Day Twenty Three: Better Homes and (Rock) Gardens: Utah, Colorado

It will be a miracle if my photos ever download to give this post some pizzazz, but I’ve ferretted out a working WiFi and am attempting to blog again. If I can remember this far back. OK, so, when last we left I was in Moab, camping on the Colorado. I was soon to bid farewell to these red sandstone outcroppings, but first I thought I’d take Annie on a nice four-mile hike through what my brochure referred to as Negro Bill Canyon, but what the sign in the parking lot indicated was (Awkward Space) Bill Canyon. In any event, as I was stuffing my daypack, I noticed that Annie seemed to be reluctant to jump out of the camper. This was odd. A closer inspection revealed BLOOD OH MY GOD IT’S BLOOD coming from one of her back claws.


I’m not good with either blood or Annie trauma, so I went in to panic mode rather quickly. I had to drive about ten minutes to even find a parking lot where I could get online. The web (excellent medical resource that it is) seemed to indicate it was a minor injury that I could probably treat myself with: dog nail clippers, hot water, and a sterile surface. I had none of these. Luckily, Moab had an animal clinic just two miles away, so we flew there with all haste. The lovely vet technician reassured me it was a common malady in this area and easily remedied. I just had to lay Annie on her side and restrain her with my forearm across her neck while the vet did her work. No biggie (major biggie). In about ten minutes my girl was patched up, and we were on our way.

With the big hike off the agenda, I decided to pay one last visit to Arches to see a few spots I missed when Missouri Clinton had me heading for the hills.

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One of the coolest spots is the Windows area, where the majority of the park’s many arches can be found. I think that’s what it was called anyway, who even remembers anymore, and for the love of god must everyone bring their drooling rugrats who are too young to care anyway with them to every golldarn National Park. I can’t even hear myself think between that and the distant vacuum cleaner, but the other spot that was supposed to have WiFi only had nattery twenty somethings . . . I think I’m ready to become a hermit.

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ANYWAY! I remember these were called the spectacles and I was going to make some “clever” remark about feeling like I was being watched or some such.

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And here’s some other archy things.

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Soon enough we were on our way out of Moab and headed east (East?! Yes, East!) towards Colorado (Again?! Yes, again!). Not far past town I saw an intriguing sign looming over the highway . . .

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I drove around to the other side and found . . .

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. . . that’s right! One of the most AMAZEBALLS places on the planet!!!

Of course it has an outdoor arcade . . .

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And a two story outhouse . . .

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And Bigfoot . . .

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Anyhow-it turns out that this shrine to awesomesauce was originally built as a home. Like, this dude, who had a homestead claim entitling him to this ginormous rock, decided to take half sticks of dynamite and blast some rooms into it. And then he made part of it a diner. Oh, and he also practiced taxidermy and KEPT HIS TAXIDERMIED HORSES AND MULES INSIDE THE HOME! Maybe like five years later he died. And then there’s his wife, Gladys, who agreed to live in a HOLE in a ROCK. With DEAD ANIMALS sharing the space. Who lived there while he continued to BLAST OUT new rooms. Who built her own soaking tub out of clay and plumbed it herself. Who designed and created their funeral plot out back. So Gladys decides to open the place as a museum, and runs it solo for the next TWENTY years while swanning about in fancy dresses and rock jewelry she made herself. For that reason Gladys is our Bad Ass Woman of the Day! (I’m so annoyed that I was finding these women everywhere, until I decided to make it a thing, and then POOF, they vanish! But Gladys for sure deserves the honor!)

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The place is a total tourist trap, it even has a zoo with purported camel rides, (although I could never see over the fence), and given the “Bigfoot” sighting, it wouldn’t surprise me if you ended up riding a plastic camel or some such. But underneath all the claptrap and folderol is a really cool story about some really unique individuals. I was fascinated.

I could have hung around there all day and taken the tour a few more times (it is EXTREMELY unfortunate that they don’t allow photos inside, because that place was off the chain), but I had a date with some cliff dwellings. Yes, technically I did just spend an hour walking around a home built inside a rock wall, but I’m talking about the ORIGINAL old school cliff dwellers-the Anasazi-or-as we call them now the “Ancient Puebloans.” I was headed to Mesa Verde National Park.

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Mesa Verde is the largest archeological preserve in the US, and it was created by Teddy Roosevelt (#letTeddywin) in response to some nefarious doings along the lines of the dude who moved all the cliff dwellings to Manitou Springs. Teddy wanted to make sure these ancient communities remained where they were built.

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The park also has a legit museum with fascinating artifacts, not just old marketing props. See those brown things at the bottom of the case? Those are kernels of corn. That were stored in that urn. With the small bowl on top. And preserved totally undisturbed for THOUSANDS of years. Yes, I totally would have eaten some if I had found them.

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As per usual on this trip I was a little too early in the season for all of the habitations to be open for exploring, but I did get to poke around the Spruce Tree House (not an actual treehouse). It was remarkably similar to the dwellings I had seen in Colorado Springs. Except for A.) being exactly where the original occupants built it, and B.) being FILLED WITH CHILDREN, Most of which were old enough to know better about how to behave. Most of these communities had a central kiva built underground-basically a ceremonial space. This one could be accessed via a ladder. That all the kids kept running up and down. So, you know, no chance for the adults to soak in the culture or anything. It was also cold and windy and a HUGE hike down (translation: huge hike back up afterwards), and I was basically over it. As you can see by my expression. I drove around a bit afterwards and saw a few other spots from overlooks, but I just wasn’t feeling it that day. There was also a LOT of driving just within the park to get where you needed to be.

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I left the park and made a short drive to my “home” for the evening. Made sure not to stop at this place . . .

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Annnd here we are . . . home sweet home!

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Yup-it’s a 57 Chevy School Bus! Another Air B&B find. It’s not a cave blasted out of a rock or a limestone tower built under a cliff overhang, but for 2015 it’s pretty wild. Don’t worry, I didn’t go full Into The Wild . . . I made sure Annie gave the place a proper once over . . .

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Refrigerator for food and a comfy bed? Yup-we should be all set. And with that we collapsed in exhaustion. . .

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6 thoughts on “Day Twenty Three: Better Homes and (Rock) Gardens: Utah, Colorado

  1. Best Blog yet. Sorry about Annie. Glad to see return of BAWOTD

    Does the 1957 Chevy schoolbus have any basics – like water. ???


  2. So glad to see you back on line and hope that Annie’s claw is better. And that the pesky rugrats are all back at school now. BOL.


  3. I really need to use “swan/swanning” more often.

    So happy to see your post, but also hoping a few days without all that pesky blog-posting was a nice reprieve.

    I hope Annie is back to her fabulous self by now.

    By the looks of it, you might actually find some of that ancient corn to sample in the Chevy.


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