These were some of the last days before the bike went back on the trailer. Being keen to remain wind-beaten and sunkissed for as long as possible, Forrest and I rode from Moab to the Mesa Verde with Forrest acting as an on-board radio to keep me awake. Him singing with tuneless abandon, and me doing the arm dances cost us a glance or three as we passed through lights and stop signs, but oh well.... wearing a helmet is such a useful disguise when embracing your inner-crazy.
We arrived at the Mesa Verde National Park at the exact moment a giant storm came to greet us. The weather had been our friend and foe with remarkable fickleness up until this point, so donning our jackets and putting our faith in sun god, we ventured forth, only to find ourselves at the top of the mountain an hour later, shedding layers and squinting against the bright sky. Lovely.
It was fascinating to learn about the lives of the Puebloans, and to see the cliff dwellings that still remain at the Mesa Verde. The museum boasts a fabulous array of jewelry, arrowheads, pottery, clothing and all sorts of other intricate handmade items that make today's destined-for-garbage products seem hugely disappointing. The skill and the artistry of those native dwellers is pretty amazing to be able to see, staring back at you from the inside of a glass case hundreds of years later. I am not much known for my love of history (to the despair of Dad- an ex history teacher; and my husband- a history nut. Or, just a nut.), but something about the lives of native Americans really piques my interest. Plus, they made the coolest shoes, so of course I'm paying attention!
Descending the mountain as the sun was setting, I almost inhaled my tongue when somebody exclaimed 'Look, a bear!'. Basically just a dark speck to the naked eye, Eb produced a telescope- Mary Poppins-like from his bag- and all of a sudden the bear could not have been more real as padded along the edge of the forest; muscular and majestic. This is the first bear I have ever laid eyes on, and back home in Alabama I get the feeling armadillos and boll weevils may have lost a little of their novelty. A bear. I couldn't believe it.
From this point onwards, every single corner we turned boasted a new and spectacular view, with shadows from the sunset falling across the mountains. With all the resolve we could muster, we finally tore ourselves away from the Mesa Verde, and found ourselves back in Cortez, at the Main Street Brewery which does the meanest brew I have ever tasted. 'Mean' as in awesome. Like 'bad' when it means good. Y'know....
We left some hours later with promises to return in December, navigating handshakes with the charming German owner and a whole box of souvenir beer (really, Forrest? necessary?!). Wheels turning once again, it's back to Durango as we lament the soon to be final days of our trip. First though, I've got a date with the chocolate shop, so let's get to it!