Durango, Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park

After the marvelous tour of the Aztec Ruins we get back on Hwy 550 and head north to Durango, Colorado where we find Walmart and get our supplies and ice before catching Hwy 160 toward Cortez, Colorado.

Looking for a place to stop for the night we come up short and end up staying in a rest area just a mile beyond the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park. Any port in a storm, right?

We are up early and 2DogsTravel can’t wait to go through another ancient ruins area.  My senior pass gets us into the park for free, but guided tours here require a purchased ticket available at the visitor center that is located below the entrance to the park itself.

The ancient people who settled here were cliff dwellers and the tours involve a lot of climbing,  some steep stairways, and ladders so I forego the tours, choosing instead to get the best photographs I can from afar, which of course, I haven’t found for this marvelous stop either. *SIGH*.

The park is huge, and we spend almost the entire day here. Lots of driving, and climbing in and out of the van getting photographs of this land the Pueblo people made their home over 700 years ago.

One can see the dwellings just fine, but you miss out on a lot of information by not taking the tours.  I do purchase several informational brochures so I don’t think we miss any of the facts by not taking a guided tour, but I know I miss a lot of the personal observations a guide would have given.

  • The park protects over 4500 known archeological sites including 600 cliff dwellings.
  •  The cliff dwelling known as Cliff Palace includes 150 rooms, 75 constructed open areas, 21 kivas, and two “kiva-like” structures.
  • Balcony House has 38 rooms and two kivas.  The site is divided into three plazas or courtyards with associated rooms:  Lower Plaza, North Plaza, and the Kiva Plaza.
  • The six-mile long Mesa Top Loop Drive shows the full range of architecture in this national park from the earilest pit houses to the cliff dwellings. 
  • The Puebloans lived here for six centuries, from around A.D. 600 until about 1300.

Read about the magnificent Mesa Verde National Park HERE , and if you are in this area it is MUST SEE.  They have a campground in this park, places to eat, and much more.

The Boys and I end up back at the rest area where I observe a guy go to the back of the rest area where he goes through what looks like a locked gate. He’s gone for a while, but once he comes back out we go to inspect the area where we find the gate isn’t actually locked, but a sign cautions to keep the gate closed.

The method for keeping the gate closed involves a heavy chain that is looped around a post and one of the links is to be inserted into a channel cut in the iron.  This keeps the gate closed and from afar it appears to be a locked gate.

It is BLM land!  BLM land means public access is allowed, and we trot back to MissAdventure , fire her up, drive through the gate closing it behind us, and find a spot to camp for the rest of the week. It’s good to be shut down for a few days and just kick back in the cooler temps of the mountains.  Warm days, not hot days, and wonderfully cool nights make for some good rest.

On August 12th, rested up and rarin’ to go we head to Cortez, a short 10 mile drive, where we find the dog park.  The Chiweenie Brothers get their freedom to roam for a couple of hours.

Once The Boys are worn out and ready for a nap, I then mark the required Walmart stop off our list, and begin planning our next stop.  Do we take in Canyon of the Ancients? Four Corners? Hoven Weep?  All three?  Decisions are to be made, but we’ll worry about that tomorrow.  Walmart is our stop for the night, and as I lay my head down on the pillow a decision is made on where we’ll head tomorrow.

Thanks for coming along with us on our adventures. Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  What you Did by Claire McGowan

It’s Here!

Friday, June 28th. Having gotten almost everything loaded up last night, we are up early. This isn’t unusual but actually it is a bit earlier than our normal routine. The dogs are put out on the lead to do their business while I gather items for a quick shower before leaving City of Rocks for the last time. The generator will be here today!

