The second main stop in our adventure was at Mesa Verde, which is right between Sand Dunes National Park, and Arches National Park. Nate had to drive in the park, the roads going up and around the mesas were 'hairy' as another couple we met from Wisconsin described them. It wasn't hard to spot the Wisconsinites, as soon as they leave the state, they are permanently donned in some sort of Wisconsin apparel (packers or badgers..). Sometimes people would be shocked when we magically knew they were from our home state. :)
Mesa Verde is a pretty neat place to stop through, unless you are afraid of driving on cliff sides. I am usually fine with heights, but for some reason driving on cliffs scares the bejesus out of me. Nate was fine driving though, which was funny because he is usually petrified of heights. I'm glad we are such a good team- hah.
We went on the Cliff Palace Tour, which was alright, our guide wasn't the greatest, she had a poor storytelling ability... The best part about the tour was getting in and out of the cliff houses. We had to scale the sides of the cliffs via ladders and skinny ledge trails - my forte! (not so much Nate's....)
Along the cliffs you could also see the original cliff dwellers' "paths" of footholds to enter the cliff houses. They were gutsy!
There were a few of the cliff houses you could peep into as well, this one was in the cliff palace house, and it still had some of the original paintings on the walls.
All in all, it was a pretty fun stop. If you are ever in the area it is worth the detour. I would recommend to do the tours early in the day -- after about 10 am it starts to get really hot, and really crowded. After we left, we hit the road for Arches National Park.
It was nice to hit some flat and straight roads after all of the curvy cliff driving! On our way I was telling Nate that the last time I drove through southwest Colorado I saw a handful of dust devils. About two minutes later, we were driving through a valley, and I noticed a crazy amount of birds flying all around. Then we saw a huge dust devil that was moving parallel to our car. It was so cool, you could see it winding way up into the sky. It was like seeing a tamer version of a tornado. There was a bunch of debris (pieces of roofing and siding) swinging around it as well. It jumped right over the valley we were driving through, almost over the top of us, and then we lost sight of it. Pretty darn cool if you ask me.
We arrived unscathed to our awesome campsite in Moab, and set up our 'home away from home'. Isn't it just so cozy looking??
We decided to just lay low for the night and relax. It had been a very exciting day. :)