Four States in under one hour

Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
Trip End Jul 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
Mesa Verde RV Resort Mancos
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Colorado
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lazy morning since our drive today would only take two hours. I decided to cook a big breakfast of hash browns with all the fixings. This takes a longer time than you'd expect. First I have to cut up all the onions, peppers, and shrooms. I have to lug out the big electric cooking grill and warm it up. Now, this thing takes a lot of electricity so I had to turn the gen on high (there are no hook ups at this campground – but for $10 a night, what more do you want?) I set everything up at the table outside but by the time I started cooking, the sun was already hitting my cooking area. I must say that my hash browns turned out very good and we stuffed ourselves silly. After breakfast we were in no hurry to leave so we took a walk around the campground and the boat launch area along the San Juan River. We met a tour group that was taking a 6 day rafting trip on this river - sounds fun to me but Pooh said she would get bored, and I believe her. Plus, she did not like this river since it was muddy. Me, I could care less. I’d just love to go and explore new areas.

Since we only stayed here one night it did not take long to pack up. We drove a few miles south back to Arizona and then hung a left toward the east through various Native American communities. Many of these places look so impoverished but with this land that the US government put them on, it’s no wonder. No minerals to mine and the ground is too dry to farm. As a kid I always wondered why most of the "Indians" lived out west. At least they can operate casinos and earn a little money. After 45 min. we hung another left up toward the famous geographical oddity that is the Four Corners.

This is where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona all meet. It is owned by the Hopi tribe and they charge $3 a person to come view this. It is really just a photo stop but a bunch of people were there to take this photo of the Four Corners. I guess I’m not the only fan of geography in the world. All around this were little Native American kiosks selling mostly jewelry of which Pooh and I have no interest. There were a few places selling food of which Pooh got a fry bread with honey and I got a fry bread with taco stuff on top. I asked for some hot sauce and they gave me this homemade salsa that burned my tongue off and caused bathroom problems later in the evening. But it was good and that’s what counts. I wanted to get my own picture at the Four Corners and do the tourist thing. I saw one bald biker do a head stand on the corners – that was pretty cool. But no picture for me due to Quique. I had Pooh take Quique back to the RV so she could fetch my water – that salsa was HOT – and the fact dogs are not allowed in that area. However, just as Pooh was about to put her in, she ran off like a bolt of lightning. She ended up back where I was sitting which was a quarter of a mile away. Quique does have a good sense of direction. Pooh was mad that Quique had run from her like that so we had to leave.

Back on the road it was 45 min. to our campsite outside of Mesa Verde National Park. We had to go though the biggest town in Southwestern Colorado, Cortez. It is one of those small towns that has everything as all the chains are here. Good place to stock up on food and diesel since it was under $4 here. The RV park was called, appropriately, Mesa Verde RV Resort. We could have stayed in the national park but it was four miles into the park and all up hill and no hook ups. Since we were going to be gone during long periods of the day over the next few, we needed hook ups. And this place is one of the best private campgrounds we have ever stayed. First, it has a Jacuzzi. Now I like a nice hot Jacuzzi at the end of a long day of hiking. That hits the spot. I don’t really care for pools as they are usually full of screaming kids – not my idea of a teachers vacation. They also had a huge area out back to walk the dog with a few ponds to keep it interesting. And the whole park was very clean. It did cost $35 a night which is a tad high for me, but it was worth it. The best thing was the WiFi which was the fastest of the trip. I did a few days of pictures in no time.

After a Chinese dinner that I cooked, we took a little evening drive into Mesa Verde National Park. We did not go all the way as it was too late in the day, but we did make it to the Visitors Center to get the scoop on what to do here since we’ll make a day of it tomorrow. The VC had this early 60s feel to it was it was shaped in a circle on stilts. There are three ranger led tours into the cliff dwellings that cost money. Two of the tickets are $3 each which is not much. I decided to spend $10 on one since it would be a historical interpretation. The drive to the VC was 10 hard miles from the entrance. You drive on twisty slow roads up 2,000 feet in elevation in a short time. Zig-zag, zig-zag. At least I did not have the RV. After we got our tickets, we had a little snack at the Far View lodge and enjoyed the views from atop Mesa Verde. We also took in a few mesa top sites where the Anastazi lived before they moved to the cliffs. They even knew how to build a reservoir. At cap our time out here we went to a ranger presentation at the lodge which was much like an overview of the park. Then we drove back to the RV back along the crazy road at dusk with a great sunset over the valley below. Back at the RV we let Quique run around the small ponds before hitting the sack.

Observations so far: 1) Tons of motorcycles out here – the Harley types with all black and lots of facial hair. Not so many at the National Parks but many around the Native American areas. 2) Where are the African Americans? I remember Oprah doing a special on why blacks do not do the outdoors. I thought maybe after that there would be an increase. But no. I’m lucky to see one African American a day on this trip. I see them in the cities like Phoenix and Tucson, but none in the Grand Canyon, Zion, Moab, or other National Park or Native American areas. 3) Tons of Germans. The Germans have really helped the tourism economy around the National Parks – and they are big spenders. Other Europeans are here too. Glad their economies are doing better.
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