Monday, September 29, 2014
Read all about it! But really how about a few EXTRA photographs from the last few days. Our next stop with the Airstream today we believe we will be off grid. No power, no water, no cellular or internet service. I will pre-date our daily blog and post when we resurface on Wednesday! Wish us luck I am finding out we have an adventure ahead.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Rain, rain and more rain. It rained all of last night. When we got up this morning the rain had finally stopped and it was 46* and foggy. After a few hours the temperature hit 48* and once it started sprinkling again, back down to 46*. The mountains back toward Silverton we can see are now capped with snow!
Earlier in the week we knew this might happen. Which is why we did most of the Mesa Verde activities that we could early in our stay. So we kept our base camp here at Mesa and took a road trip to the Four Corners Monument. It was an easy but bumpy ride there. Forty-five minutes, thirty-six miles and sixty-two degrees AND sunny! There is absolutely nothing else there. It is run by the Navajo Nation and was recently re-done in 2010. The monument is very nice. There are vendors set up surrounding the monument selling their jewelry and trinkets. It was a fun and interesting short adventure for the day.
On our return we finally made it into the MVNP Visitors Center. I know we really should have stopped in here days ago. This is a really neat facility. Scientists and archeologists (you can watch them at work) are working on logging and studying many of the artifacts found here in the park.
Tomorrow we will be moving our entire base camp farther southwest and into another state. We hope to land at yet another great National Park.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
How lucky we are! Some parts of the Mesa Verde National Park are already closed. We really wanted to go to the Wetherill Mesa area but it has already been shut down for the season.
However just our luck today was the WETHERILL MESA BIKE AND HIKE EVENT. The event opens the tram road and area for only hikers and bicycles. This Mesa is a long narrow peninsula of land surrounded by deep canyons. There are several cliff houses located there and also the Badger House Community.
So for today's adventure we hiked to Long House, Step House & part of the Badger House Community. Again another long day of moderately strenuous hiking up and down ladders, transversing 130-foot elevation changes with steep climb outs. ALL WELL WORTH THE EFFORT!!!
Friday, September 26, 2014
First though let me tell you about our evening last night. We had an amazing campfire, great music and a spectacular session of star gazing. Who can say they saw not one, not two but THREE falling stars in one evening. Oh and the milky way was jaw dropping.
The campground is just four miles into this national park. We started out getting up super early to take a short drive to one of the many lookouts. This one looked back east toward Mancos. They are having a small hot air balloon fiesta this weekend. Our purpose was to watch some of the early morning launches from this elevation. It was fun. However we have no pictures. Due to the distance (miles) and the rising of the blaring sun.
Afterwards we drove another twenty-one miles back into the park to explore SOME of the ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings.
Our adventure took us through Spruce Tree House, Balcony House and Cliff Palace. All are moderately PLUS strenuous. The first dwelling is a self guided tour. The other tours require ticket purchase and you must go with a Ranger as your guide.
Each had steep elevation changes. One with a 32' ladder and an 18"x12' tunnel to crawl through. Plus numerous other ladders and obstacles to maneuver. One hundred foot elevation changes.
Again so many pictures to choose from and too much information to process and to be able to explain in this blog.
The Ancestral Pueblo people grew crops of corn, beans and squash. They also hunted game here. About AD 550 some of the people living in the Four Corners area moved to Mesa Verde. They flourished here for over 700 years. In the late 1200's they left their homes and moved away. Local ranchers first reported the cliff dwellings in the 1800's. We are ending our day with barely scratching the surface of exploring this massive and amazing National Park!
ELEVATIONS: 7,500' to 8,572'
MILES DRIVEN: 46
Thursday, September 25, 2014
This morning we got up early. Today it was time to move farther west. It's so sad to be leaving Durango but we have much excitement for what still lies ahead. Tim and I packed and resorted everything we had pulled out over the last week. I even packed a cooler for us to have in the truck for our long ride ahead. All of our sources were giving us different travel times - two hours, one hour and even a 'route not possible' ... Huh!?
So off we went traveling west on Hwy. 160 with the Airstream in tow. We arrived at the entrance to the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado in just under an hour. Glad I packed the cooler!
At this point it was too early for our check-in and it was also lunch time. We then decided to keep driving a few miles into Cortez, Colorado to find a spot to eat lunch.
With only a few places with parking lots that would easily accommodate our rig we first stopped at the Lotsa Pasta/That'za Pizza. It was a bust. They don't even open until 3PM.
Second stop ... A truck stop. Oh yeah! When you see trucks there AND a bunch of local cars it must be good. The Ute Coffee Shop was supper yummy. They had anything from breakfast to burgers to traditional Mexican fare. Between the two of us we had enchiladas, tacos, a tamale, chips & salsa. My thoughts are any Mexican food here in the southwest (even if it's bad) has to be better than our good stuff back home.
Once we polished off all the food at the truck stop we walked two blocks over to the Silver Bean. I have so wanted to visit this place forever! It was better than one could have imagined. Tim and I got our coffee fix, bought a coffee mug, muffins for breakfast in the morning and got a photo shoot in of the two Airstreams there. It really made my day.
Finally we made it back to Mesa Verde NP. A month or so ago they sent me an offer of Buy Two Nights/Get Two Free! So luckily we were able to make the dates I picked/booked and now here we are at Morefield Campground in the park. This campground offers 250 camp sites. Of those 15 are full hook-up sites and since I had booked early we were able to get one of those sites. There is a good bit of landscape between sites here giving privacy and these sites sure look better to us than any commercial place we've passed getting here.
Here in the park we have no cell service, so I'm not sure how often I will be able to post while here. We had to drive partially back out of the park this evening to get this one posted.
(At our campsite ... there's an app for that)
MILES DRIVEN TODAY: 73
(Including all around town but just to MVNP 36)
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
But oh so right! On our last day in Durango Tim and I decided not to go for a hike but instead spend a little more time downtown since we love the area so much. We had to go to town anyway for a propane refill and got some casual walking in anyway.
Lunch was spent at the Diamond Belle Saloon, in Downtown Durango, which is located in the Strater Hotel. Once we sat down and relaxed for a few minutes we realized there was Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin music playing in the saloon. It seemed so wrong but oh so right for our surroundings. Just lovely and very relaxing.
Lunch was marvelous in the Old West surroundings. Tim had their Diamond Burger and I couldn't resist the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf. The carrots that came with mine were mildly sweet with freshly chopped garlic. Again ... Oh do wrong but oh so right!
Afterwards we walked around town again then headed back to camp. Of course making one last stop at the Brew Pub prior to our departure. Tomorrow we head out again, farther west into unknown territory for us.
One more thing . . .
FINALLY A PICTURE OF THE 'RAIL CAR DUDE' WHO RESCUED MY GOPRO . . .