Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Goodbye New Mexico, Hello Colorado!

After nearly a week staying in ABQ with my aunt and uncle it was time again to hit the road.  We really enjoyed our stay in ABQ, both because we had excellent hosts and it's a neat little city.  I have a feeling we'll be back in the not too distant future.  Our initial plan was to drive up to Cortez, CO, which is the closest town to Mesa Verde (the New York City of cliff dwellings), so that we could spend about a 1/2 day there before heading farther north into CO.  We took I-25 out of ABQ, to 550 which runs all the way to Durango, CO. 

Northern New Mexico has some spectacular views.  You can see for what appears to be hundreds of miles and what is really cool is that you can see desert like mesas out in the distance, and then even farther behind them you see huge snow capped mountains.  It's really quite a site.  The landscape changes significantly as you approach CO.  As we drove through northern New Mexico we started to notice these large volcanic rock formations that look like they appeared from lava bubbling out of the desert and cooling (which is probably close to what happened thousands of years ago....this area is covered in old inactive volcanoes evidently).  There were even some of these at the base of some mesas which made for a neat contrast between the black volcanic rock and the red color of the mesas.  The desert like landscape with red rock mesas and canyons starts to gives way to a much more green landscape with more vegetation as you move into CO.  This is almost simultaneous with the mountains rising up to meet you and is quite the contrast to where we have spent the last week.  Durango is only about 20 miles inside CO, and in that short 20 miles, the landscape had completely transformed.

When we arrived in Durango we decided to call it a night (it's only about 35 miles from here to Mesa Verde).  We took a quick drive through downtown Durango and it seems to be a cool little town.  Definitely a place you could spend a day checking out and we might do a little exploring here tomorrow, we'll see.

Here are a few pics from the drive up...again, please excuse the quality of some, it's hard to get a good shot from a moving car.  :)

On our way out of town we hit Trader Joes for food supplies.  While there we met Dave, a TJ employee and through our conversation we told him about our trip.  He was very enthusiastic about the whole idea and Bella took a liking to him.  I had to ask Dave a question before we left. Why are TJ employees so happy? For those of you who shop at Trader Joes, you have no doubt noticed how EVERY single employee is ALWAYS happy and enthusiastic.  Dave, said it was simple.  They hire happy enthusiastic people and treat them well.  What a great business plan.  :-)

You see a bunch of lone oil pumps out in the middle of nowhere in northern New Mexico.  There are also bunch of natural gas production facilities out here as well.
An example of the volcanic rock formations.

More volcanic rock formations.

Here is a close up shot of them, as you can see these were right by the side of the road.

Look closely beyond the mesas and you can see the snow capped mountains...the pics don't do it justice, which is pretty much the standard out here.

More distant snow capped peaks...
This is the Animas river in southern CO.  Just a gorgeous view.

Same view, but slightly to the left.  Michelle took this picture.  I want to give her credit cause I think it's very cool with the sun shining over the mountains in the distance just beginning to set behind them.

Same pic, but with a dork and a cutie pie. :-)

It's not obvious from the pic, but about 3 feet behind me is couple hundred foot drop nearly straight down.

Finally someone in a pic with Bella who can hold her own!

I was trying to get more of the scenery in the pic, so Bella leaned to the left to make sure she was in it.  That girl loves the camera.
Bella lost another front tooth in our hotel room in Durango.  She is worried about the tooth fairy not finding her.  I have a feeling the tooth fairy is going to find her in about 5 minutes... :-)


  1. Hey Everyone! We miss you! It was so quiet and empty in the house this morning....the cats looked everywhere for you. Tell Miss I. congrats on her lost tooth!

  2. I'm glad you're diggin' it. I never get tired of the beauty of the west.

  3. Tell Bella that if she keeps on losing her teeth, Pop Pop is going to start calling her GUMbbie and Aldous will have to chew her food for her :-)