Tilting at Windmills

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Animal Instinct, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    777
    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
    On page 1 I wrongly identified the pants as Airglide III.

    They are actually Olympia Recon 3 Mesh.

    Now, back to the regularly scheduled program....
    #21
  2. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
    You simply lose track of time on an Odyssey like this.
    All I knew was my tummy was a rumblin'. We came to an intersection that served as a fine picnic area for us. This is the intersection, and it just happened to be Cr A7, which leads to Maxwell, NM.

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    Egg and sausage roll ups, a little beef jerky, a handful of trail mix, cold water from the cooler, and great company.
    #22
  3. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
    "On the Road Again" ~ Willie Nelson


    The road dwindling to a thread on the horizon, the first good glimpse of the Rockies and the promise of cooler temperatures. See the white truck off to the right? We met another just like it and later laughed at the scowling older woman driving it that refused to wave to either one of us -- at least I hope she was scowling for her sake. Maybe somebody let her cows out an open gate?

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    Coming into Maxwell, going under I 25.

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    We gassed up and departed on SH 505 that took us northwest over to US 64 and heading toward Eagle Nest, NM where we would turn off on SH 38 which would loop us up through Red River, NM and around Taos Ski Valley. We're not touristy types, and the traffic and crowds in Red River were quickly put behind us without stopping. Somewhere along the way I had to stop and go back for this

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    #23
  4. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    777
    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
    There was a brief moment
    I thought the rain gear would become necessary.

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    At Questa, NM, SH 38 T's into SH 522. We headed south, making our way towards John Dunn Bridge.
    #24
  5. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    777
    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
    Looking back east at Wheeler Peak,
    New Mexico's high point stands tall in the distance.

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    We did a short backpacking trip and climbed it in the summer of 2011. When we finally made it back down, we learned firsthand not to leave things, even as innocuous as seasonings out in the open. The bears had ripped open our plastic camping boxes and left us feeling responsible and vulnerable. Once bitten twice shy.

    South on SH 522 to Arroyo Hondo, and just south of town, signs will lead you on a gravel road, Cr B007 -- Los Rios Rd.

    "Take Me to the River" ~Talking Heads

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    Folks floating down the Rio Grande.

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    The bridge ends abruptly, right leading down to the river, left up a series of switchbacks and out of the canyon. Strangely, my planned highlight of the day was a little disappointing compared to yesterday's chance finding of the Canadian River Wagon Bridge. But that's exactly the way it's supposed to be when your living the adventure, isn't it?

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    #25
  6. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Then out Montoso Road to US 64 north
    and eventually US 285 north into CO.

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    We stopped for gas in Antonito, CO and since it looked a little threatening off to the west, the direction we would soon be going, I put on my raincoat. As I walked around, the velcro in my pants was now undoubtedly gnawing into my flesh, I conceded the fact that I was going to have to come clean to LA tonight. Maybe let her take a looksie.

    A little further on US 285 and then west on SH 15 and into Rio Grande National Forest on FR 255 which begins where SH 15 turns north. There was a light drizzle that seemed to want to thicken so I stopped and (painfully) put on my rain pants. Now I was starting to get mad about my new britches, and was considering not wearing them tomorrow. FR 255 crosses through some private land before merging with FR 250 at a startlingly low Terrace Reservoir and Alamosa CG is a mile or two on past the reservoir on the south side of the road.

    The rain gear had my camera trapped inside so I failed to photo document the approach to Alamosa CG which is a no fee campground with a vault toilet being the only amenity.

    It never rained, and as the shadows grew long the precipitation ceased altogether. We set the green tent up and I got a fire going with wet wood and a little help from a splash or two of Coleman fuel. We dined on Jalapeno Cheddar dogs rolled in, you guessed it, tortillas. Our tent was maybe 20 feet from the Alamosa River, and it sang us a lullaby.

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    Comfortably tucked into our queen size bed, when most folk would be sharing pillow talk, I raised the subject of the velcro torture device. LA got her mini maglight out, turned the pantleg inside-out and did a quick troubleshoot. "You've got to make sure the two strips match up precisely, like this." I had my doubts, but was eager to give them a try in the morning.
    #26
  7. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    777
    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
    Day 3, August 12, 2013 -- Alamosa CG, CO to Mancos State Park, CO
    237 miles, ~7 hours 40 minutes

    The plan: LA would backtrack and head north to Alamosa, CO and then west on US 160 and check out camping at Mesa Verde National Park, Mancos State Park, and possibly Transfer CG in the San Juan National Forest -- (near the Aspen Loop trail for those desiring singletrack) and send me a text. Red and I would hit the backroads.

