About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Epic Family Road Trip 2: Colorado

This is a continuation of my previous post about the RV road trip with my family during our summer holiday. (For all the photos click here.)

The Colorado- New Mexico border
 After Ojo Caliente we high-tailed it to Cortez and made camp at sunset. Cortez is located in the "4 Corners" region, near where the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado meet. Its an area where Native Tribes have reservations, the Ute, Navajo and Apache. We drove near a few of their entrances, empty roads that disappear into the horizon.

Our RV at our campsite in Cortez, CO.
 The grounds of the KOA campground was on a hill overlooking the mountains. I appreciated the different vegetation, the scrubs and sage here it all looked aquatic, like coral in a colorful reef. I could imagine all this landscape underwater, which it once was. What I will never forget from Cortez, besides the delicious Mexican food is the conversation I overheard at the KOA office. My Dad and I were getting some decent coffee for a change (after drinking instant most of the trip) and a few campers were talking loudly with some KOA staff. They were all agreeing that Donald Trump was needed as president to solve the "veteran problem". I about spit my coffee out and spun around in shock. It was too early to pick my chin up off the floor, my sleepy eyes bulged out of my head. I wasn't caffeinated enough to process, was I still dreaming? Is this a nightmare? I was experiencing culture shock, conservative White America at its best. I thought it was an urban myth a creation of the media, but it was true, actual human beings-with brains, truly support Trump. I mean I'm no GOP fan, but come one at least Jeb Bush has experience, and is somewhat more respectful to brown people (thats about it).

The Tree House, Mesa Verde
 We took our time for breakfast and then headed to the archaeological wonder of Mesa Verde National Park. It was the girls first time and we adults have been here before. What was interesting is that the cliff dwellers who lived here were the ancestors of the Pueblo tribe we visited prior outside Taos. My mom and the girls lined up to go down into one of their pits. The tourists were international, we heard Italian, German French. We could still see three stone grinding stones. There were many places we could not crawl around and climb unlike my last visit. Time and tourists, take their toll, the stone is crumbly, most of it was fenced off.

My daughter and mother, Mesa Verde

It was a very short inspection of the cliffs as we didn't have so much time and the park has 600 cliffs dwellings, so it would be impossible to see it all in a day.

The breathtaking San Juan National Forest

 We headed to Montrose. The drive between Cortez and Ouray through the San Juan National Forest was stunning. I was so tired, not having had one decent night's sleep, but the scenery was breathtaking so I put on headphones, listened to Tame Impala's new CD and followed the play between sky and mountain. The highway went along the Las Animas river which unknown to us was at the same time being poisoned my gold mining companies, defiling the whole region. It's a monumental shame (read A Yellow River Runs Through It) of a bigger problem the state of Colorado has to deal with sooner rather than later.

In Montrose my parents wanted yet again more Mexican food. Although I've been pining for decent Mexican food the two and a half years since my last trip, variety is nice. My daughter observed, "The best Mexican food in Taiwan is the worst Mexican food in America", which is true, its hard to imitate without the real ingredients. So my Dad drove to a little hole in the wall Mexican place he and my mom liked. Fortunately for me and Z it was now a Nepalese restaurant called Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen. My daughter was stoked to have white rice and dumplings. I was happy to have curry, saag, naan, chicken tandoori washed down with a beer shared with my mom. It was totally out of my Dad and brother's comfort zone but they were stuffed. My niece had her first mango lassi, my daughter had a cinnamon lassi I helped her finish. It was nice to be full, satiated without that gross stuffed feeling, Mexican food is so heavy, so much cheese.

Black Canyon Gorge
 With full stomachs we went to the Black Canyon Gorge to see the sunset. We were the only people on the rim, there was no time to walk around, behind schedule we hopped in the RV and headed to our next campground in Gunnison. It was a cold, wooded private campground owned and operated by an elderly Polish immigrant. The whole trip I was asking myself, "Could I live here?" Most of the time the answer was, "Yes!" Yes I could see myself in Northern New Mexico, maybe not Taos or Santa Fe, but definitely somewhere in between, like Espanola, or Abiquiu. As for SW Colorado, I could live in Montrose, Gunnison, Ouray once I accepted the long winters and adopted a winter sports lifestyle. Totally doable.

San Juan National Forest
On the way home from Gunnison we stopped at a goat farm, Bed and Breakfast in Salida and the girls petted some goats. Closer to Denver the highway between Salida and the big city was as you can imagine also first rate, they don't call it Buena Vista for nothing. Yes I could live here too in an earth home or yurt. The seed has been planted, someday soon (2 years?), we will reestablish home base in Colorado.

Goat eyed view of  the Rockies, Salida.

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