They lived where?
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
So we had quite a pleasant stay over in Gallup and despite running a huge motel on her own,Cathy/Kathy looked after us well.They had Catfish and Dogfish (A.K.A. Atlantic salmon) on the menu so I went for the catfish.memories of dissecting dogfish and removing nematode worms is just too strong. Started out early - car had obviously had a cold night - and we travelled for most of the morning in jumpers (there is probably a US name for the garment but its beyond me)
As before landscape astounding and the sandstone colours create huge varieties of colour.It wasn't until yesterday that I realised that the sandstone was not predominantly red when I realised that my sunglasses were tinted.
Roger will no doubt give you the blow by blow on what we saw at Mesa Verde but the guides' standard response being that nobody knows what the real story is about leaves a lot open to speculation .Why such a small population would knock themselves out building a stone village halway up a mountain from stones they found at the bottom and then end up with a disorganised community that lasted a short time is beyond me.But then they couldn't drive.Despite all this ,its a reality and remarkable for its position and situation in one of the most spectacular landscapes I have seen.
No indicators at all today and nearly wiped out by a following motorist blinded by the sun when we had stopped to turn right.Still the screech of tires created a gap in the traffic.
Left the hotel early as usual. Breakfast wasnt stunning, but then there werent that many people, even thoough its a huge hotel. The weatehr has definitely turned a lot colder, to the extent that we were both wearing jumpers, for the first time this trip.
Basic journey was straight north from Gallup into Colorado, to Cortez. The sat nav was again playing tricks, it showed the road north stopping half way. However, just as the road stopped, in fact it becane a dual carriageway! However, as there wasnt a lot of detailed navigation to be done, this presented no problems. We got to Cortez, and reserved our hotel room there and then, so we knew where we were coming back to. Bought some lunch in the supermarket over the road, and set off for Mesa Verde, about 20 miles up the road. Stopped off to eat liunnch and met up with 2 Aussies who are touring round here for 3 months in an RV, Ken and Sue Very friendly types.
On getting into the park, we had to drive quite a way to the cave dwellings, but the route was unbelievable - mountain roads with terriffic views, but also the trees were all in their autumn coulurs. Really a great drive. Got to the main centre/museum and wandered down to see the Spruce Tree House. All the attractions in the southern part of the park are cave dwellings, which were occupied around 1400. The main dwellings, which may have been mainly for storing food in times of surplus, are constructed under overhangs of the rock, so they are below the level of the mesa (table)
Then we proceeded to the Cliff Palace, where we had an hour guided tour. It involved climbing down a very steep paath to get to the dwelling, and then afterwards, a very steep climb back up. Including a series of ladders, whicch were very rustic. There were a couple of people on the tour who had difficulty walking - it must have been very difficult for them.
On the way out we met up with George and Kayla Anousakes, who were very interested in the car and took a load of photos, which she's promised to send us. The car has enabled us to meet some great people!
Anyway, back to Cortez for the night. Gave Stanley a bit of a wash - have to keep him clean so as to make a good impression! Had dinner in a local brewery/restaurant, so it was some local beer for a change from the Bud Lite we normally have.
Mileage 205, Altitude now is 6200ft, max we got to was 8367, and we climbed 9156 today.