We decided to drive in the hot afternoons and do touristy things in the cooler mornings since our route took us through some very warm weather places.
This was the only night we weren't too tired to stay up after the kids fell asleep. #oldladies
The next morning we tackled the sand dunes.
A friend of mine told me cardboard worked great as a slide. Unfortunately I believed her and didn't rent the sand sleds! It was a bust.
We went back to the Visitor Center where they worked on their Junior Ranger badges.
A not-to-be named little girl wants a badge without doing the work.
They answered all the questions, completed their books and swore to uphold the law! Junior Rangers!
By 11:00 we started out on our next leg. We stopped for lunch in Pagosa Springs. The river is quite different from how Dar remembers it when they lived there. It's VERY touristy.
Here is the 80 acres she used to own.
We made it to Mesa Verde by 8:00 PM. Thanks goodness I booked a room at the lodge in the park as the dwellings are an hour into the park! We stopped to reserve a tour for the next morning first thing. All the easy tours were booked! So we, against our better judgement, booked the tour Mia wanted to do, Balcony House. It had a 38 foot ladder to climb and a tunnel!
The next morning we were going to walk this cliff dwelling, Spring House, the only one you can go to without a tour, but it was closed due to falling rocks.
3/4 of Mesa Verde Park is burned from assorted fires.
Our tour was at 10:00. Luckily you could not see where we were going from here or I would have turned around and ran!
After much talking by the guide we go to the "big" ladder. This ladder is about halfway up the canyon. I did not look down! The girls did great. Dar and I did...okay.
This is the view across the canyon.
This original wood balcony is why it is called Balcony House.
Here is another view of the ladder.
This ladder did not bother me as much as the last two ladders which were shorter, but higher! And they had much less of a landing which really freaked me out. I would never do this tour again, but I was glad to have conquered my fear!
There were tons of mosquitos at the sand dunes. Can you tell where I missed with the repellant?
After Mesa Verde we drove to Four Corners. Wow, how that place has changed. There uses to be a line of about 10 blue port-a-potties, a few people selling turquoise jewelry on the ground and Four Corners Monument. Now, you have to pay $5 per person to get in. There are nicer cinder block outhouses, and real restrooms are being built. There are permanent stalls with roofs for the vendors you can see in the background of the picture. And you actually have to wait in line to take a picture!
We drove to St. George after Four Corners and planned on going to Zion the next morning but we were just too tired. So we spent the morning swimming in the hotel pool and then headed for Vegas.
Last time we were at the Hershey store the Statue of Liberty was made of chocolate, this time licorice!
We took the monorail that goes behind the hotels to get from our hotel, The Luxor, to Treasure Island to see the pirate show.
We ate at Señor Frogs where we thought we would have a great place to watch the pirate show. Unfortunately, the show has not been there for four years and ten years before that it was a sexy sirens pirate show. So I guess we were actually fortunate it wasn't there!
We were going to walk back, visiting the volcano show on the way, but Anna was so tired we took a taxi and went to bed instead.
The next morning we left Dar in Vegas for a conference and we took the back way to La Quinta. I was a little worried about taking that way because I had very little water in the car. We stopped here at the Kelso Depot to get some. It turned out to be a National Monument. I couldn't imagine anyone living there 100 years ago in the heat, but they did!
When we got to La Quint the temperature was....
Which turned out to be mild because the next day it was...
We had a week to pass before the family reunion. Luckily I found a gymnastics camp that both girls went to for two days, and Mia went to for five days, to pass the time.