Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 29: Walsenburg to Mesa Verde NP (#13) via Great Sand Dunes NP (#12)

Day 29: Walsenburg to Mesa Verde NP (#13) via Great Sand Dunes NP (#12)

If people don't want to come out to the ball park, nobody's gonna stop 'em.
Yogi Berra

Pics: In and around Walsenburg including a burnt out trailer, sunrise, TV free, the entrance to our night’s lodging and two treasures found in the Inn’s (or is it a B&B?) library/cafĂ©, GSD NP, terrific scenic vista of the Pagosa Springs area in the Rockies, two of Durango’s finest utility boxes, and a shot of the fire lookout station at the peak of Mesa Verde, with a 100 mile vista in several directions.

Book review: The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal that Brought Him Down, Andrew Young, audio book. We had to install a Purell dispenser in the car to keep washing off the sleaze emanating from this tell-all by an aide (for 10 years) to John Edwards. Young is the guy that “claimed” paternity for Edwards’s love child with his so-called videographer (her best effort: a video of John screwing her while she was many months pregnant…she held the camera, so her face is not on camera!). So sleazy that we couldn’t stop listening (around 12 hours worth). Confirms all the thoughts you ever had (at least all that THB had) about what it means to be a know-(or no-) nothing charismatic politician and the types of people that work for such a person. Normally there is a recommendation at the end of THB’s reviews. Here’s the best that can be said by THB: the narrator is terrific, so you keep listening. If you buy it to read yourself, you may put it down in the first 30 or 40 pages after getting your fill of Young’s self-serving whining, enough to last a lifetime. If you make it all the way through, then you have broken the world record for ingesting self-serving whining.

We spent the night at the La Plaza Inn in Walsenburg (aka, Southern Colorado’s elegant and affordable little hotel; or is it an Inn or a B&B, they claim title to all). Room with a king size bed and a little suite area, though the door between the two has left its hinges and moved on. We are up early, so walk around the town in the 40 degree cold (ahhhhhh, nice). We check out the train tracks, they run right through town (shades of E-ville) and the trains blow their whistles constantly as they progress in town. And, there are more than a few during the night.

Breakfast is included: cantaloupe and strudel, scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries, coffee and juice. Total $99. And, supposedly wifi which we cannot get to work, we suspected it was something with our HP Mini, which has been working efficiently the entire trip, then wifi worked again in Mesa Verde.

Leave around 8:45 and head to our next NP, Great Sand Dunes, and it takes us around 1 ¾ hours driving time. This is just a drive by, we are not hiking. The youngest ranger we’ve seen so far checks our annual pass; at GSD NP the entrance fee is $3/person. Every park is different, and this is the most different yet since all the others seem to figure fees by the type of vehicle (or free). We get our passport book stamped and stickered, take a long view (very long, these dunes are huge and about a mile away), and continue west.

As we start passing through the Rockies, we see a sign for Salida, 60 miles north, where we spent a night before heading to Rocky Mtn NP. So we are close to the route on the way to Denver. It has snowed while we were in Omaha and Des Moines, and the higher peaks are dusted or covered. And, as it turns out, today the temp never gets above 70….just our luck, this is a driving day, not a hiking day. As we get to a high pass, the aspens are turning bring yellow up and down the slopes, and then we also get some oranges. See the pics of the Pagosa Springs area, this is the prettiest yet (finally, true fall is happening), with the combo of the greens, yellows, water in the distance, and snow on the mountains. Ahhhhhh…….a 12 on a scale of 8.

Lunch at a bakery in Pagosa Springs, egg salad sandwich for THB and a turkey and swiss for DB, one limonata, $13. They must be doing well, at 1pm they are out of the bread of the day, ciabatta.

Continue to Durango, which is quite built up. Walk the main tourist street for 20 minutes or so, long enough to scout out several stainless steel utility boxes. Arrive at Mesa Verde around 4:30. Buy our tix for tomorrow’s tours, check in to the lodge in the park (best balcony view since Shenandoah NP), and get ready for dinner.

Salmon (not real tasty), poblana relleno on polenta (weird, just ok), salads, beer, wine, $80.


  1. i thought the sanddunes park was so cool and weird- since when did MD have a twin in the middle of the country?

  2. We just didn't have time to spend at this one doing much exploring. And, MD is a true midget to this guy. He's huge! We finding some interesting stamps in the passport book, you've been in some great parks...