After breakfast, we left for Mesa Verde. It was an interesting drive to the park, but there was a fuel smell in the motorhome. We had noticed it before but couldn't find the source. Now it was stronger
|This mesa greets visitors at the entrance to the park|
About noon we arrived at the park Visitor Center and planned our day. The entrance to the Visitor Center features a tall sculpture of an Indian with a backpack climbing the cliff using hand- and foot-holes. This is how the cliff-dwellers got to their fields on the top.
We learned that in the 13th and 14th centuries, the local population was about 30,000. Pretty amazing since the present population of the largest nearby city, Cortez, is only about 8,500. We chose the recommended half-day visit, and got some materials.
From there it’s a one-hour drive, over a mountain, to the museum.When we parked and started to walk toward the museum, a Park Dep’t fire truck pulled up and a ranger approached us. The woman at the gate had reported smelling fuel and noticed that we were dripping as we left. The ranger spent a good deal of time looking with a flashlight and decided we had a fuel line leak, though he couldn't see it. Being diesel it was unlikely to cause a fire, but it needs to be fixed right away .
It wasn’t going to get worse just sitting there — it only leaks when the engine is running —so we went on to the museum where there was a good film and a series of excellent dioramas. We walked down the path to the Spruce Tree House ruins but decided not to go down. While it is short, it is fairly steep and we weren't yet accustomed to the elevation. I took a couple of pictures and we headed out.
We started to take the loop road but changed our mind and headed for Cortez. In Cortez I topped off the tank to be sure we had enough to make it back home. On the way back we stopped to take pictures of Chimney Rock.
There was a moment on the road when we could see Chimney Rock and the distant Shiprock next to each other.
Since it was Saturday, we will have to sit tight until Monday when we could try to get the engine fixed.