|Dates:||August 21 - 26, 2022|
|Location 1:||Oasis RV Resort & Cottages
30090 Highway 160
Durango, CO 81303
|Location 2:||Morefield Campground
Mile 4 inside Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330
August 21: Despite cancellations and delays over the previous three years due to COVID-19, Pam's persistence paid off. On Sunday, August 21, eleven (11) coaches, eighteen (18) Club members, and two (2) guests met at Oasis RV Resort & Cottages just outside the historical and unique city of Durango, CO. A potluck supper at the campground's Caboose Café, our sheltered meeting area, gave everyone an opportunity to welcome first-time rally attendees and greet familiar faces.
August 22: At 7:00 a.m., we coach/carpooled to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Depot. Our enclosed car was built in 1881, and the three and a half hour trip took us through breathtakingly beautiful scenery: horses and foals, sheer rock cliffs, several deep gorges with whitewater and turbulence, and waterfalls. 13,000-foot mountains were visible, as well as the tree line on top of them. Arriving in Silverton, which is the last mining camp standing in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Established in 1874, it was also the former red-light district for miners of gold, silver, copper, and lead. We walked the town's dirt roads to restaurants for lunch. On the return trip to Durango, we enjoyed again the stunning mountain views. An added bonus was seeing the site of the first train robbery in the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Back at the campground, we enjoyed a pizza supper.
August 23: The day was spent doing whatever members chose to do on their own, and the choices varied. It was a perfect, sunny day to sleep in, go horseback riding or biking, shop and eat in Durango, go to Honeyville, which was a bee colony we went by on the train ride, do laundry, or clean the Born Free.
August 24: In the morning, we caravanned about thirty (30) miles from Durango to Morefield Campground, elevation 7,800 feet, located inside the Mesa Verde National Park. To get there, we climbed a winding, scenic mountain road, and, upon arrival, set up at our scenic campsites where we would dry camp for the next two days and nights. Undaunted by the presence of human interlopers, deer freely meandered between the Born Frees.
August 25: Early afternoon found us coach/carpooling to the Far View Visitors Center where we shopped until it was time to board a bus that took us to the Puebloan Cliff Dwellings. Our first stop was the Park Point Overlook. This is the highest point in the park. From here we were able to see Shiprock in northwestern NM (a distance of 46 miles). The next stop was the Far View Sites. These are ruins of pueblos on top of the Chapin Mesa.
We continued down Chapin Mesa to the iconic sites of Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace. Our excellent tour guide explained the history and culture of the ancestral inhabitants who arrived and settled here in 900 A.D. The unique architecture was unsurpassed until the 1870s; before then, Cliff Palace, one of the dwellings, was the tallest man-made structure in the United States. Some very brave Club members climbed into the dwellings. This required walking on 120 uneven stone steps and climbing, vertically for one hundred (100) feet, five (5) 8-10-foot ladders that were made of tree branches. When the tour of the Cliff Dwellings ended, our bus took us to the Metate Room Restaurant in the Far View Lodge. After a delicious meal, we coach/carpooled back to the campground where we had a campfire and reminisced about what we had seen and done over the previous days.
On the way back to the campground, some of us were treated to the sight of two Golden Eagles soaring just over the edge of the mesa.
August 26: After good-byes and promises to meet again soon, members departed on what would be safe journeys to their next destination.
By Mary Breu
***Note: Pam Clark did an awesome job planning and organizing an unforgettable rally. We appreciate her determination because, without that, some of us would never have had this once-in-a-lifetime experience.