The shower feels marvelous, but what is going to feel even better is getting up into a higher elevation. This has been a tough few weeks dealing with ever increasing heat, but it is finally going to end, and I am excited.
We head to Deming where we pass the time waiting for FedEx to deliver the goods by checking supplies—we’re okay—getting ice and water, and a session at the dog park.
The boys romp while I visit with an elderly veteran. He and his wife settled in Deming a few years ago. He flew planes in Vietnam and had always wanted to become a commercial pilot after the war, but his eyesight was a smidge off and he was declined. Instead he bought a small plane and learned aerial acrobatics! He no longer has his plane, but keeps busy with his own two rescue dogs as well as volunteering at the local shelter. Another very interesting person.
The call from MotoTech comes in around 12:30. The genny has arrived, and we’re off to pick it up and be on our way to Las Cruces to get another problem solved.
It is very hot and quite humid in Las Cruces. As we are stopped at a red light I hear yelling and warnings to our right. I see a man with a gun. Oh shit. It takes a beat or two and hearing the words GET DOWN ON THE GROUND. DOWN ON THE GROUND NOW!! Before it registers that it is the law that has the gun, and as I am pulling up my camera two more vehicles, unmarked, pull in front of a black SUV with a very damaged front bumper and left fender. I get a nice shot of the unmarked’s. DSC_0005 (2)LEO Take Down in Verizon Parking Lot, Las Cruces
The two gals they had on the ground were in tank tops and shorts. That pavement must have been broiling hot!!
NOTE: Later after getting another SIM card for the Mobely (internet hot spot) and getting it working once again we head over to Wally. I see a piece of a black bumper and a left fender just lying in the parking lot. Looks like this is where the black SUV got into trouble! Wish I knew the “rest of the story.”
Our next stop is Leasburg Dam State Park a bit north from Las Cruces. It’s an okay park and there is a Fort Seldon nearby to see, but one night here is all we do.

In the morning, I reorganize the back between my bed and the back doors to once again accommodate the generator. I’m thinking maybe we will do one more night in the now vacated spot that overlooks the river below, DSC_0008 (2)We Were Going to Stay Here For Night Two, but ...

but go back to Plan A and we head out after spotting this guy crawling around the shade shelter in broad daylight. DSC_0007Bat Closeup

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel!  Hugs, Shawna

Rock Hound State Park

Thursday the 23rd of May we head out early. A coffee at McDonalds, the boys pushing in close in case I order a sausage McMuffin—I don’t—and I catch I-10 (Freeway! UGH!) to Deming NM where I search for the dog park.
We find it pretty easily, and it is a beauty. No less than eleven mature shade trees, mulberry and juniper, make the small dog side a shady oasis. The big dog side looks equally as shady. Having it all to themselves this early in the morning, The Chiweenie Brothers run full tilt until they can run no more.

With two exhausted wiener dogs napping, I hit Wally for supplies, and then drive the short distance to Rock Hound State Park where I purchase a New Mexico State Parks Pass good for an entire year of camping, up to two weeks at a time, in their parks’ primitive campsites. Primitive being tables with shade covers, fire rings, and a garbage can. Water is available and showers, too. All for the sum of only $225 . Did I mention this is for an entire year? *smiles*.

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So there it is, our summer adventure: Exploring New Mexico’s state parks! So glad you are coming along for the trip! Hugs, Shawna

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Our View

 

FINALLY! We’re off!

FINALLY! We’re off!

It feels good to be back on the road. It was quite a feat to get to this point—delays in getting delivery on my car, delays getting a package I ordered—but finally we are on our way.
May 18, 2019 we are up at first light getting the final items on the To-Do List marked off, and we head east to Buckeye, AZ where The Chiweenie Brothers get in a couple of hours of dog park time.
It’s a lovely, well-kept park with shady sitting areas, a side for the big dogs, and a side for little whippersnappers like Charlie and Fries. They spend a couple of hours running, sniffing, and, of course, marking everything.

With the intention of staying around the area for the night I look at the time and Lordy, it is only 11:30! What say, Boys, shall we travel on? They agree, and are ready to roll.
From Buckeye we turn south and drop down to Gila Bend where we eat our lunch at the 9/11 Memorial Park, a tiny park with a couple of concrete picnic tables, lots of lush green grass, some shade to park in, and not a single soul here.
It’s heartbreaking to relive, in my mind, that horrible day in 2001 when the world as we knew it disappeared. I will never forget where I was that day. Had stopped in Merced, CA to fuel up the truck and walking into the TA Travel Center noticed everyone in the store huddled around the television area, not a sound coming from anyone. Images of the Twin Towers in New York City on fire kept everyone’s attention . . .
Years later, Gila Bend was one of the towns that applied for and received a piece of the demolished Twin Towers and a volunteer went to NYC to haul the piece back to this town in Arizona and this little park was built around it. Solemnly we I gaze upon this piece of our history.

DSC_0017Piece of Twin Towers and Van

I decide I want to drive some more, and we head east again, to Coolidge, AZ where I buy supplies and here is where we stay the night.
Thanks for coming along on this summer’s adventure. Nope, not telling where that will be yet, but soon!
Hugs, Shawna

We’re Back in Q

                                                                Life is short

November sure has whizzed by.  The Chiweenie Brothers and I made it to Arizona, spent a couple of nights at Craggy Wash in Lake Havasu where some guy tried to roust us from our spot beside a nice shade tree by whining about how this was the third time he’s lost out on this spot and HE needed shade­­­—like we didn’t!—and when I refused to give it up  he hopped in his rig and peeled out spraying us with small rocks and dirt!

