Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27

We started the day heading for Great Sand Dunes which was only 20 minutes from our hotel. Since we had arrived to our hotel after 9:00 the night before, we were slow getting started and didn't head out until around 11:30. The Sand Dunes are really neat. At the base of the Rocky Mountains in this one area,
these sand dunes have formed over the years. Driving there you see flat land, sand dunes, mountain. It's
quite unusual. 
We started a the visitor's center and found that to climb to the top of the dune, which gives you a better view of the entire dune, it's better to start early in the morning so that you can be off of the dune by after
noon when the temperature of the sand can reach 140 degrees. The park ranger said that although it was on the late side, we could try it if we wanted. So we decided to try it since it was already noon, but only
70 degrees. We headed to the van and put on toed-hoes (not sandals), covered ourselves in sunscreen, grabbed our water bottles and headed out.
We didn't know where we were going, but took a trail out of the back of the visitor's center that looked like it
went to the base of the dune. After walking about 1/2 mile we ended up in the camping area! The mosquitoes were biting, we couldn't figure out where
to go, so we gave up!
We headed back to the visitor center and watched a 2o minute video on the dunes and how they were formed.
Then we headed to Zapata Water Falls which is also part of this national park. We turned onto the road that leads to the falls, and it was a terrible. It was like driving on a washboard. We didn't know how far
we would have to drive on this road, we saw someone's hubcap on the side of the road, so we gave up on this
too! Our memory of this national park is of bugs and bumps! But it was neat to see the dune formation at
the base of the mountain.
We headed back to Alamosa on Route 160 to have lunch. We stopped at a local place called 
the Fresh Tortilla Company where the tortillas were made fresh every morning. They call their burritos the 
"big ass
burritos" because they do pile on the toppings of your choice. This phrase was used on the sign on the door and on the menu, and it really cracked Brooke up.
She wanted to know if she could say that phrase just for the day, so I told she could while we were there. I'm not sure how many times she fit that phrase into
our conversation! Covering her mouth and laughing
each time. 

Then we continued
on Route 160 to Cortez. We expected to drive through,but ended up stopping alone the side of 
the road quite a few times
because the views were awesome.
When we were at the top of the Sane Juan Mountain, which is
over 10,000 feet, we stopped because there was a road sign that we were at the Continental Divide. From there we could walk to the base of the mountain where
a little snow was still on the ground. So we had a snowball
fight and the girls made a snowman out of 3  snowballs.
As we continued down the mountain we saw beautiful views and stopped at a waterfall where chipmunks ate out of the girls hands! There were so many chipmunks
running around. A woman gave the girls some trailmix and told them to stay very still and the chipmunks would eat out of their hands!
The little chipmunks would stuff their faces until their checks would bulge out. One ate all of the food on Blair's hand and then seemed to sit there and beg her for more! The girls loved it.
We arrived at our hotel around 8:00. We went to the pool and Jerry went to the store for ice cream, salad, and strawberries. The diner of champions! 
We ended up traveling 266 miles today.


  1. OH! I want chipmunks to eat out of my hands! Sorry the Sand Dune trip was a bust, but snow and friendly chipmunks (or "chickmunks" as Lily used to say and they have remained in my head) sound fantastic. Totally cracking up picturing Brooke's delight at getting to say Ass.

  2. I'm enjoying the details of your trip and wish that we had done a trip like this with our kids. I feel slightly like an interloper, but also feel that I'm vacationing vicariously through the Donald's. Thanks for all the posts.