Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Days 9 and 10: Cortez CO to Green River WY
On Monday, we left Cortez, CO and drove to Moab UT for the night. Before leaving Cortez, we drove back to Mesa Verde National Park to do a guided tour to Long House. Long House involved a steep walk down to the ruins and then climbing up two ladders to see the actual ruins. It was quite a good tour. We saw how they lived, where they came from, but don't know where they went. What was amazing to me was trying to understand how they got up to the actual places they built their stone houses. Those indians were tough! We spent almost two hours on the tour, and then left the park. The actual road in and out of the park is quite a ride. Very curvy and lots of relief up and down made it very interesting. It's almost 20 miles to the area where you catch the tram to the ruins and it takes about an hour to drive it!
We stopped at a local mom and pops place in Cortez for lunch and had an excellent lunch. Very tasty and the people who ran it were extremely nice and accommodating.
Leaving Cortez, we basically then drove to Moab UT. The ride was so-so; some boring, some interesting. When we got into Utah, the colors of rock brightened up, with fairly vibrant reds becoming more predominate. Since we had a room, we drove through Moab and into Arches National Park.
Leaving Arches, we drove to the hotel, checked in, and then went back to the busy area of town for dinner. I had an excellent BLT and Bar had good fish and chips. That ended a long, but good day.
Then we left Canyonlands and headed north, then east then north towards Green River, WY. For the most part, it was a day of driving through changing landscapes. Bar called the day her best day of riding, with the most interesting scenery so far. We went by Dinosaur National Landmark (but didn't stop) and then by Flaming Gorges National Recreational Area. That part of the drive was really great, with the road winding up and down and around mountains, through forest and desert. We saw snow on mountains and a low of 60 degrees in the highest altitude of almost 8,900 feet.
We got into Green River, WY and found a local motel. Had a very good dinner at a diner on the property and am now calling it a night. It was a very pretty day.
Animals we've seen: Coyotes, White Tailed Deer, Mule Deer, Lizards, Turtles, Turkey, Ground Squirrels, and quite a few dead skunks! No Elk, Bear, Wolves, or other exotic animals yet. However, we hope this changes in Yellowstone.
Tomorrow's plan is to leave Green River and head north through Grand Tetons National Park and into Yellowstone, where we'll be staying the next 3 nights. I have some concern over the weather conditions we'll encounter. They have had snow within the last 3 days, the north entrance road is closed due to rock falls, the eastern entrance road is closed due to snow, and the central road through the park is closed due to snow or flooding. So, it will not be the same as what I have encountered on two previous visits.
I'm not at all sure I'll have Internet service in Yellowstone, so I may not be able to blog again for the next 4 days. In any case, come back to see!