July 31, 2008 – Thursday – Day 12
0600 Wake up. Get dressed, start loading the car.
0630 Wake the kids up so they can get dressed and I can finish loading the car.
0650 Ready to go. Grandpa has disappeared so I drink some coffee.
0700 Grandpa is home with breakfast burritos.
0735 Time to go.
0738 Gas. $3.74/gallon.
0747 Stop at the Starbucks Drive Thru. I wasn’t going to stop at Starbucks this morning but we were driving right by. And they have a drive thru… Really I had no choice but to stop.
0930 Crossing the Continental Divide. Elevation 7380 feet
1026 Passing by a bunch of Navajo cornfields. They look strange – so green out here in the middle of dry dry desert.
1055 Farmington, NM Gas $3.90 This area is a lot more industrial than I would’ve imagined. I guess it makes sense since it’s the only large town for miles and miles and miles. To the west there is a plant of some sort spewing smoke. Which would account for all the smoggy haze we’ve been seeing out here. It’s worse than Albuquerque. We pass a sign that says 4 Corners Power Plant so I’m thinking that must be what it is. As much sun as they have out here they should be using solar power.
12:20 p.m. Leaving McD’s in Shiprock. Service was excruciatingly slow.
12:49 p.m. Arizona!
12:59 p.m. New Mexico! We are arriving at 4 corners.
1:32 p.m. Leaving 4 Corners. We have now been to Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado in just 30 minutes!
1:34 p.m. Colorado!
2:16 p.m. Cortez, CO – I have decided that Colorado is much nicer, much more scenic, than New Mexico. I love them both but Colorado wins.
2:56 p.m. Arrive at Mesa Verde Visitor Center. We can see a smoke plume off in the distance. Looks like a forest fire.
3:41 p.m. Arrive at the Museum and trail to Spruce Tree House.
4:57 p.m. Back to the car. The altitude made it a tough hike but the kids enjoyed seeing the cliff dwelling. Ryan was disappointed that he didn’t get to climb down into the hole but there were some school groups there and the line was ridiculously long.
5:33 p.m. Made it out of the back and back to the main road.
6:35 p.m Arrive at Hotel. It is along the Animas River and we have a river view room.
6:50 p.m. There is an Applebees attached to the hotel and the sign at the front desk said that kids eat free. I have yet to have a good experience at Applebees but I’d rather not have to drive somewhere else to eat so we’ll give it a shot. Unfortunately it was another bad experience. We had to wait 20 minutes for a table (which is reasonable in my experience) and we were able to watch some of the X Games while we waited. Then we waited almost 45 minutes for food (which is NOT reasonable at all). The waitress was missing for most of the time so getting follow up service and getting our bill took forever as well. I had spilled my water at one point and had to clean it up myself. I don’t mind cleaning it, but no one had at least offered to help. I told Lana that my kids are too well-behaved in restaurants because if they were being holy terrors I bet the staff would work a little harder to get us out much quicker! The tip I left… pretty tiny.
After dinner we walked along the river near the hotel then went swimming. The water was ice cold so we didn’t stay long. Then back to the room to shower and go to sleep.