Friday, July 08, 2011

Long Weekend Trip

Last weekend, the weekend of July 4, Julie and I took a leisurely trip to Colorado. I took a vacation day on Thursday so we had five days of leisure, four traveling and one at home.

The first day was windy, extremely windy. The open terrain gave the wind a clear path. It was difficult to talk because of the wind noise so we turned off the intercom and rode with our thoughts. We rode for a few hours leaning a few degrees from plumb to be able to travel on straight level ground. We've traveled the road several times but I forgot about one stop sign at a cross roads. The air was filled with thick red dust blowing across the road. When we exited the cloud we were just a few yards from the stop sign.

Stopping for eye drops.
About 45 minutes south of Shiprock we took a break to retrieve eye drops and a bottle of water.

For the first night Julie made reservations in Mesa Verde National Park. I was surprised there were vacancies available on short notice on a holiday weekend. I guess the heat and remoteness of the park doesn't attract a large crowd. The drive from the park entrance to the lodge was about 45 minutes. Part of the drive is a twisting and turning climb to the top of a mesa that provided broad vistas. After checking in we had supper at a window table in the dining area. I had a dish called the three sister which was a puff pastry containing corn, beans and squash. Julie has a pasta dish with spinach, mushrooms, pine nuts and dried cherries. Both were excellent. There was no cell service available and we had a room without a television so it was a quiet contemplative evening.

Mesa Verde Ruins.
Mesa Verde Ruins.

The next morning after breakfast we rode farther into the park, visited the museum, watch a video and stopped at a few overlooks. Due to Julie's foot surgery and restricted ability to walk we didn't visit any ruins. I read there are over 1,400 archaeological sites in the park. We discussed another visit in the fall when we can explore some of the several miles of trails.

After leaving Mesa Verde we traveled east to Durango then turned north to Silverton, Ouray and Ridgway. At a roadside stand in Silverton we bought cherries, two varieties, sweet, fresh and tasty. The road between Silverton and Ouray is called the million dollar highway. We climbed over 13,000 feet where the air was cool and snow remained in shaded spots. The road twists and winds through the mountains around turns without guard rails and drops of hundreds of feet. It was a beautiful ride.

Hot Springs Cat.
Hot springs cat taking a nap in our room.

Originally we had reservations to camp at Orvis Hot Spring just south of Ridgway. Julie called to see if a room might be available due to a cancellation. No luck. A couple days later she phoned again. Success! This was about our sixth visit. On previous visits the resident aging cat seemed so fragile. He was old, decrepit, slow and had long matted hair that was thinning. He looked as if he might drop dead at any moment. This time we encountered a new cat, a young healthy friendly cat.

Telluride, Colorado.
Telluride, Colorado.

We had planned two nights at the hot spring but could get a room for only one night so we decided to cut our trip short by one day and return home by another route. We stopped in Telluride for lunch and an hour of wandering the streets. The temperature was pleasant, everything was deep green and snow melt was flowing from the mountains. It was a radical change from home and the remainder of the ride. Later in the day we stopped in Shiprock, New Mexico, to get something to drink. The temperature was 98 degrees, a dusty, brown, dry 98 degrees

Window Rock.
The window from which Windrock took it's name.

The previous evening we made reservations in Window Rock which is on the border between New Mexico and Arizona. This was our first time in Window Rock. Before leaving the following morning we searched for and found the namesake, looked at the memorial to the Navajo Code Talkers and read many of their names inscribed on bricks surrounding the memorial.

It was a great trip. By the time we arrived home we had ridden 903 miles. As we neared home we began discussing another trip. We're planning a Labor Day trip to St. George, Utah with stops in Bryce and Zion national parks. We can make a loop of part of the trip and may include a stop on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

One reviving trip in our memories and another to anticipate.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I enjoyed your trip, but it took quite awhile to track on Google Maps. (hint for future trips)

7/11/2011 07:35:00 PM  
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7/25/2011 02:46:00 AM  

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