Mesa Verde


Part of Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde

Busy day, we were up and moving before sunrise and then we stayed on the road until well after sunset. It started with a dawn photo shoot, first from our patio at Goulding’s lodge and then at the visitors center in Monument Valley, where we also saw a road runner. 

Afterwards, we returned to the lodge for breakfast. I had a plate of Navajo fry bread. Yum! Before we left, we toured Goulding’s original trading post, now a museum and the cabin that John Wayne stayed in. Wayne made his first movie in Monument Valley, Stagecoach. He and John Ford went on to make more westerns together there. 

Our next stop was just up the road at Mile 13 on Utah 163. This iconic stretch of road has been used in many movies. It was used for the final shot of the Forest Gump cross country running sequence, the part where he quits running and also for the Thelma and Louise movie poster. A lot of other people were there too, all trying to capture this famous shot.

The next stop on our itinerary was the Sand Island petroglyphs near Bluff, UT. This BLM site has about 100′ of carved sandstone. There were hundreds of carvings and the light was perfect for viewing them. 

About this time I noticed that the check engine light was on. If you recall, on the previous day, in Monument Valley, I had tried going 4-wheeling in the Prius. I’m sure that this idiot light was the result of that idiotic little escapade. Feelings of dread cast a pall on our visit to the Hovenweep National Monument, a remote, but excellent ancient Pueblo site. We pressed on regardless. When we eventually reached Cortez, CO, Ryan at Midas was able to put our worries to rest. He read the code as a momentary overheating of the catalytic converter, cleared the code and knock on my wooden head, it hasn’t reoccurred. Hopefully, we’ll make it home safely, where we’ll get it checked out.

Mesa Verde, our eighth national park on this trip, was next. We were here before, some years ago with Jay’s family. We had fun with them then and wanted to see the park again. Finally, we crash landed for the night at a motel in Durango.

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