Thursday, 16 August 2012

Day 53: Delta to Cortez via Mesa Verde

Hi everybody.
Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Some might have to wait until I get home in a couple of weeks but all are appreciated.

We had another blast today. We began with Kiwi and I in the shower singing Delta Dawn (what's that flower you have on) while D&D stood outside gasping with mutual admiration and all our hotel neighbors cheering and calling for encores.

Not long after that I woke up and went for a shower. A cold shower.

We were on the road quite early, just after seven, and rode into a gorgeous pink dawn with the sun just coming up over the mountain ranges. Just fabulous.

We rode through Montrose and past the Ute Indian Museum (which I guess is why they call them "pick-ups" over here) and into the lovely town of Ouray, nestled in a valley between the hills.

Just lovely. This took us into the Red Mountain Pass, a breathtaking trip up to 3,355 metres ASL. It wasn't the height that got us going but the switchbacks. They were awesome!!! S-bend after S-bend at 10 or 15 mph. On the second one I scraped my footpegs on BOTH sides before I remember I was supposed to be a sensible middle-aged bloke with a lot of kilometres still to cover before Ushuaia! It was really hard to get photos but here are some.

We pulled into an old town called Silverton for a coffee.

Where Kiwi checked out the piles on the local pooch. Seemed ok.

And then rode on down the Molas Pass to Durango. We then made the call to detour to Mesa Verdes which is a national park where the Anastazi people made their homes in the caves. You can read about it here if you would like to.

On the way up the landscape was dominated by this butte.

I'm not sure if this is pronounced as in beaut, boot or butt but it looked great all the same. We began by browsing the museum. (here is the ancient version of Pearls on 2 Wheels.)

Kiwi checked out the cougar.

And had a brief encounter with a varmint of some kind. Seemed ok - didn't say much.

We then walked down to the Spruce Tree House. On the way there were some great views.

Kiwi spotted this wild horse in the scrub.

Views of the buildings as we got closer.

And into the pueblo.

Kiwi chatted up Megan. Chur!

We climbed down a step ladder to this round underground chamber which was probably used as a meeting and prayer place.

Surprise, surprise. The structure is called a kiva. (in Wellington schools a kiva is a circular or octagonal withdrawal room off an open plan classroom). (Ivan Hannah I think?) Too kewl. Dick took this photo of us looking intellligunt, inntulli .... Intalligan ..... Clever. Seem ok?

Then just a few more shots as we left.

We were at 2550 metres ASL and had to walk quite a steep slope back up to the museum with the temperature at around 34 degrees C. Kiwi did well. The rest of us panted a little.

We went back to Ebony and Mella and stopped off for a coke float before heading back down the mountain. We had planned to ride through to Mexican Hat but it was too hot, too far and we were pooped. So we found a motel in Cortez - $USD114 for the three of us including breakfast. And it had a pool! Who wants to camp in a tent when you can find a motel room for that price?

We went out for a beer and then to the Tequila Mexican Restaurant for dinner. I had a sort of octopussy chilli thing. It was ok.

And so to bed! Tomorrow we go to Four Corners where you can stand with your feet and hands in four states at once: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Briefly in Arizona and then north again to Utah.

Today's ride: 282kms (but felt like more!)
Cumulative: 15,120kms
Tipovers: 2

Location:Cortez, Colorado, USA


  1. Belive it or not, my grandfather was a ranger at Mesa Verde. Oh, and it's definitely pronounced beaut.

    1. Thanks for that Scotty. What a great place. People like your grandfather created a real legacy for those of us who follow.

  2. Sorry, have I missed something? A couple of weeks???