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Time Out

September 15, 2011

Rough night last night…not only were we wet and cold upon arrival at the hotel, we couldn’t find one bottle of water in any vending machine, plus couldn’t get any food delivered. We were reduced to getting cups of water from a cooler in the lobby and had cookies and popcorn for supper! There was a time that that might have been appealing!

Woke up to another wet forecast. A little discouraging. We formulated a plan. We’re staying in Cortez again tonight to let the front get a little ahead of us….we’ve been riding in the tail of it for several days and getting wet every day. We plan on rest and laundry today.

The morning was wet and it rained all night. We waited till around 9:00 and it cleared a bit with drying roads. We’re only 7 miles from Mesa Verde National Park so we decided to give it a shot. The temps are cool but the sun was bright at one point with big white puffy clouds. We entered Mesa and it was 15 miles into the park till we hit the visitors center. The ride was unbelievable. We were at 7200 ft elevation. Up and down mountains, into 20mph hairpin turns.

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Beautiful country. We drove another 8 miles to the cliff dwelling we were gonna tour….Cliff Palace. It’s the biggest cliff dwelling in this hemisphere. It’s the one you always see pictures of…..

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The dwelling is located to the left of this picture…this was their valley. They got some water from seepage through the sandstone rocks into their dwelling but otherwise they had to get it from the bottom of the valley floor. This dwelling supported about 100 people and it was built in 1190-1280ad.

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The soot on the wall dates back to the time of settlement.

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The way into the dwelling requires some gymnastics.

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Tour lecture

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A dwelling across the valley.

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Getting out was as hard as getting in!

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The indentation on the right by Dorothy’s foot is one of the actual footholds the natives used to climb out of the dwelling.

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More handholds and footholds

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Driving out of the park, we could see snow on the distant mountain tops! We got back to town and thought we would try for Four Corners about 40 miles south. This is the time of day the weather sets in. We headed south and could see storms brewing ahead of us but thought we would risk it. About 12 miles down the road, Dorothy’s saddlebag opened and my rain jacket flew out. The bags do have a history of spontaneous release! We circled back around and got the jacket but took it as a sign to skip Four Corners. We went back to town and ate….the skies opened up and the thunder rolled!

Got to the hotel and finally did laundry! It’s a good day to rest but as I write this the sun is back out and I’ve got the urge to get back on the bike. The hardest part of the trip is to be so close to something you want to see and have to let it go.

Tomorrow is another day….off to Durango and the Continental Divide (hopefully)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. maryjane permalink
    September 16, 2011 8:15 am

    omg.im happy to see that you got water.i hope you had a healthy meal..follow your heart…see you two soon..

  2. kenny permalink
    September 16, 2011 11:28 am

    Following you gals every day. Good luck and sunshine.

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