After a quick trip to target…ha! Does anyone ever really do a quick trip to target? Well, we finally get on the road sometime much later than I had planned. (Seems to be a pattern…) It’s about a 4 hour drive to Mesa Verde. Originally, I wanted to take the scenic route through Telluride, but snow is in the forecast and I don't think this rookie is ready for driving the rig in snow just yet! So we decided to drive out to Moab, Utah and then head down from there.
We stopped in Moab to stretch our legs and get some supplies at City Market. Right now, driving for two hours straight seems to be about my limit. My hands get tired from clamping on the steering wheel with the death grip!
But back on the road again…
I've never traveled south of Moab. First, you drive through the red rock scenery but eventually it changes and turns into rolling farmland with towns far and few between, sometimes with just a name marker to let you know that you are actually in one. The storm clouds can be seen over the mountains in the distance... thankfully we are not over there, too. Clear skies/no rain for the drive for us. I am just admiring the beautiful sunset with all the colors of pink, orange and blue. All of a sudden the truck lets out a loud "Beep!"
Low Fuel!!! I wasn't paying attention at all! I looked down at the fuel level, then looked up...and a gas station appeared out of nowhere! Whew, crisis avoided!
So we roll into the Mesa Verde RV Park...well, actually, I rolled past the Mesa Verde RV park, down the road a few miles until I could find a spot to turn around and come back, and roll into the Mesa Verde RV park. First time backing in and I get to do it in the dark! That's how we Ridler's roll...set up the RV in the dark. It only took me about 20 tries or so but I got her in the spot! Maybe a little crooked, but did not hit the tree or have any branches take off the air conditioning unit, so I call it good! (Actually, I was very lucky with this site because I was able to pull all the way forward, and all I had to do was back it in straight. Yeah I don't really know how to back it in straight, easier said than done!)
The site itself was very nice, pretty trees around and good separation from the neighbors. But the highway noise was VERY loud and constant. (Don't do our site #5, or any of the ones on the road.) I think one of the sites towards the back of the park would have been much better. The bathrooms were super clean and the showers nice and big and hot! Also, the RV park attendants were very welcoming.
Monday, we just spent the day running errands in town, Cortez, about 10 minutes away. Hung at the library for a few hours…very good/fast free wifi! Did some school work with Summer, first attempt at math homeschooling...it's going to be a very loooong school year!
Tuesday, we hung out for the day in Mesa Verde National Park. We did 2 tours, but should have only done 1 per day. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and informative, but the tours are about double the length that we would have liked, lots of standing around, not much moving. (We stopped and took a quick look at the Cliff Palace...really cool/impressive!)
We went to the Balcony House tour first...very fun tall ladder climb up and then crawling through one of the narrow passageways inside the cliff house. Loved those parts!
There is a really long drive between the Cliff House Tours. About midway, there is a nice little museum. Summer got her first Junior Ranger book and we went hunting through the museum for answers to fill in the booklet.
After lunch, we headed to our 2nd guided tour which was of the Long House. The day had warmed up quite a bit and the ¾ mile walk down and then back up for our tour was hot! This cliff house is much larger than the other one with tons of kivas. I really liked seeing the seep spring at the back of the cave. Water was such a valuable resource for the Ancient Puebloans. (There is a 5 mile bike loop (paved path) that seemed like it would have been fun to do, but our bikes had flat tires and needed some servicing before riding) At the end of the tour, we were too hot and tired to do the short hike to Step House. Overall, I really enjoyed visiting the park, especially at this time of year (way less crowds and cooler weather).
Mesa Verde is in the PJ forest...Pinyon Pines and Junipers.
The Ancient Puebloans used the Yucca plants to make all kinds of things...shoes, rope, clothing...
Next stop, Moab! Meeting up with Shane, Jono, Pixie and Scout!! Whoohoo!