Friday, May 29, 2015

Family Road Trip - Day 2

Sunday, May 24
Miles Traveled: 326 miles (784 total)
States Visited: Colorado, New Mexico
Cost of Gas: $2.72 (Aztec, NM)
Breakfast: Decent motel breakfast
Lunch: Picnic lunch at Mesa Verde campground
Dinner: Denny's in Durango, CO
Sites: Church at Cortez 1st Ward, Mesa Verde (Balcony House)
Lodging: Homewood Suites in Albuquerque, NM

We had a surprisingly good breakfast at the motel this morning. The kids were so impressed by the waffle iron where you could make your own waffle fresh and hot.

We went to church in Cortez at 9:00 but only stayed for sacrament meeting--mostly because of the need to get on our way, but also because both Meredith and Rosalie had icky runny noses, and I'm sure the members there were not sad we didn't stay to share our germs with their kids.  After we packed up our van, we ate the rest of the Klondike bars that we had refrozen in our motel freezer overnight. The first ones we ate on the side of the road yesterday in a mostly melted state when we realized that the cooler wasn't quite keeping them solid.

When we got to Mesa Verde Park there were picnic tables in the trees so we ate the sandwiches and snacks we had brought from home. Then we toured the ancient homes of the cliff dwelling Pueblo Indians.

This is a kiva--it's a round pit in the ground with a roof made of logs. Very cozy.

We booked a tour of the "Balcony House" that was an hour drive away from the visitor center. Our guide told us some interesting things about the Mesa including: It's not really a mesa, it's a cuesta. A good fire leaves behind black smoke on the ceiling of the alcove while a bad fire (out of control) turns the sandstone dark pink. And only a member of the group that lives here knows where the handholds are to get up and down the cliff face. Someone else could easily get themselves stuck or worse trying to climb up.

We had to climb some serious ladders to get around in the Balcony House. I didn't know how nervous Anika gets around heights before this.

Standing in front of the balcony of Balcony House.

The retaining wall. They had to build this, but they think there probably was one, because toddlers will toddle. 

 Notice we are all wearing jackets--it was cool and rainy all day.
Mesa Verde is a very fun and informative cultural experience. It was cool to go back with my family and remember the time I came here in college with my World Civilizations class.

We spent the evening driving to Albuquerque, New Mexico with an over-long stop for dinner at a Denny's in Durango. The food was good but it took too long and we ended up spending a lot and wishing that we had just gone to a grocery store. We resolved to prepare better the next time we spent Sunday on the road.

It rained hard as we drove after nightfall. Semis would roar past us and spray water vapor in clouds that would block our vision. It was a relief to arrive at our nice hotel.

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