    We awoke to pleasant sunshine, although it was a bit chilly. Nice having a place like this all to yourselves.

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    LA wakes up rearing to go. Every morning.

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    It takes me a couple or three cups of coffee to become human.

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    I only added a fourth of a quart of oil this morning. That leaves me with just over a quart for two weeks. Might need to look into acquiring some more. Red's packed and ready to go. That's our trash on top of the backpack, you have to pack it out from here. When I camp, I always pick up a few pieces of trash from the ground that others have left behind -- cigarette butts, bottle tops, junk like that. You never have to look hard.

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    #27
  8. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    If you head west and stay on FR 250,
    it will take you on a fine looping ride west along the Alamosa River and then south along the Conejos River and spit you out nearly due south of here on SH 17.

    See bambi to the left?

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    Bringing up the rear. There were five or six.

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    Kind of blurry. They caught me off guard. My dad has a friend that got knocked off his Goldwing a couple summers ago by one of those.

    Love getting into the aspen, but where'd the sun get off to?

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    This caught my eye and I had to turn back and capture it. Whispers peace, doesn't it?

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    Oh goodie, a bridge.

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    This could only be more beautiful with a splash of sunshine or if LA were here with me. She seems to have solved the velcro problem. "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone" ~ Bill Withers

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    #28
  9. Vikingtazz

    Vikingtazz Will ride for food.

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    575
    Location:
    Prescott Ontario, Canada
    I'm enjoying the RR and terrific photos - thanks for sharing!
    Tomorrow is the beginning of February and we hit a few degrees above zero today...there's light at the end of the tunnel.

    :clap
    #29
  10. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Thanks, Vikingtazz
    Here in Wichita Falls, TX we saw mid sixties yesterday and today. There's another cold snap on the way and we may get some snow on Sunday. Any moisture is welcome as we are in Stage IV Drought Disaster right now. No outside watering, washing of cars, etc. is allowed. Last weekend we had 70's and Red and I took advantage.:D
    #30
  11. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Eventually found myself here.
    It was dark enough the flash came on. Still packing it out.

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    Coming down.

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    The water in the Conejos River was much more clear than the Alamosa.

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    Just after I stopped to put my raingear on, this guy sauntered across the road. He didn't look too healthy.

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    I gained SH 17 and proceeded west and as I climbed La Manga Pass it started feeling a lot like lunch time so I pulled over at the summit. An oriental lady was doing a large painting up there and I wondered what she might do if the rain followed me. I got off Red, stretched, and walked around back to open my old backpack and immediately stepped in a big, fresh pile of cow dung with my brand new booties -- first time to wear em'. That was insulting, but I followed up with this maneuver.

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    Shit! One cow patty manages to soil a bootie and a glove in the span of 3 seconds. And I was concerned for the painter lady.....Didn't spoil my appetite though. Several months ago a client gave us a $50.00 gift certificate to a BBQ place in town. We never eat out, but in this instance, LA went and got $50.00 worth of chopped chicken, turkey, beef and sausage the day before we left and we just threw it in the bottom of a cooler. Earlier, I had rolled me a chicken and cheese and a beef and cheese roll up, and once I quit laughing about the cow pie ordeal, I consumed them right there atop La Manga Pass.
    #31
  12. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    As I continued west on SH 17,
    approaching and then coming down Cumbres Pass, a thunderstorm decided to join me, dropping lightning bolts and protests of thunder. My original plan was to drop down to Chama, NM and then head northwest over the Continental Divide on Old Chama Road into Chromo, CO. The black skies in that direction, combined with the cow pie reading, encouraged me to proceed just a little further on SH 17 and pick up US 84 to Pagosa Springs, CO., stopping only long enough to get gas.

    An hour or so later, I was warm, dry, and congratulating myself on a wise decision. I stopped here and took my rain gear off, noting the dousing I had taken failed to wash my new booties clean. Regardless, I tossed it in the little rain gear sack I carry. The velcro on my new britches a thing of the past following LA's quick troubleshoot. Now, I like them again.

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    I took a chance and exited SH 84 on County Road 119 heading west and it just skirted the southernmost extent of Pagosa Springs and joined Cr 500 which turned out to be one of the best stretches of the trip. Why couldn't LA be following me today?

