Butterfly on Goat's Beard, Red Lodge, Montana, June 2017

Butterfly on Goat's Beard, Red Lodge, Montana, June 2017
Butterfly on Goat's Beard, Red Lodge, Montana, June 2017

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Higher and Higher -- July 25-26

Mesa Verde National Park, Mancos, Colorado:

Boy do I have a lot to share with you! We made a couple of adjustments to our trip. Little did we realize how far it is to drive to Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, from San Antonio, Texas. Actually, we realized it, but pulling a 5th wheel trailer we just go waaay slower.

In order to spend as much time as possible on this trip in Mesa Verde and Grand Tetons on our way to Yellowstone, we decided to skip the Alien Museum and Research Center in Roswell, skip Bandelier National Monument and drive nine (!) hours on Wednesday to gain a day. Whew, that was tiring! 

I finally was able to drive the 5er. We were on a wide, four-lane highway with center divider and there was very little traffic. For an hour, the two-vehicle combo was in my hands. I had a little over-correction one time and a gust of wind pushed us sideways once which made it feel like the 5er was floating. Kind of creepy.

All afternoon, we skirted thunderstorms, saw them off in the distance with lightning bolting out of the sky...Until we were just east of Albuquerque. Bob was driving, I was talking to mom on the phone, lightning was flashing all around. 

I looked over at the truck indicator lights on the dash and saw a red light on the temperature gauge. Bob hadn't yet seen it, so I was pointing at the display thinking the truck was overheating and we better get off the road. I was a little distracted talking to mom at that point. 

At the next available exit we pulled into a gas station parking lot to check on the indicator light. We needed to let the engine cool first. Just as we stepped out of the truck to go back to the 5er, the rain came...cold rain. Then the lightning and thunder. The whole time we waited for the engine to cool we had a lightning show and heavy rain. When Bob thought the engine had cooled enough, we left the 5er and the rain had stopped.

He checked the radiator. No problem. Everything was as it should be. Upon starting the truck, the red light was out. So far, so good. We got back on the freeway and after a while the red light came on again. We finally figured out that the red light is a normal light on the display panel. It only comes on when the headlights are on. I had not been in his truck at night before so wasn't familiar with all the dash panel lights. Problem solved.

Wednesday night was spent at Enchanted Trails RV Park in Albuquerque, NM. We were so thrilled to pull in after nine hours on the road. This is a cute RV park with a Route 66 theme. We pulled the 5er into a space, but when we got out of the truck, there were ant nests everywhere. The site next to us wasn't infested. We thought about moving, but were too tired. I took our Spectracide Perimeter Defense and sprayed all around the tires, the hoses and the truck. We were not bothered by ants.

In the morning, Bob went into Albuquerque to Best Buy and the bank while I got the 5er ready for the road. Check-out time was 11:00 a.m. Bob returned about 10:45 and hooked up the 5th wheel. I was getting dressed when Bob came in at 10:50 and told me someone was assigned to our site and was at our site waiting for us to pull out. It wasn't even check-out time yet! Sheesh. So he had to move us out while I finished dressing in the 5er.

Here are impressions of Enchanted Trails RV Park:

Lobby at Enchanted Trails RV Park

Here are some of the exhibits at Enchanted Trails RV Park. I don't know if they're open to tour, but they were fun to look at.





Registration

Today we drove from Albuquerque up US 550 to Durango. What a lovely drive. We had one minor error. As we were leaving Albuquerque on I-25 north, I was filing my fingernails and not paying attention to where we were going. I saw a sign that said US 550 10 miles. Kept filing my fingernails. 

I asked Bob at one point, "Did we go past US 550" He didn't think so. 

We kept driving and I'm thinking to myself, "This isn't right." So I asked again, "Are you sure we didn't go past US 550, it would have said 'Bernalillo'." 

"OH," he says, "we went past that a long time ago."

Luckily, an off ramp was nearby so we turned around and went back 10 miles to US 550. If I hadn't said anything we would have ended up in Santa Fe.

US 550 is a great road to cross the Continental Divide, very few steep grades and four-lane (two lanes in each direction) divided highway most of the way. There are a couple of places with only two lanes (one in each direction). We kept going higher and higher up to over 7,000'. The scenery just kept getting better. Here are some pics I took along US 550 from the moving car, please forgive any blurriness...





Give a girl a break...we were going by at 55 mph.
 

Giant cow pies? Alien spaceships? Nope, just weird rocks.

Stormy skies.
 


We again skirted thunderstorms most of the day and had our share of lightning storms in the distance. I drove for about an hour, again on four-lane divided highways, although I did drive through two small towns and did pretty well; there weren't many people driving around in the middle of the day. 

We made a short stop in Cuba, NM. Thunder blasted right over us with lightning seemingly coming down in town. I don't think it did, but the flashes were amazing.

We made it to the A & A Mesa Verde RV Park and Campground at 5:30 p.m., checked in, set up the 5er, turned on the air and the refrigerator, fed the cats and headed off to Mesa Verde National Park. We made it to Far View Visitor Center just a little after 6:30 p.m. to purchase tour tickets for Balcony House and The Long House. Tomorrow we will spend all day in the park. The Visitor Center closes at 7:00 p.m. so we just made it.

To tell you we had an amazing time at Mesa Verde this evening just wouldn't cut it. I couldn't find my camera, so here are the words as best I can relate them. We drove from Far View Visitor Center out to the Mesa Loop Road to look at pit houses and cliff dwellings. Along the way we saw deer. On the way out from Mesa Loop Road, we drove past Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. It was closed so we'll check it out tomorrow along with the trail to Spruce Tree House. Leaving the Chapin Mesa area two does and a spotted fawn crossed the road in front of us.

The elevation of most of Mesa Verde National Park is 7,000' as it is on top of a mesa. The weather was a little cooler. On our way out of the park we had the most stunning sunset. People were stopping in the road to take photos of the sunset. IF I had my camera I would have joined them. Clouds with orange/gold linings, Ute Mountain silhouetted against and orange sky, white clouds interspersed and golden rays shooting out from behind them. We were in awe. 

Not to be outdone, the view to the east had black clouds with a partial rainbow and as the sun set, the lower clouds turned pink below the black. You had to be there. 

As we were heading out of the park, the eastern sky treated us to a lightning show. A pullout called our name so we sat and watched the show for about ten minutes. We returned to the 5er at 8:30 p.m. and ate dinner.

And just so you know, when we got back to the 5er, my camera wasn't there. Bob went out and searched the truck. We had it all along up on Mesa Verde, it had fallen between the seats!

Talk about a campground having an "it" factor, the view out our back window is of Mesa Verde! We are in the upper level of the park. Spaces 47-52 all have drop-dead gorgeous views. Pics of our site, our view and the rest of the campground coming tomorrow or Saturday. Got to head to bed, early day tomorrow with two guided tours. Life is good.

Travel Bug out.

3 comments:

  1. The Enchanted Trails RV Park looks so cute with the trailers. Congrats on driving the fifth wheel. I have not driven our motor home yet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have a fabulous time, Mesa Verde is absolutely magical.

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  3. Mesa Verde is a wonderful place. I know you will have enjoyed the tours today.

    ReplyDelete

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