August 1, 2008 – Friday – Day 13
Once again the 13th day of our trip falls on a Friday. Friday the 13th in a way. Weird, eh?
0610 Wake up. Get to have a little online chat with Ron while Lana is getting dressed. Then it is time for the kids and I to get dressed.
0733 Leave the room with all our gear, ready to check out of the hotel. The Colorado morning air is cool, crisp, and refreshing. Ahhhh….
0834 Leaving McD’s after another fine golden arches meal. The kids got to play at the playplace and we even saw the Durango Scenic train pulling out of the station.
0925 Stop for gas in Pagosa Springs, CO. $3.95/gallon.
1020 Impromptu stop alongside the river that we are following as we cross the mountain pass. We walk over and admire the river then take a few pictures before heading back to the car to continue our journey.
1131 Stop at Wendy’s for lunch in Alamosa. After lunch Lana heads across the parking lot to Walmart to buy more film while I start getting the kids shoed and sunscreened (changing from our flip flops to more suitable hiking shoes with socks as well). There is a horse trailer parked next to us with 3 horses. While we are waiting, three young cowgirls come out and hop into the truck. I took a picture but I was trying to do it without them noticing so it’s not perfect. Hopefully Ron will like it though – I took it just for him! I also made sure Bella and Felisa noticed that they were cowGIRLS getting into the truck with the cool horses.
1:29 p.m. Leaving the visitor’s center at Great Sand Dunes. Time to find a trail for a hike.
We stopped at the bathroom in the campground near the trailhead. On the door was posted a sign about bears in the area. Lana said it made Bella nervous. Our hike was short – the kids wimped out. They were complaining of being too hot. While it was definitely hot and sunny, I didn’t think it was unbearable. I think the problem though was that we weren’t walking towards the dunes but rather were just skirting them on kind of an overlook trail. So we went back to the car and drove over to the dunes parking lot. There was a small stream of water at the edge that we had to cross and there were lots of people playing in the sand and the water – kind of like at the beach. We made it across without getting our shoes too wet then we started the long hot walk across and up the dune. Bella and Felisa were still whining but Ryan was determined to make it at least up to the top of the first small hill. I took pictures to prove we were there then we went back to the car. Amazingly Bella was suddenly full of energy and ran almost the entire way back to the water’s edge.
I decided that the water at the sand dunes falls into the category of “just weird water”. I felt the same way after visiting the Great Salt Lake oh so many years ago.
2:58 p.m. Leaving the sand dunes and headed for Colorado Springs. But first, time for our favorite parts survey:
Felisa: Going up the first hill
Bella: Walking through the water
Ryan: emptying his shoes of all that sand when we got back to the car
Lana: the view
Sheila: Being on the dunes and seeing (what I believe to be) Pikes Peak
On our way out, I stop at the trash cans so Lana can empty our trash bag. It takes few minutes because the park has installed bear-proof cans. And the how-to-use-bear-proof-trash-can labels have been torn off. I told her that you just have to be smarter than the bear!
3:30 p.m. Blanca, CO has a dead tree sculpture that is playing the fiddle! Now that’s a cool dead tree!
*side note here—for some reason I am fascinated with dead trees and taking pictures of dead trees. So now it’s become a joke about all the pictures of dead trees I’ll have in my scrapbook. But really, they are quite pretty in their own way.
4:27 p.m. We have made it back to the interstate. No more winding 2-lane mountain highways.
5:56 p.m. Arrive at Dad’s house.
The kids played and we all had BBQ for dinner. After dinner we sat out on the patio and enjoyed the view and some nice, cool, refreshing Colorado air while the kids ran around burning off their all-day-in-the-car wiggles until bedtime.
License plate game update: Hawaii! And Minnesota and Idaho!