North American Tour-Days 30 through 39

I am way behind with my blogging!!

On day 30, we stayed in a motel in Abilene-I can’t remember much about it, so it must not have been too bad!  Steve bought a new helmet, so @ least he can see out of the visor! The next day, we rode to Caprock Canyon State Park, still in Texas, where we camped for 2 nights.

Caprock Canyon State Park is located just outside the town of Quitaque, Texas, pronounced “kitty-quay” by the people who live here. There is one restaurant in Quitaque & one in the nearby town of  Turkey, about 15 miles away.  We ate in both & had decent meals in each, plus the people here are very hospitable. This precinct is dry (no liquor!) though- much as we wanted a beer, we had to do with unlimited refills of Diet Coke! The land around here is very flat & the wind is unbelievably strong! We talked with a fellow camper/motorcycle rider who had a ranch not far away-he said they could see 35 miles in all directions!!

This state park is noted for a herd of North American bison brought here in the early 1900’s. They have free range within the park & number about 90. One never knows where they’ll be within the park & we did see one each day. There are also mule deer who graze in a nearby field, unafraid of us.  It’s been so hot here, it was good to have a day without a long ride.

On Day 33, we finally left the state of Texas! It’s hard to realize just how big this state is until you drive across it!! On the way through NW Texas, we saw a large number of wind turbines. I don’t know why they don’t put them all over the state, with the constant wind that blows here. You’d think there’d be an enormous amount of power generated! I don’t know how that works, though, maybe it’s too expensive.

On this day, we camped @ Clayton Lake State Park. They have a section of land with dinosaur footprints, discovered with the building of a dam. We did have time to walk through there & it was pretty cool! This, too, is a dry county, & we made do with unlimited refills of Diet Coke again!! Still very hot!

We’ve been riding through alot of small towns in Texas & NM. Believe it or not, most do NOT have a McDonalds’, so we’ve been out of touch by both cell phone & internet. They all DO have a Dairy Queen, though, so we’ve indulged in cool refreshments of one kind or another! And someone usually asks us where we’re from & where we’re going. They’re always very interested in our trip & some have suggestions on what to see in the area. If only we had the time to go to all these places (yes, we do have alot of time, but not THAT much!!) I’m always touched by how nice people still are & how lucky we are to meet them & to see what a beautiful country this is.

On Day 34 we rode into Colorado. Lots of green pines, mountains (some still with snow!), & clear streams tumbling over rocks (one can picture Brother Fred fly-fishing here!). We stayed @ a really nice place called High Country Lodge in Pagosa Springs. (I consider it a plus if they have china mugs for your coffee, which they did!!) We met some motorcycle folks who, along with friend Joe in Lima, urged us to do the ride from Durango to Silverton, through the mountains. It’s called the “million-dollar drive”.

So, after a good night’s sleep & free breakfast, we set off on Day 35 for Durango. The ride to Silverton was as spectacular as advised!!! High mountains, winding road, cool breezes. Although the narrow-shoulder-no-guardrail-long-drop-down-the-mountain scenery was a bit(?!) nerve-wracking for me!! I couldn’t look that way even to take a picture!!! And the town of Silverton is charming! It was once a mining town & has all kinds of restaurants & shops. We ate lunch at a place called the Bent Elbow that was once a brothel or “sporting house”.

We then rode back to Durango & on to Mesa Verde State Park, NM. We’ve seen alot of “trikes” or 3-wheelers on this trip. They have the 2 wheels either in the back or front. Lately, we’ve seen alot of Can-Am-trikes with the 2 wheels in front. Turns out they were having a convention in Durango. Talking to the riders, they love their 3-wheelers & consider the 2 wheels in front safer than in back.

That night, we camped @ Mesa Verde State Park, CO. This is where the cliff dwellings are located. The park has very nice facilities-nice gift shop that sells souvenirs & food, including wine (!), a restaurant that serves a pancake breakfast every morning, showers, &  coin-operated laundry. We rode around the park some that afternoon & evening & noticed smoke over the mountain @ one side. Turns-out this was the start of another Colorado wildfire! This was named the Weber Fire & was increasing in size hourly. Luckily, it was about 10 miles from the park. The park did have a big fire several years ago & the people @ the park reassured everyone that they were prepared to notify us all in the event evacuation was required. Here, too, there were many mule deer wandering around the campsites, unafraid of us. That evening, one of the rangers gave an interesting presentation about the discovery of the dwellings & people involved.

On the morning of Day 36, we took a tour of one area of Mesa Verde, Cliff Palace. This was considered the easiest of the tours & still involved climbing several ladders & up & down a number of stairs-not easy @ this altitude & temperature!! What an interesting place! That afternoon, we left for Fairfield, Utah. This was the worst day of the entire trip so far!!! The temperature was 106 degrees with a hot wind blowing us all over the highway!! We had a stretch of 106 miles on I70, passing through the desert, without any areas for services, other than pullovers for scenery (!!-who cared @ this point!!!) Steve even had his cooling neck scarf blow off! Luckily, we had plenty of water with us! That night, we stayed @ a motel in Fairfield. Everything ached-back, butt, knees!!! A shower felt like heaven!

Day 37-to Ivins, Utah to the home of Steve’s cousin Ellen & her husband Arnie.

Weber wildfire, Colorado

cliff dwellings @ Mesa Verde, CO

the Bent Elbow restaurant, Silverton, CO

Dinosaur footprint @ Clayton State Park, NM

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