Our first stop this morning was Mesa Verde National Park, which I figured might consume an hour or so. Five hours later we coasted down the mesa towards the exit, a whole eight miles further eastward than at breakfast. Considering we had hoped to get to the Great Sand Dunes, 240 miles away over some pretty big mountains, this wasn’t great progress, but Mesa Verde was pretty darn cool.
Ranger Craig, the interpretive guide at Mesa Verde, was… enthusiastic. I couldn’t quite describe it well – he’s a super nice and extremely friendly and knowledgeable guy, but, well, here’s Lindalee’s take on him:
So we had this hysterical tour guide in Mesa Verde! He was seriously off his rocker. Laughed at his own jokes so hard and by tilting back his entire body and laughing up to the sky. It was a guy that really just wanted his 1970s back as a park ranger.
Good to see people who obviously love their work, but man, after 10 minutes I had to get to the back of the group and put some distance between us. :-)
About every 3-4 hours, or more precisely about an hour and a half after the previous meal, I start to have thoughts about the next meal. Planning ahead and all that. Today we both felt pizza was a good option, and we independently had the urge for pancakes and eggs and sausage and hash browns this morning, too. We have traveled together for 17 days so far, and our menstrual cycles may not be in sync, but our culinary desires sure are. So we stopped in Durango, Colorado, for late-lunch/early-dinner at Farquahrt’s Pizza Mia: 12″ pizza with onions, sausage, and black olives, and a local Pale Ale for me, shared chocolate cake for desert.
|Start location:||Cortez, Colorado|
|End location:||Pagosa Springs, CO|
|Miles today:||165 miles|
|Miles total:||5359 miles|
|Min altitude:||5919 ft (Cortez)|
|Max altitude:||8572 ft (Mesa Verde)|
After dinner we stopped in a local cafe for coffee and potty break (there have been lots of those as we continually attempt to hydrate and keep from turning into living mummies out here in the high desert). This was one of those new-age yuppy/hippy coffeeshops in a very yuppified tourist town, and they had a quote painted on the wall above the urinal in the men’s room: “Only by great risks can great results be achieved.” I thought I had remembered reading that Xerxes last “great risk”, invading Greece, while phyrrically successful pretty much cost him his empire and ruined the rest of his life…?
Stopped in a gift shop to shop for jewelry (Lindalee) and pottery (me). Out of everything in the entire store my eyes were drawn to a display case with three pieces that I thought were Acoma Pueblo works. Sure enough, I had picked out three of the most expensive pots in the store, between $800 and $2200 each (and that is after their store-wide end-of-the-season 55% discount). In another area they had cheaper items, but after seeing the exquisitely fine work of the first three, I had a hard time getting something that was visibly coarser, even to my inexpert eyes.
Ok, so as if the overly-bright interior lights of the Hyundai Santa Fe weren’t distracting enough – they won’t turn down any lower, and they reflect off the side windows, and there even is a light INSIDE the cup holders – Lindalee is in a cell-phone text conversation with a friend in Phoenix which results in her flipping open the phone’s bright screen to read, reply, or just check to see if he has texted at least once every two minutes.
Nevermind that she misses all the scenery: “ooh, look at the huge fake cow!”, “wow, what a view!”, “was that our turn?” elicits an “uh huh”, nose buried in the phone. At one point I was yawning and she absentmindedly asked if I was tired. I just said that in case she hadn’t noticed (she hadn’t) we were plummeting down a mountain road at something like an 8% grade, from around 8500 feet to 5000 or so in a few minutes – I thought her skull would implode because she was too preoccupied with texting to equalize the pressure in her ears.
Finally took the time to kick the *ss of a few technical problems I’ve been having with this journal, so maps are working again, such as they are (I’m still not happy with that solution), and I can insert photos into the body of these posts, which makes me less annoyed.
On a different note, Lindalee and I have decided we’re going to have trouble reintegrating into society. We seem to have removed many of whatever social filters might have existed, so farting, burping, cussing, etc… gonna have to work on handling those. We surmise that maybe not everyone is interested in the current status of our colons. For now, though, it’s 20-17, Mark is in the lead.
I also fiddled around with some statistics: we seem to be averaging around 21mpg in our Hyundai Santa Fe. Yes, I feel a little bad when we motor up to an overlook where the informational placard says “used to be you could see for 5 gazillion miles, but air pollution from power plants and SUVs is obscuring the view”… we’re part of the ruining of that which we go to see. Sigh.
We are averaging about $2.39/gal for gas, and have spent about $600 on it so far. If my math is right (I’m too tired to bother double checking, and hopefully y’all are too lazy to figure it out) we’ve gone about 5359 miles so far, and there is at least 1500 miles to go to get home.