Day Thirteen: Mesa Verde National Park and Moab, Utah

Yesterday was a long day. The terrain and views driving through Colorado were so different, than what we have been seeing for days. It was gorgeous! I even took a short video of this one part of our drive both for the scenery and the perspective from the front seat for you to enjoy. We reached an elevation of 10860 feet!!!! We drove three and a half hours to Mesa Verde National Park with a short stop over in Durango, so Will could use his computer while he took a call. The rest of the crew used this time to make lunch and take a bathroom break.

Our drive through the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado
Stunning views
More views
More views
Tunnels
Here we go!
Join us for a drive? Enjoy Betsie’s comments and yes, that is things falling over in the RV as we turn! And yes mom, AC was buckled!

We arrived to the park around 2:10 pm and it took us 22 minutes to drive to the first outlook area. The route into the park is a steep, narrow, and winding mountain road. And oh was it! The views were breathtaking both on the drive up and when we would pull over to an overlook area. Realizing there were many pull off areas and the main site we wanted to see was over 21 miles into the park, we decided to pick and choose which areas to stop and which ones we were okay with passing by. Once we hit the 21 mile mark, we took a 6 mile drive on the Mesa Top Loop, which is as far as you could go. We all really wanted to see the cliff dwellings which was within the Mesa Top Loop drive and was literally the last pull off area called Cliff Palace View. By the time we reached this point, between the driving and pulling off for pictures it had been two hours.

The words about Mesa Verde are from their pamphlet: The first Ancestral Pueblo people settled in Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, about AD 500. Archeologists call this early period “Basketmaker” to reflect the finely crafted baskets made then. They lived in Pit houses dig into the ground. Most of the cliff dwellings were built from the late 1190’s to late 1270’s. They range from one-room houses to community centers of about 150 rooms: Cliff Palace and Long House. When the cliff dwellers left Mesa Verde they joined thousands of other Ancestral Pueblo people who were moving south into today’s New Mexico and Arizona.

Mesa Verde National Park
The views going up
Continuing to go up. Look at the road!
More tunnels
Our first pull off area, Montezuma Valley Overlook
It was windy!
Second pull off , Park Point Overlook
Another view from Park Point
Will and Emilie at the Far View Overlook
Driving to the Mesa Top Loop. A fire went through here in 2000 causing damage to over 22,000 acres of land.
A Pit house
Sun Point View. Can you see some
cliff dwelling?
Anna Cate walking through steps and getting her exercise
27 miles later, we made it! The main cliff dwellings, Cliff Palace View!
Cliff Palace View
All of us

The views as I said were amazing and seeing the cliff dwellings was neat to see; however, we all agreed the 27 mile drive (one way) and almost three hours in the park was not worth it. Overall we would rate this park a four on a scale of one to ten. Now, had we not had another two hour drive to Moab maybe our overall impression would be different, as once we exited the park we had already had a six and a half hour day!

The drive to Moab was pretty much down one road and the views ranged from countryside to mountains. We also took another mini break for Will to take a call in which he needed his computer again (I offered to drive, but he didn’t want to be on a call my first time driving….and for the record, this was my second time asking….I don’t think he trusts me, lol!). Dinner tonight was going to be very easy once we arrived to the campsite, but I was able to prep one little portion while we took this mini break.

Countryside
Countryside
And the views start to change
Never saw a sign for what this was
Or this, which we called the dinosaur
More views
They kept getting better and better
Views
Views
More views
And we arrived to our RV Resort in Moab!

As soon as we drove into the town of Moab, Utah we all feel in love! The town is absolutely adorable and we can not wait to explore tomorrow. We are staying here for two nights, which is a nice break to be in one place a bit longer in the RV. Due to our lengthy visit in Mesa Verde (which we were not anticipating it would take almost three hours!) we missed our window to pick up the rental car on our way into Moab. I called to let them know we would have to pick it up in the morning to find out they didn’t even have our reservation! This was a little upsetting as Moab is Jeep country and Will had surprised the kids with a Jeep rental. At this point we will simply be happy with an SUV!

The view down our “street”
Our front view
Our back view

By the time we arrived to the Moab Valley RV Resort it was 8:05 pm making yesterday an eleven hour day! My kids love meatballs so last night we had sweet and sour meatballs over jasmine rice. We were sitting down to eat and all hooked up within 15 minutes of arriving. As time goes on, we are getting faster and faster! The weather here is a bit warmer than Alamosa where the high was 82 and the low was 43. In Moab when we arrived it was 92 (at 8:00 pm) and the low was 67.

I can not end this post, without giving everyone a laugh or two. When we woke up this morning our RV was filled, and I mean filled with moths. They were everywhere and Will was catching them left and right releasing them back outside. We all agreed, if we had to guess we probably had over 50, if not more. Upon departure from Alamosa we thought we had gotten rid of them all. About 15 minutes into our drive, the kids yelled “they are back” and around ten were flying around in the window above the sofa. I climbed back into the RV to start smashing some moths. As I was squishing them in paper towels and throwing them into the trash, to get another one, they would come back to life and fly out! It was a comical, never-ending battle. We told Betsie and Eli (though Eli was the one to take us up on the offer as Betsie would rather videotape and laugh at all of us) we would pay them per moth death. I could not believe the amount of moths that apparently took the ride from Alamosa, Colorado to Moab, Utah with us.

Go ahead and laugh at me!

Around 7:00 pm last night, with 60 miles left in our drive, I decided to search Google to see if there was a moth issue in Alamosa we didn’t know about. As I started to type in my search, this popped up for me, Why are there so many moths in Colorado in 2020? Bingo! So it wasn’t just us. Here is the answer: The report done by Cranshaw and Peairs says the moths are migrating from the eastern plains of Colorado to the west in search of higher elevations like the mountains where they can spend the summer fattening up before migrating back east in September. Miller moth season in Colorado typically begins in mid-May and lasts about six weeks. Lucky us, I think we hit right at the six week mark!

Remember, I mentioned above, we arrived at 8:05 pm after having an eleven hour day. After dinner and before showers, I think we all hit our overly tired, silly wall and while I was cleaning up the dishes with Anna Cate listening to Maren Morris in the front of the RV, the back of the RV was rocking with Will, Betsie and Eli attacking these moths. I am literally crying from laughing so hard remembering this from last night! And you can thank our resident photographer and videographer for the footage so you can laugh along with us! Mind you, this was taking place during the RV resort’s “quiet hours”! Will thinks he released or ended the life of around another 50! As I type I spy another one in the kitchen! Forever when I think of Alamosa, I will only remember the Miller moths!

Moth #173637
And you can laugh at Will!

After the moth excitement, we sang Happy Birthday to Pawley and gave him his card from Mimi and Poppy and his birthday present, an antler from Santa Fe.

It is really nice to have a calm, relaxing morning after both a long day and late evening. I think from now on, we will call the morning hours of 5:00-8:00 am “office hours” for both Will and I, as he works and I blog. Clearly one is more important than the other!

Today is going to be a fun day of exploring and I can not wait to see Moab!!!! The sun is rising and the views of the mountains around us are stunning!!!

Morning sunrise outback
Morning sunrise out front

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