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    This well maintained road is wide and has just enough loose gravel scattered along here and there to keep you honest. Just about any motorcycle could navigate it.

    The road meanders along the San Juan River as it makes its way to Navajo Reservoir.

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    Goes through a ghost town, Pagosa Junction.

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    With a beautiful church, and lookie here, a bridge.

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    Inspirational

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    #32
  13. WYO George

    WYO George Long timer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    left of nowhere, WY
    Loving the ride report so far, thanks for sharing!!:1drink
    #33
  14. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

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    Wichita Falls, TX
    Thanks for looking in gstanfield. Hope you're having as much fun as I am. I'd rather be riding though.
    #34
  15. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    You can turn north here on Cr 700
    and go back up to US 160 where LA is driving in all the touristy traffic, or continue along Cr 500.

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    #35
  16. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    777
    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
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    I bet it's beautiful when there's water in it.

    This cloud looked suspiciously like an infant discovering his wee wee. "Spirit in the Sky" ~ Norman Greenbaum

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    Maybe I'd been on the road a little too long?

    I eventually came out on SH 151 and headed northwest to Ignacio, CO where I T'd into SH 172 heading north to Durango. I got a light shower, unworthy of the (dookie smelling) rain gear.

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    I gassed in Durango and quickly departed, heading west on US 160. I stopped for a snack and a brief history lesson that did include the Santa Fe Trail.

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    LA sent a text while I was stopped -- see how we tend to be in synch -- "Mancos State Park #30". So now I had a destination.

    On the approach I was treated to a snapshot of Mesa Verde with Sleeping Ute Mountain in the background.

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    We'll visit Mesa Verde National Park (in the Xterra) tomorrow and circle Sleeping Ute the following day so stay tuned.

    Exiting US 160 onto SH 184 north in Mancos, CO and then a quick right onto Cr 42 before getting out of town puts you on your way to an easy to find Mancos State Park maybe 5 miles down the road.

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    This beautiful roan kept an eye on me as I signed in.

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    Another horse bit the tip of my right middle finger off 20 years or so ago. Shortly afterwards I quit working on large animals and became a dog and cat only Doc.

    Lake's a little low, wouldn't you say?

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    Over our 3 night stay we got to know Roy, the camp host, who explained it was low to begin with but in June they divert most of the incoming river water for irrigation.

    You can see Mesa Verde in the distance from the dam if you look closely.

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    That ride along the San Juan River was spectacular. It feels good to bring out the orange tent and to be settled for a 3 night stint, a short walk from a very clean outhouse. For the first time in our camping careers we bought a bundle of firewood for $5.00. The price here is a little steep. ($7.00 X 2 vehicles/day + $16.00/night to camp = $30.00 a day for a total of $90.00 + 3 bundles of firewood @ $5.00 for a grand total of $105.00) Note: there is no water in the back camping area, you must get it down near the entrance and haul it.

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    I apologize for this bbllluuury photo, fried tomato basil polenta and chunky spaghetti sauce -- but it's a player in tomorrow's activities. It was also the last meal to be cooked on our 25 year old Coleman stove.

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    No windmill sightings today. Perhaps I've slayed all my demons.
    #36
  17. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 4, August 13, 2013 -- Mesa Verde National Park -- Wetherill Mesa

    Red gets a well deserved day off and we visit Mesa Verde National Park for a day of relaxation.

    Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, LA flits around as I sit slouched, drinking coffee, trying to shake the cobwebs.

    I take a short recon stroll. Where's the water?

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    Ah, there it is.

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    High Plains Drifter

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    Breakfast of champions.

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    And we're off. Being back in a car felt confining and nearly angering. LA had purchased an entrance permit to Mesa Verde for $15.00 (good for 7 days) yesterday on her campsite scouting mission.

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    And then THIS!

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    We almost turned around and went back to camp, but we have unfinished business here -- Wetherill Mesa and a little picnic and hike, so we stayed the course. We had been here several years ago and did Chapin Mesa and everything associated with it, leaving the less popular western half of the Park on our "to do" list. The Long House tour required a ticket. We bought 2 for the last tour of the day for $3.00 apiece. Standing in that crowd for nearly an hour was kind of like shock therapy after 3 days of solitude.

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    #37
  18. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    777
    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
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    No crowds here, folks. Paint a mental picture of the distance from the only vehicle in the parking lot (ours) and the handicap parking area off to the left, it comes into play in a few hours.

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    It's pretty steep, note Sleeping Ute Mountain in the distant left.

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    A better shot of Sleeping Ute.

