Four States at once
Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
51Trip End May 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
In the doctors
What I did
KK: In the morning the tent hadn't blown away without us as ballast. The air was fresh but LK’s wrist was still swollen. We found a brilliant coffee house for the kick start we needed.
LK: We visited the Four Corners monument, where the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona slot together like square jigsaw pieces. With it being early morning and the temperature not quite above 90F we thought a walk along the Dancing Horse route beyond the monument would be nice. It wasn’t. The rain from the night before had turned the clay particles of the ground into soiled cat litter with the consistency of lead-lined porridge. I slipped downhill, leaving a fetching white flash on the back of my shorts. I failed to see the funny side of it.
KK: LK’s sister would have nearly died laughing at the sight of it. I was nearly as shocked with the severity of the fall as I was with the amount of cat litter stuck to my poor wife’s shorts. There was an Indian market at the Four Corners but Indians still don’t seem to get the concept of capitalism – so we could buy no end of similar jewellery but no breakfast, no jet-washes with a shorts attachment so we beat a hasty exit to Cortez. Cortez, where the nice lady at The Visitor Centre invited us to some traditional dancing. We demanded directions to the nearest pharmacy and/or potato museum.
LK: OK, there was no avoiding it, I had to deal with the US health care system. People, don’t ever fail to appreciate what the NHS offers, for all its faults. I saw Assistant No 1, who took some notes, my temperature and blood pressure. She moved me to another room, so I could wait in there alone for 25 minutes until the physician’s assistant came to see me. She took the same notes, and was clearly more interested in our trip than the filthy insect spit that was spreading up my arm. She prescribed me antibiotics. Assistant No 2 sterile washed the wound and applied antibiotic cream and a plaster. I invite bids by email as to how much (in dollars) you think that experience cost me (hopefully to be recovered on our insurance)
KK: To comfort LK I booked us into the crappiest Motel in Cortez where we sustained more bites off the permanent residents who lived in the furnishings. In the laundry the entire dispenser drawer came away in my hand – I bashed it back into place and left it to soak my feet in the swimming pool. I’ve had cooler and more spacious baths. We microwaved some food which was vile and watched the verdict on the Casey Anthony case. An expert summariser claimed to have been the only person in America predicting a "Not Guilty" verdict. “Liar!” I shouted having done the same myself (all be it not on TV) two days previous. The mother might be a cold, mental freak but where was the actual evidence? It was trial by media and the media couldn’t believe it lost.
LK: But what is this ticker tape on the news “The end of the world”? Surely, they cannot shut down a UK paper simply for systematically behaving outside the law? Oh, they can? Right, get after the “corrupt police” next. And smack Cameron about a bit just for the hell of it, the saucepan faced goon. We soon chased another paper bag by watching the “Surfing Bird” episode of Family Guy.
Friday 8 July
KK: Had a bit of a lie in. So we got to The Visitor Centre at Mesa Verde National Park the same time as the vacationing hordes. We watched turkey vultures circle while we queued for our tickets for the guided tours. We usually avoid guided tours, not just because we are too mean to tip the guide, but it was the only way to see the good stuff in this place. However the Park was already so busy we had a two hour wait for our tour.
LK: We entertained ourselves by visiting the stone dwellings created in the cliffs at Spruce Tree House by ancient Puebloan Indians and hiking among lizards, voles and butterflies. We joined our tour led by Clyde, a Navajo Indian, who provided a spiritual commentary on the dwellings at Cliff Palace, emphasising the kinship with the surrounding nature (this isn’t the insect drugs speaking, by the way).
KK: It was an astonishing and beautiful place. The photos can’t do it justice because it was so vast (a constant problem with this country by the way) people abandoned the Palace between 1200 and 1400 AD presumably due to drought.
LK: We pushed on to Durango, a town that clearly had ideas above its station (narrow gauge) considering the prices asked by most accommodation. We slummed it again in a low priced motel. Which was rattled by the thunder.
KK: Loudest thunder I’ve ever heard.
LK: And I was right to be cautious about the bears – someone got killed in Yellowstone this week by a mother bear protecting her cubs, first fatality in the park since 1986. Damn fool forgot his hip hop.