Once again we were off on to the next leg. Through Arizona to Cheyenne Wyoming, via southern Colorado. We left Big Bro, sis-in-law, nephew3 and 4 and the animal brood behind, waving from their front yard. Sad to leave them behind, but we'll be seeing nephew3 soon on his way back home from his first epic roadtrip of his own, and because nephew2 left his computer charger and other things behind (suspicious). We weaved back onto the 202 to 101 to 17 north out of the Phoenix mega-lopolis. North to Flagstaff and then veered east on Interstate 40 only to get to 89 and finally to 160. Through Hopi, Navajo, and Ute reservations. Needed a pee break and gas, so we pulled over at a gas station. Sis felt bad for the stray rez dog and gave him some of floofy puppies food and dad bought his cookie stash, he was having withdrawals.
We then stopped at the four corners. It has changed a lot since dad and sis (she was only 1 at the time, so for some reason, she doesn't remember) were here last. It is now very commercialized and overpriced for just a picture opportunity. We walked around all four states, took some photos, emptied our bladders, and left saying, "eh".
What we did learn there however, is that a "comfort station" is still just a restroom with a toilet. The seat isn't anymore "comfortable" than any other on the trip.
We crossed into Colorado and pulled into our KOA campground in Cortez Colorado for the night. There was a small lake and a nature walk at our campground and we decided we needed the exercise. So we all struck off down the trail.
Sis and dad, with floofy puppy turned back, and nephew2 and I continued around the loop.
We came back into camp and sis asked if we had the keys to the RV. "Uh, no. You had them in your pocket". Oh dear. We were locked out. Off we went back down the trail, back and forth, surveying the ground, bushes, and grasses, getting eaten by mosquitoes. We were losing hope. Sis told a KOA dude in his golf cart that she lost the keys and was going to call AAA. Dude in golf cart radioed other dude in golf cart... and wham, bam, other dude in golf cart rolled up and presented sis with her keys! It was a Christmas miracle in June! Everyone rejoiced and sang kumbaya around the campfire and then fireworks went off and... naw. We made dinner, watched Ratatouille, and went to bed.
We survived our first night in Tallulah Mae together and we were off to Mesa Verde National Park. Wow, what a place!
Again, it has changed a whole lot since dad and sis were there. Again, sis didn't remember being there. Her memory sure is spotty. We first stopped at the visitor center.
Then drove in the 21 miles to the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum. I got my geek on.
Nephew2 and I then went on the Petroglyph Point Trail. So, so cool.
I kept looking in all the cliff overhangs for rock art and started to doubt my archie skills when I didn't see anything.
Nephew2 reminded me of the name of the trail, Petroglyph Point. Oh.
We made it to the "point". Super cool.
A bit farther down the trail a Ranger came by. He was new to the park and was familiarizing himself with the trails. We were taking a picture opportunity break, but really a "I can't breathe" break. We were over 7000 feet. That's high for our sea level lungs.
On our way back we stopped and tried yucca flowers. Tastes like bitter lettuce and dirt. Has quite the aftertaste too. We don't recommend them, unless you're starving. After our hike we all got back together and drove the Mesa Top Loop and stopped at pit houses and the Sun Temple.
We all agreed, it was a pretty awesome day. We had some driving to do though.
We got back on highway 160 east and headed up the Rockies. We stopped at Wolf Creek Pass which is the continental divide at 10,856 feet. It was cold and there was still snow on the ground.
We took floofy puppy out to see snow for the first time. He didn't mind it, but didn't really care either. He was more interested in the mud at the edge of the snow.
We were cold in our flip flops and t-shirts, so back into Tallulah Mae to warm up. We rolled into our second KOA in Alamosa, Colorado pretty late. We hooked up, ate, and went to bed. No nature walk this time.
The next morning, floofy puppy saw his first bunny. He got so excited he tried to hop after it. We got back on 160 and took 150 north to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
So weird to see these huge sand dunes in this large valley up against mountains. We drove in, then drove back out because no one told us that if you want to surf the dunes, the place to rent the boards is outside the park. We got nephew2 a board, and then back into the park. We didn't realize we had to cross a creek.
Floofy puppy liked to drink from the creek but was unsure about playing in it. But he sure did love playing in all that sand!
It was a long trek through the sand up to the dunes.
There are no trails and you are allowed to climb the dunes and surf, sled, and roll down them all you want.
The sand was hot, and sis, floofy puppy, and I stayed near the bottom and nephew2 started off up the dunes. He climbed, and climbed, sat down to rest, climbed some more, rested some more, and kept on climbing. He went all the way to the top. It became pointless to take his picture, since he was only a tiny blue speck.
As he sand surfed, and climbed back up, we down below watched in the heat and wind. Floofy puppy would dig in the sand to where it was cool and lied down in our shadows. He didn't care for the wind. Neither did we. Nephew2 had a great time sand surfing. He surfed down to us and drank a bottle of water. He was exhausted and exuberant. Sis carried floofy puppy back across the hot sand, exhausted nephew2 dragged his board. We crossed the creek triumphant. We came, we saw, we conquered.
Back down 150 and east some more on 160, and then north on I-25. Through Pueblo and Colorado Springs. Hello Denver. Goodbye Denver.
Nephew2 got comfy and watched movies as we crossed the Wyoming border.
And finally, home sweet Cheyenne.
Until next time where my blind 95 year old grandmother whoops us all at cards, floofy puppy gets overrun by bunnies, and I realize that my little cousins aren't so little anymore.
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