Durango, Cortez, & Mesa Verde
And it still continues …….
At this point, we are halfway through the tour and we are exhausted! The pace we have kept with the driving every few days, having constant social events, our desire to see as much as possible at each stop, and our tendency to take pretty strenuous hikes is starting to take it’s toll. But we were determined to see this through to the end!
The staff’s erratic organizational skills were also starting to take it’s toll. All who know Joanna will say she tends to run a tight ship and, though she will roll with the punches, she does not do well with others that tend to be continuously unpredictable. Besides the travel log which told us how to get to each location, the WM also had a white board in the windshield of their
coach to remind us of the daily schedule. The biggest problem with the board was that they would put up changes on the board inevitable after we had checked it for the day. And there were changes nearly everyday and sometimes multiply times a day! This had us showing up for events either late or unprepared. Let’s just say it drove Joanna nuts!
As the board says our next stop was Durango, CO. When we got up that morning, not only were we dog-tired, but Jon had a fever of 104° and his stomach was trashed. He was able to help Joanna slowly get the coach ready to travel and we headed out hoping for an easy drive. When we got to the en route stop at the Anasazi Heritage Center we tried to get into the parking lot but, this time, it was too full of other RVs so we had to take a pass. It was probably a good thing as Jon didn’t want to spread his germs. Since we needed to waste a bit of time we ended up parking on the side of the road at an overlook to take a break and have lunch.
When we got into the campground in Durango Jon went to bed and Joanna attended the social and travel brief. The staff had made arrangements for the tour to attend a ghost walk in town but the guide was a no show. Joanna had hitched a ride with another couple, so as they waited for the guide, the gang called for her to tell a couple of her short ghost stories & scary jokes. The rest of our time in Durango was a washout. Jon’s fever persisted so we took another pass on the scheduled railroad excursion and used the two days to take care of chores, cleaning and grocery shopping, and to rest and recover. A bright spot during this stop was that the campground had a U-pick vegetable garden and we loaded up the frig with cucumbers, multi-colored carrots, kale, Swiss chard, jalapenos, summer squash and zucchini!
As Jon was still sick, Joanna again did all of the driving the next day going to Cortez, CO. We left Durango as late as we could and drove pretty much the entire way without stopping. Our first day in Cortez was another day of rest though Joanna did attended another social as it was their turn to once again provide snacks. Jon finally started to feel better but he was not up for another bus tour so the next day we took a leisurely foray into Mesa Verde to see the ancient cliff dwellings. This turned out to be a good decision as the bus tour only stopped briefly at most of the stops and we were able to take more in-depth tours of the sites.
We stopped at the Far View dwellings, hiking and learning about the early Pueblo people and then stopped at the visitors center and bought tickets for the Balcony House tour later in the day. Strangely enough, as we were waiting for the tour, Carla and David (the couple we met on Capital Reef hike) appeared. As fortune would have it our paths crossed again. It seemed like it was kismet that they were in the same park and chose tickets for the same tour on the same time and day. What a coincidence! We enjoyed
chatted with them again though it was once again a short chance encounter.
At the Balcony House we were able to climb down the side of the cliff and into the dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people. There are over 5,000 archaeological sites in the park with over 600 dwellings. If you look closely at the photos of the canyon walls you can see dwellings all along the cliff face.
We had also gotten tickets for the Long House tour for the next day so, after a morning resting, we took off for the park, once again skipping the caravan’s organized activities. As we got to the park a bit early, we had time to hike the trail to Step House and to spend a little time watching the wild horses graze in the field at the top of the canyon. Getting into the long house was a bit of a challenge as we had to hike down the trail, climb down ladders and crawl through a tunnel to find the main sections of the village. AND then we had to climb back out! But is was definitely worth the effort! What an amazing way to live!
That evening once again found us at a staff prepared dinner, in which Joanna could not partake, as well as another travel brief where we found out that there was going to be a potluck at our next stop. After the meeting we took off to WalMart to buy chili makings and Joanna was able to get a salad for dinner. We really were not prepared for the number of times we would be expected to provide snacks and food for the group.
Next up – Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, & Lake Powell
Till then …