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    Two miles later, a fine picnic at Lookout Point, looking east, back towards Mancos, CO. Red's out there somewhere. "Half a World Away" ~ R.E.M.

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    And westward. That winding road sure would have been fun on Red, but we intended to spend the whole day here and didn't want to ride back in the dark among other reasons for bringing the Xterra.

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    This is how LA looks when I'm rolling around on the ground laughing my ass off after crackin' a world class fart. It's called the Hissing Kitty Stare.

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    Luckily we had finished eating. That picture was the last my camera would hold so nothing to show on the trip back to the Xterra. It was still the only car in the lot.

    Sorry, but bear with me for a little narrative here. About halfway down from the Mesa my bowels gave one of those awkward little indications we all dread. It faded away, though, as we hiked along. Back at the Xterra, we plugged the laptop in and started transferring the pics off my camera. The second gastrointestinal repayment for the fart was audible and URGENT! Remember the aerial view of the parking lot? There was what looked like some restrooms just beyond the handicap parking area and I did the "pinched cheek shuffle" over in that direction, praying fervently that either men's or women's was unlocked. This was not going to be pretty. The anticipation as I reached for the door handle was great indeed, as were the feelings of gratitude as the door swung open.......

    That was close. Real close. No more polenta for this traveler. I regretted my earlier vulgar-but-funny toot. Paybacks are hell and LA definitely got the last and loudest laugh.

    The other reason for bringing the Xterra was so we could carry our toiletries and pirate the showers at Moorefield Campground. The showers there appeared to be coin operated and we both took a bunch of quarters and tried to deposit them unsuccessfully. We were yelling back and forth between stalls, trying to figure out how to make the thing take our quarters. Maybe you had to buy tokens or something? Some of my quarters stayed in the box so I tried the water and on it came. LA stepped out and found someone cleaning down the way who told her the showers were free to campers....Hey, we're campers aren't we, just remote. So I inadvertently left a donation of the quarters that stayed in the box. By the way, the shower felt wonderful.
    #38
  19. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I read on someone elses ride report
    that Shiprock was visible from Far View Lodge and I had my eyes peeled. I shrieked like a schoolgirl when I spotted it, scaring LA badly enough to jump and make the car swerve and earn a second Hissing Kitty Stare for the day. We'll go have a closer look at that magnificent and sacred rock formation in the next few days. It's there in the haze, right in the middle.

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    Step House is a self guided tour. We took off in earnest.

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    Here are the remains of some steps

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    but that's not why it's called Step House. The remains here demonstrate a transition from dwellings built entirely below ground to half under and half above ground. I unwittingly caught a place where ancient tools were once sharpened in the foreground here.

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    Graffiti from yesteryear seems more aesthetic but likely carries similar messages.

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    We climbed around and all over. It was nice and cool in the shade.

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    LA went back and snagged a pamphlet. We later discovered you are expected to pay for them. Oops. Hey, I left some quarters back at the showers, didn't I?

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    #39
  20. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    777
    Location:
    Wichita Falls, TX
    We made our way back to the tram stop
    for our Long House tour. We stayed right on the heels of our tour guide, avoiding most of the crowd.

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    These ruins are actually bigger than the more popular Cliff Palace.

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    I'd love to be here alone and let my imagination run wild. The rancor of the crowd sort of takes away from the experience.

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    A nice look down into a kiva with all structures intact or nicely restored.

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    Hard to imagine this place crawling with families (not tourists). And then they just vanished kind of abruptly and no one really knows exactly why. I hope that's what they say about me someday. "Mr. Breeze" ~ Lynard Skynard

    I love this stuff.

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    We could have stayed much longer, but the tour guide said it was time to go. It takes a long time to drive out of the park from Wetherill Mesa. We were tired and maybe a little dehydrated and I was driving, maybe a little too fast, thinking how good it would be to just come over here on Red and ride the roads out when LA started nit-picking my driving. :baldy

    It pissed me off and I pulled the old, "you wanna drive then?" The opportunity was hanging there, palpable, just above the console, for one of those spats where you say stupid stuff, raise voices, start swearing and talking about in-laws -- but it passed. And I slowed down. Way down. Then she suggested I speed up and gave me the third Hissing Kitty Stare for the day.:kboom

    We finally found a happy medium and made it back to camp and the cooler with the good stuff in it. Our Coleman stove died that night, we were anticipating this and had a brand new one to take its place. So long, old friend.

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    I should have taken the Garmin.
    #40