Yesterday, we left the charm and natural beauty of Bluff, Utah and made our way northeast across the Four Corners region. Passing through Navajo and Ute ("Yoot") tribal lands, we were saddened to see the mining, oil drilling and other industrialization taking place which we believe benefits the tribes very little. The actual Four Corners Monument is closed for construction, so tourists can't simultaneously put one limb in each of four states for the usual photo-op. Still, the novelty remains and we drove to the spot anyway just to say we'd been there.
By late afternoon, we arrived to Mesa Verde National Park and found our way to the campground, four miles up the mountain at a fairly high elevation. Since dogs are not allowed on any of the park's trails, we each took turns going on an ecstatic bike ride along the "Knife's Edge Trail", which truly hugs a cliff's edge and is the site of frequent rock slides. Just before sunset, I built a cairn in honor of a dear friend who is undergoing a health crisis, laying the rocks one on top of the other with prayers for her healing and recovery. Our Navajo guide at Monument Valley had told us how Native Americans use stone cairns as prayer offerings, so I decided to make one especially for our friend who is in our thoughts daily at this time.
Today we realized that the roads at Mesa Verde are under major construction, and after a bumpy ride to the remote Visitor's Center, we learned that it would be an even bumpier ride to the even more remote site of the famous Puebloan cliff dwellings that make Mesa Verde such a draw for the tourist crowds. With reports of hour-long traffic jams on the road to the cliff dwellings and a cold wind blowing in from the north, we turned tail and decided to head for Durango, leaving Mesa Verde for another day when the construction is complete and we have a smaller vehicle with which to navigate the long drive deep into the mountains. It was somewhat disappointing to leave without seeing the sites for which Mesa Verde is so famous, but the traffic, crowds and plethora of construction vehicles were enough to turn us away in the end.
Durango is a welcoming city with a vibrant center and many shops and cafes. We were luckily able to bring Tina right into a downtown indoor mall where we ate an inexpensive lunch and made use of the free WiFi. Campgrounds here are expensive, but being a captive audience, we found a spot not far from town and even got to watch the famous (and pricey) Durango-Silverton narrow-gauge train go by our campsite.
After 28 weeks and almost 7 months on the road, we are indeed feeling some weariness in our traveling bones. Today the electric cable for our rig seems to have given up the ghost and will need to be replaced. As I came to grips with the situation, I was particularly feeling the challenges of this stage of the journey, even as I reminded myself to feel grateful for such an adventure. Although out casita in Santa Fe will "only" be 600 square feet, that great expanse of living space will no doubt feel relatively luxurious compared to what's feeling like the cramped quarters of our rig.
I must admit to some grumpiness over the last few days (transition days can be especially hard), and a broken electric cable, a return to colder weather, and other troublesome issues can detract from the moment if they're allowed to do so ("if" being the operative word). Still, a rainbow graced the sky over the campground just a few minutes ago, reminding us that the gold we've been seeking is indeed still within reach (something that Mary continues to tell me ad nauseum, since I'm such a slow learner).
Tomorrow, we will probably end our brief sojourn into Colorado and head south into our new (temporary) home state of New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment. With the 1st of June quickly approaching, we realize that this mobile lifestyle is about to come to a close---at least for a while, anyway---and there is still no time like the present to seize the day and make the most of what we have.