Sunday May 26th 2019
Our day started with a check around the mysterious boondocking spot we found late into the dark last night. Being just a very small turn out off the rambling road and along the river it would suit any quick overnight stay.
Our cruise across the bottom of Colorado on highway 160 took us from Pagosa Springs thru the magical San Juan National forest, thru the famous town of Durango and ending at the visitor center of Mesa Verde National Park. So to say the least the views were spectacular the whole way.
I almost couldn’t pry myself away from the jaw dropping view before entering the visitor center itself. My obsession with snow capped mountains is almost ridiculous.
Once in the visitor center we were reminded it was Memorial Day weekend a thought that completely slipped our minds. Hell if it wasn’t for me writing a journal I would not know what day it ever was. So of course being a holiday weekend the ranger advised us the campgrounds said full but we could still test our luck by going to the campground itself and asking a ranger there. Who knows with cancellations or early departures. Also all tours were sold out for the day so we jumped on the list for a 11:30 am Cliff Palace tour tomorrow. We paid $5 per person but I do believe the price went up a couple dollars for the 2020 season. Cliff Palace is largest cliff dwelling in the park with the tour lasting about an hour including climbing of ladders. I will get in depth with all that in the next blog.
A couple other things to keep in mind is to allow yourself a hour drive time from the visitor center to the meeting spot for this specific tour even longer for the others. Also no trailers or towed vehicles are allowed past the campground. The main park road is a steep, narrow and extremely winding road. Most corners must be taken at 15mph.
With our game plan of conquering the park were onto finding a spot for the night. We of course wanted to test our luck with going to the campground and asking for ourselves. We should have taken a hint at the gate with a line this long.
Our wait was not rewarded with a campsite but at least another gorgeous view at Mancos Valley Overlook. We spent some time taking in all its glory before braving the drive back down.
We drove back to the small town of Mancos to fill up and found a free boondocking site off our so far trustworthy freecampsites.net website.
The free spot was BLM land near entrance to the national park. From what we saw there are about 12 marked sites but so overused you honestly don’t know what is what. Plus the road is so washed out I was just waiting for us to get stuck. I do believe were a bit to big of rig to be trying this offroad adventure but Jason impresses me every time with is driving skills and unwavering determination to prove me wrong lol. At one point I looked out to see if I could even see the road beneath us to see it so washed out the culvert was exposed, I lost my breath and waited for the RV to tip into it. Somehow I don’t know how but we didn’t.
We meandered all the way towards the end of the gravel road ending up in a durable spacious spot around the marker 11 post. Jason got the RV blocked up just about as fast as I had drinks waiting after that ride. This site came with a wonderful view to keep our curiosity of tomorrows adventure growing.
We passed the night away exploring the desert terrain, teaching Phoenix how to use a slingshot and praying the storm did not find us. Falling asleep early so we would have time to explore different viewpoints before our tour.
Remember Life begins outside your comfort zone!
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