The weather was warm when we had left Moab, Utah, but it got much cooler as we entered into Colorado. It was a drastic change leaving the dry, sandy bedrock for dense fields and valleys that looked painted with autumn colors. The mountains were gorgeous with beautiful red peaks and there were areas where the soil was such a deep yellow that small rivers looked like they were flowing with liquid gold. As we rode through many switchbacks and gawked at USA s little Switzerland, I was afraid that Rocky was paying more attention to the scenery than the road because the view was truly captivating.
Darkness approached quickly as the sun set behind the tall mountains but we continued to ride so that we could escape the bitter cold of the high altitude. Once we reached Durango, Colorado, we stopped at McDonald’s to warm ourselves with a hot cup of coffee and to use their notoriously shitty free Internet to search for a public park. We rode up to what seemed to be a perfect spot to set up our tent and I immediately recognized the soft plush grass to be a sign of an irrigation system. I spent a few minutes crawled on all fours feeling for sprinklers but I wasn’t able to find any. Tired and anxious to relax , we unpacked and just as we finally got comfy the damn sprinklers turned on. I panicked at first because we were being sprayed from every direction but luckily none were spraying in our tent. Just as we had mentioned our luck, the cops arrived. It was awkward timing and I wanted to pretend I couldn’t hear him over the sound of splashing but his lights were blinding me. I needed perfect timing as I ran out of the tent to avoid getting soaked and I hoped that that was enough reason for him to allow us to stay. He asked what we were doing and he told me we would have to leave, especially since the motorcycle was prohibited from being in the park. Exhausted and irritated I had no other choice than to batt my eyelashes as I told him about our trip and explained that it was too cold, wet and dark to continue riding. My lady skills worked and he kindly gave us permission to stay for the night.
Early the next morning it was interesting to wake up to an old fashioned coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive filled with passengers as it choo-choo’d by. The park was busy with people starring at us as they jogged past and I was confused when an older man tried handing me ten dollars for breakfast. Minutes later the police showed up again but it didn’t matter what they had to say because we were leaving anyway.
After we packed up, and went to subway for breakfast, it began to rain. We decided to hang out there until the sky cleared but it only began raining harder. Shortly after arriving, the manager stopped to talk to us, he noticed the motorcycle fully loaded and was curious of our travels. We had asked if he minded us hanging out there to use the Internet as we searched for a place to go and he told us to stay as long as we needed. Hours later and with no luck couch surfing, the manager approached us and said that he had phoned his wife and got her approval to invite us to stay with his family for the night. We were very surprised and obviously happy. When we arrived at Mikes house, we were introduced to his wife Stephanie, their son Davis and daughter Stevi, they immediately made us feel very comfortable and welcomed. After a cold rainy day it felt great to have a hot shower and a bowl of stew for dinner. Mike and Stephanie were a very funny, charming couple, and their kids were extra cute. While Mike and Rocky talked about what routes we should take, I got to relax while Stevi played the piano for me. I really enjoyed hanging out with this family and I especially liked the gift and note that Stevi and Davis had made for us. It felt great to spend the night in such a comfortable environment.
The following morning we were well rested and ready to visit Mesa Verde National Park. The area features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the Ancestral Puebloan people (sometimes called the Anasazi), and is best known for cliff dwellings, which are structures built within caves and under outcropping in cliffs. It was beautifully well preserved, and before I nearly squashed a tarantula as I was walking, I imagined that it could have been a fantastic place to live. I am not a fan of spiders, I am petrified actually but as soon as I noticed this one, I couldn’t help but stare at it for a few seconds, it was huge. As I was admiring it, a girl, maybe 7 years old, was running backwards laughing and singing. She wasn’t paying attention to where she was stepping and as she came awfully close. I had to stop her and warn her to be careful not step on the spider. She starred at me with a very bratty expression on her face, she was probably wondering what kind of person goes out of their way to protect a spider from getting stepped on. I pointed to the tarantula for her to see it and her reaction was priceless as she screamed in horror and cried hysterically. Maybe I’m mean, but I laughed about it most of the ride back into Utah.