Stateside Road Trip travel blog

Mesa Verde

Great Sand Dunes

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Prior to the trip, Dawn gave me the camping gear she and the kids would need in Dinosaur. The idea was to minimize the stuff she'd have to deal with on the flights between Seattle and Salt Lake City.

I still have the camping gear. In all - hers combined with mine - I have four sleeping bags, four insulating pads, and three tents. Not to mention a stove and other cooking items.

I should be camping.

That was the plan when I left Cortez. Camp at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

After sides trips to Mesa Verde (fantastic), Tower Rock (closed), and an urgent care in Pagosa Springs (minor ailment), I made the long approach to the Park.

Of course there was a sign that said "campground full." It was around 7. I knew visitor offices would be closed. I tried a nearby private campground, but the office was closed. There was a State Park 8 miles away. Saturday night. Not worth trying, I thought.

I decided a distant view of sand was good enough and drove on.

In Walsenburg, I pulled into a 7-11 parking lot to use - nothing in Walsenburg. In Trinidad, yes. I booked at room. Onward.

I am not confident driving at night. In Trinidad, a series of confusing twists and turns took me to very dark semi-rural roads where locals were walking on the pavement in dark clothing. I nearly took out a guy walking his dog.

I finally found my motel. Semi-rattled, I checked in. Among other parts of the ritual, I initialed a form on which I promised not to smoke or have cats in the room.

Then the clerk asked, "Will you want to smoke marijuana in your room sir?"

Startled, I said, "I have been a lot of places, and I have never been asked that. But, no, thanks."

"Just checking, sir," he replied.

In my otherwise normal room was a guide to Colorado pot shops, including coupons for discounts.

I doubt if I'd find such a guide in a campground.

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