5/28 Pagosa Springs, Ship Rock & Durango

Happily departing from the Alpine Inn this morning, we resumed out Westward journey. Not more than about a very pretty hour from Pagosa Springs we arrived in Durango but, since the motels where we are staying on this trip do not recognize check-ins prior to 3:00 PM and we arrived at about 11:00 AM, we plunged right on through town. Continuing out the South side, we took US-550 to Farmington, New Mexico where we ate in what may be the worst Wendy’s on the planet. From there we transitioned onto US-64 which took us to the town and geologic formation called Shiprock.

Shiprock, certainly named because it looks like a huge ship sticking up out of the surrounding flat terrain, towers some 1600 feet over the adjacent ground except for a huge folded ridge extending miles to the north. One can spot this formation almost all the way to Farmington. It is massive, strange and striking.

From Shiprock, we headed North on US-491 back into Colorado and across the Ute Reservation. After passing some rez housing and a big casino, we continued into Cortez which is the gateway municipality adjacent to Mesa Verde National Park. We didn’t go see the cliff dwellings there this trip. We wandered around Mesa Verde in 2018 while we were getting our fifth wheel trailer, the Barbarian Invader, repaired in the nearby town of Dolores, after the electrical system had a catastrophic failure at Monument Valley. In Cortez we re-acquired US-160 for a couple-hour drive back to Durango.

We headed for the Caboose Motel, our lodging for the next two nights. The motel is situated on a sidehill and we found that suitcases with wheels will take off uncontrolled if you let go of them when packing or unpacking the car. If their escape is successful, they end up bouncing out onto US-550 and being squished under the wheels of commerce. After shuffling across the slope and up the step into our room, we entered and found that the beds were miserable, the toilet was sized for very short people, and the floor surface could only be described as “wavy.” We began to get warmer and warmer in the room and were just about to go over to the unmanned reception desk to complain when we found the power cord for the HVAC unit unplugged and concealed behind the bed. Once we got the power hooked up, the room got much cooler. There was a very nice tub and bath sink and a pretty table lamp but the rest of the joint was uninspiring. The place is 420-friendly , however, and the owners have a nice gazebo on a big lawn for smokers.

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