Rosina did a laundry wash first thing this morning in preparation for our moving on. The machines here are pretty good and reasonably priced (about the only things that are).
We debated about what we would do if the staff refused us a refund on tonight’s campground fee. The wind had picked up quite strongly, blowing the sand around the site again and it was tempting to just sit it out in the hope that tomorrow, our planned leaving day, would bring better weather, but we’d really got nothing else to do in the valley and so decided that whether they gave us a refund or not we’d leave, that way we could have a more leisurely 150 mile journey to Durango, Colorado, and if the weather got even worse we could pull over somewhere for the rest of the day. I took a look at the wind direction and concluded that we would for once have a tail wind, so we quickly made ready and were outside the office over at Goulding’s Lodge at 11:10 to avoid missing the staff who go for lunch at 11:30. I stayed with the vehicle as we were parked in a coach space whilst The Chef went to sort out the refund, which she got without any problems.
We drove south on US163 through the rest of Monument Valley then turned east on US160, unfortunately that tail wind then became a side wind, but it wasn’t too bad as it wasn't gusting which is what can catch you out. It was quite overcast as well as windy, which then led to occasional showers, still the rain was helping to wash the dust and sand off the vehicle. Every cloud has a silver lining.
I had already earmarked Four Corners Monument as a potential stopping off point en-route. This is the only place in America where four states – Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet (GPS: N36.998294 W109.044680). Approaching the site we saw a sign directing us up a paved (tarmac) track where ahead we could see some flag poles and yet more Native Americans selling jewellery. As we approached the barrier we noticed there was an admission fee, it was $3 per adult, and I think another $3 for the vehicle. After a quick discussion between us I gestured that we weren’t coming in and were doing a ‘U’ turn. It wasn’t the cost so much as the principle, the Navajo had done very well out of us over the past few days and here they were trying to screw us for yet more money. Having to continually put our hands in our pockets was getting tedious. Soon afterwards the showers turned to steady rain which lasted for much of the remaining journey. Further on The Chef took two pictures of a large red truck which had flipped over, luckily it didn’t look as if anybody was injured, nor any other vehicle involved.
After a brief shopping trip at the Durango Wal-Mart where we could neither stock up on wine as they didn’t sell it, nor buy a quality electric kettle as our previous cheap one was now in a dumpster having had its lead accidently melted, Rosina popped in to Albertson’s while I drove round and round the car park as it was too full to park. She came out empty handed as this particular branch didn’t sell electrical items or wine. It seems in the state of Colorado grocery stores can’t sell wine. Having had a less than fruitful shopping expedition we made our way to the United Campground www.unitedcampground.com who are expecting us tomorrow and we needed to find out if they could take us a day early. Fortunately they could, and so we got set up for a four day stay.
Durango sits in the Animas River Valley surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. The Animas River or the ‘River of Lost Souls’ runs through the city's downtown and is very popular for white water rafting, canoeing and fly fishing, the bonus being it passes right by the bottom of our campground, but without the white water. There were two reasons I chose this campground. Firstly the Durango Transit Trolley to Durango downtown stops very near the campground entrance, and secondly the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway runs right through the campground and the track’s are only about 150yds from our RV - us boys and our train sets eh?
Once we were settled I said to The Chef that at least the rain would help to clean the RV and save me the job before we left here. She said that one of the campground rules was no cleaning of vehicles. That was it, like a red rag to a bull; I put my raincoat on, got the brush and bucket out, filled it with hot water and detergent and proceeded to wash the vehicle in the dark, any more rain that falls will rinse the soap off.
Tomorrow we’ll take a trolley bus in to town for a look round the historic area, and maybe get a kettle and some wine.
LOCATION TONIGHT: United Campground, 1322 Animas View Drive, Durango, CO 81301 (GPS: N37.319825 W107.851306)