Wednesday Dec 11th, 2013


We watched the weather and tried our best to stay out of the snow and extreme temperatures. We decided to head toward Hovenweep. We made it to the visitors center late in the afternoon to get some information. It was so cold and windy up there, we decided to head out. Before we did, the ranger told us we should take a 300 ft walk behind the building to where the overlook was for Little Ruin Canyon.

From Little Ruin Canyon at Hovenweep

I was reluctant, but 

tagged along with my camera. It was worth braving the frigid temperatures. We had only seen some small ruins before this, so to see so many in one place that were so large was amazing.


From Little Ruin Canyon at Hovenweep
From Little Ruin Canyon at Hovenweep


When we left Hovenweep, we made haste for Cortez. It was getting late, so we headed down the icy, mountain road toward the Walmart parking lot. Ah, good old Wally world. Glad we got 4g up at the visitors center to find out if they were RV parking friendly. It was dusk when we got into Cortez. The clouds were thick and black and we could see that we were headed right into a blizzard. We saw a flat bed with motorcycles on it decked out in Christmas lights parked at a biker bar. We would find out later that it was Cortez's annual festival of lights. People were already lining the streets with chairs. It was so cold, I couldn't even fathom it. We found a flat spot at Walmart away from the only truck in the lot and settled in for the night. By this time, it was a full blown flurry of white stuff out there. It was a very sleepless night as the Walmart snow plows went on and on all night. And, because we were in the back, that's where they pushed all the snow from the rest of the humungous lot.


My sister had told me about boat owners using a small bread pan, tea lights and 2 flower pots to heat their cabins. We thought this sounded like a pretty cool idea, so we found a small pot and the small bread pans, but couldn't find the bigger pot to go over it. We had to get gas and propane anyway, so we kept stopping everywhere in Cortez we could think that might sell them. Try buying a flower pot in December. After finally giving up, we headed out of town toward Mesa Verde National park with the hopes of camping for the night, only to find the campground was closed. On the way, however, was a nursery that was open. Sam went in and came out with the right size pot to make our little heater. It worked ok, but couldn't hold a candle to the likes of minus degrees at night.


So, we headed back into Cortez. We had resigned ourselves to staying at Wally world parking lot again, but Sam decided to stop in at the visitors center, where we found out about Mcphee reservoir. It was only 14 miles up the road. When we got to the access road, it hadn't been plowed. There was at least 6 inches of snow up there, but luckily there were some tire tracks to follow. Since it was so late, we had to make the best of it. At least the sun was still shining. We took the first spot that was flat and still in the sun. It was frigid cold, but a heck of a lot prettier and quieter than WW. It was -11 that night with windchill as high as -20. Propane is the bomb.


The next morning we woke to the sound of a vehicle. It was the ranger. He knocked on the door. Sam scrambled to get on some warm clothes and then went outside to talk to him. He just wanted to make sure we weren't stranded or frozen. We could have been, because I woke up that morning at 3:30 to find it 29.6 degrees inside the cabin. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr


It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day and we had entertained the thought of hanging out up there for the day to go cross country skiing, but it was just too dang cold. So, we went back to Cortez to the coffee shop we had visited the day before. The employees were so great and the coffee was even greater. It was all organic, rich and tasty. We stopped at a couple of Mexican places looking for breakfast burritos, but they were all so expensive, we opted to take advantage of a tail wind and pointed ourselves for Cuba. We ended up at the Apache Nugget Casino, no more than a quickie mart with a few slot machines in the back room. There were quite a few big rigs there already, and they proceeded to come and go, rumbling all around us, all night long. Plus it was another double digit minus degree night. I think I am getting used to being sleep deprived. It's about 20 miles to Cuba, so we made coffee and back up peanut butter and banana sandwiches, just in case we couldn't find a road burrito. We've never been to Cuba before, so don't know what to expect.   

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