When we left a couple of days later I got the tires rotated on MisAdventure, and then we spent some time at the SARA dog park. SARA Park has much to offer besides a wonderful dog park: Hiking and biking trails, an equestrian area, and more.

We move on to Parker where we spend one night off Hwy 62.  Last year’s camping area is inaccessible. Not sure if it was due to flash flooding or just the fact the road has been graded, but nothing looks familiar and I can’t find a spot with shade. One night here and we move on. Q (Quartzsite) here we come! 

I drive straight into town, get ice and fill up the generator (I love being able to use my Instant Pot!!) then head to the dog park.  Big surprise here.  The “Big Dog” side is closed for some unexplained reason and all are using the “Small Dog” side.  It isn’t working too well as the big dogs have pretty much taken over and there are plenty of little dogs that don’t like being in with them.  But, it is what it is. We will either spend more time in other areas of La Paz County or we can change our preferred time to be at this dog park to later in the afternoon. We’ll work it out!

Once the boys are ready to leave the dog park I drive to the library and try to get a blog post done.  I no longer have mobile internet as ATT said I used too many roaming hours and they cut me off everywhere there is no ATT cell tower.  Hmph!  This may be a long winter with fewer posts. Not surprisingly I still have to pay until my contract is up so I won’t be getting anything different at this time. Again … It is what it is.  I’ll work it out!

Meanwhile, out in the desert we settle onto BLM land with a sweet, shady spot at the Hi Jolly 14-day area.  Long walks with the boys in the chilly air of morning, some reading, checking email­­­—fortunately I can get my email and get onto the internet with my phone, but no way can I do a blog post from it— and I am able to make an appointment with my dentist in Los Algadones. But, before that happens we will head to Bouse and stay a night or two.  The boys will get to romp in the HUGE dog park there, I will get veggies from the truck that brings in produce fresh from the fields, and I will also attend a get-together with the Bouse Genies, the local genealogy group. 

This trip to our wintering grounds has brought some frustration, yes, but there has been blessings, too:  Lying in bed one night with the back doors open I watch the space station glide silently through the night sky.  Early mornings, before sunrise, I watch Venus hanging huge and glittering, low in the east as day tries to make her disappear for another 24 hours, Sun demanding her time in the sky. One morning Venus was next to the quarter moon; so beautiful!   

Some mornings Sun brushes past the distant mountains with a silent but huge burst of light, other mornings she makes a magnificent entry wearing a cloak of the softest pinks and lavenders or bright red and gold if she’s feeling brassy.

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Coyotes howl across the desert.  I do consider this a blessing, although it’s not much fun when they come in close trying to trick The Chiweenie Brothers into coming out to play which they did three nights running at one point.  Sends a chill up my spine.

Gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.  They make my heart sing in their beauty.

Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel. We appreciate you coming along on our adventures, and appreciate your patience while we get through this little internet glitch. Hugs, Shawna

Ashland Dog Park

We are so close to being back in California, but the boys need some off-leash time, and I look for a dog park. Ashland has one and once we have the morning chores accomplished: Potty walk for the boys, coffee made for me,  breakfast for The Chiweenie Brothers, MissAdventure tidied and things in place for travel, we head out.  The park is just up the road. It’s an interesting roundabout way to get to it, but we finally arrive.  The boys have a ball.

 

 

After the boys have a good long romp in this park, we head south stopping once at another rest area inside California for a short break before heading on.

After a couple hours drive we are here—Hello Redding!—Negotiating traffic and eagerly looking forward to seeing everyone,  I pull MissAdventure into my sister’s driveway and head to her door. So good to see her!

My brother-n-law is not the man I have known my whole life. In the year I have been gone dementia has set it. He doesn’t know who I am. He doesn’t know who his kids are. To him we are “That Girl” or “That Guy”. Heartbreaking. My sister has her own health problems, but no dementia thank God.

Home base is under a nice shade tree in Sis’s side yard, and I will make small journeys in the area to see my sons, grandchildren, and friends, and try to remember the layout of town! How sweet it is.

And this is where I leave you for a few weeks, taking a break from blogging as the boys and I enjoy our time here reconnecting with family and friends.

THANK YOU for coming along on our travels, and we will “see” you sometime in November when we head to our wintering grounds in Arizona.

Hugs, Shawna, Fries, and Charlie B

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