We left Ouray early on our second day of travel. We had to make it all the way to the Grand Canyon, and we knew it would be long. Our hotel offered a "light" continental breakfast, which turned out to be packaged muffins and coffee. As David noted, the girl at the front desk was downloading AC/DC videos on YouTube so she couldn't be bothered to do much more. Fortunately, I'd packed a lot of food and we supplemented as best we could. We drove on the Million Dollar Highway, which is aptly named because every view is worth a million dollars. It also boasts the most avalanches, but we took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and pushed through. The San Juan mountains are spectacular, and you honestly believe you are in Switzerland. They are indescribable. I divided my time between staring at the scenery and turning around in my seat to tell Zinabu to keep looking up so he wouldn't get sick. We passed by Silverton (shout out to Rebekah who owes me the story behind her wedding) and ended the drive in Durango.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
We stopped to hit the bathrooms and refuel on coffee, and that's when major embarrassing moment number one happened. I went to the bathroom. I locked the door. The door knob felt flimsy so I double-checked that I'd locked the door. (Can you guess where this is going?) I was 100% into doing my business when a woman walked right in on me. She screamed. I sat there and died a thousand deaths. I actually called out in a feeble voice, "I tried to make sure it was locked." The woman apologized over and over. I tried to meditate and pretend I was somewhere else. I left the bathroom, grabbed David, and said, "We're leaving!"
From Durango we drove a few miles to Mesa Verde National Park. We had talked about the cliff dwellings quite a bit with the kids, and they were very excited to see them. The cliff dwellings are about 20 miles into the park, which meant lots of winding roads up the mesa and more commands to Zinabu to "look up and out." He was sick of me.
|Lily at some of the dwellings. She studied all about them as part of 4th grade Colorado history.|
|The dwellings were amazingly accessible. You couldn't climb on them, but you could walk right up to them. |
Incredibly kid friendly.
|Carver coming back up the ladder from being in the "kiva."|
|Can you handle the cuteness?|
You could easily spend 2 full days at this National Park, but we had to keep making our way to the Grand Canyon. We drove only a few more miles outside Cortez where the 4 corners are. Because what kid doesn't want to stand in 4 states at once? The wind was blowing about 50 miles per hour (not exaggerating) so we look like we are all about to be whisked away.
|Carver, in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico all at once. And squinting from the dust flying around.|
|Zinabu trying to keep the wind and dirt out of his eyes.|
|It was so windy I could hardly hold the camera. Hence the off-center shot.|
|Out of 150 vacation pictures, here is the only other photo of me. Charming. And yes, I'm wearing|
my brown vest... again. I love it so.
From the 4 corners we drove and drove and drove through a massive dust storm with ferocious tumbleweeds and everything. We couldn't see any of the rock formations or mesas because the dust was so thick. We'd heard that there would be a chance of rain/snow showers at the Grand Canyon that evening, but when we finally arrived at the park, it looked like this:
And that was our view the first day there.