty dirt. But instead of trying to make up for it with “free lead pancakes” this KOA, had a gate in the fence that surrounded the campground that had “beer” in big letters written on it. Behind it was a great little brewery/restaurant owned by a young couple. So, Lori and I had a beer and a organic hot dog there before turning in for the night.
I don’t know how or why the hot dog was organic… it was a just hot dog and it was delicious and at the time, that was enough information for me.
Tomorrow we head across New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma on what used to be Route 66!