United States

Here you’ll find travel reports about Cortez. Discover travel destinations in the United States of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

21 travelers at this place:

  • Day12

    Day 11 - Rimming the Black Canyon

    May 3 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Woke up freezing in the RV. Eventually I forced myself out of bed & put the heating. For the next 15 minutes I was Jackie’s skivvy with her barking her orders at me. I made her a cup of tea, got the breakfast stuff out & took the rubbish out (in socks & adventure sandals). I didn’t moan, because I was feeling guilty that Jackie had cleaned up the wine debacle from the previous evening. After having a shower, I even sorted out the poop pipe on my own.

    At 9:45 am, still wearing my adventure sandals without the socks, we set off, back on US-50 through The Rockies. This scenic route followed the Arkansas River on the south side & a railroad on the other. We went through gorgeous high sided canyons, & meadows for approximately 50 miles until we arrived at Salida, a one-time railroad town. We turned off US-50 here & headed about 8 miles north to locate Browns Canyon National Monument. We failed & instead ended up down a private dirt track. Turning round was tricky to say the least.

    We returned to US-50 & soon started climbing higher & higher. Soon we were surrounded by snowy mountains & it actually started snowing. We got into a skiing region & chugged over the 11,312 ft Monarch Pass, where the snow was thick. Monarch Pass is the highest point on US-50 & straddles the Continental Divide. In theory, rain falling to the east of the Pass end up in the Atlantic & rain to west in the Pacific.

    On the other side we stopped to brew a coffee in a tiny scruffy town called Parlin, then continued on to the crossroads cattle town of Gunnison. The town was much nicer than I had imagined, old fashioned buildings & wide boulevards. We stopped at the local Walmart for a few provisions, Jackie was yearning for a steak for her tea.

    At the entrance, we were confronted by the clothes section. I had a quick browse & bought a pair of brown moccasin slippers that took my fancy. Don’t laugh, the slippers are made by Levi Strauss & cost less that $10. Not to be outdone, Jackie insisted on buying a hoodie for $15. We bought some other odds & sods, then realised that the shop didn’t sell any meat or dairy products . They were in the shop next door.

    So we unloaded our 1st trolley full in to the RV, then went to City Market & what a supermarket it was. It had everything we spent ages filling up another trolley full, including 2 juicy ribeye steaks (the upsetting cattle ranches haven’t turned as veggie just yet!). At check out, the till lady asked us if we had a store loyalty card to get our discount. We obviously didn’t, but she borrowed one of another customer & saved us $12.

    I would add at this point that every American we have come into contact with so far has been so lovely & helpful. They also can’t get enough of our accents & feel compelled to ask us where we are from.

    Next we filled up with petrol, where I went to pay up front, Jackie was too premature with the pump & broke the attendants machine. It took several minutes to fix, whilst a queue started forming behind me. It was getting embarrassing, so I pointed out to everyone that it was Jackie who had broken it. We then drove to the Blue Mesa Reservoir where we stopped beside Middle Bridge for a roll & coffee.

    We then continued on westwards to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, where we decided we may stay for the evening. Jackie was worried about the bears & we had a stupid conversation about which of us a bear 🐻 would eat 1st (more of me, but would they want an arthritic foot?). Could we stand in front of one calmly & back away or just run? Jackie apparently is faster than a bear & would run round & round a tree until it gave up!

    We arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison N. P. around 3:30pm. We drove up to the entrance gates to the South Rim & I proudly produced my $80 US National Parks Annual Visitors Pass, which allows us free entry to all US National Parks. Otherwise it would have cost us $20 for this visit. The Ranger gave us a map, informed us that there maybe some campsite spaces available & to be careful of the snow, 6” had fallen a couple of days previously.

    Our first stop was the Tomichi Point, where we got our 1st view of the Black Canyon & wow wow what a view. It was breathtakingly beautiful & more than slightly frightening as it was a sheer drop.. After several photos we drove on to the the visitors centre at Gunnison Point where we watched a 20 minute video, explaining how the canyon was formed & how virtually every attempt to explore the bottom of the canyon had ended in disaster.

    The view from the Gunnison Point was just impressive, a couple of photos, then we embarked on the South Rim Road drive, which was in places quite hair raising to say the least. I was just glad I was driving & Jackie was near the edge. Along the route there were stop off points for different lookout points. Some were at the end of 300 - 400 metre tracks.

    We stopped at & hiked to Pulpit Rock Overlook, Cross Fissures View, Rock Point, Chasm View & lastly, but definitely not leastly, Sunset View where the Gunnison River disappeared out to the west. The view seemed to get more & more spectacular. Sunset View was incredible, I would be tempted to use the ‘A’ word, but I can’t bring myself to. Neither my photos & definitely not my descriptions will do justice to the sheer majestic beauty of the Black Canyon. The other massive bonus was that there were so few people around that we had each of the lookout points to ourself. In the silence you could hear the Gunnison River thundering along some 1800 ft below us & numerous hawks soaring on the thermals.

    We called it a day at Sunset View, then drove back along South Rim Road to the South Rim Campground. There were more RVs & caravans than we were expecting (about 10), but we found ourselves a nice private spot with electric hook up still in the sunshine.

    We supped a couple of Colorado Native beers in the setting sun with stupid grins on our faces, but jumped every time there was a rustle in the hedgerow. This was not helped by a sign on our table warning us of bears. Bizarrely we had 2 minutes of snow as the sun went down.

    When the sun went down the temperature dropped dramatically causing us to take shelter & get the heating. We didn’t bother with cooking, just rolls, nuts & popcorn.

    For me it was the best day of our trip so far, particularly as we think we don’t have to pay to stay in the park. Tomorrow, however, could be even better.

    FITBIT = 9,995 steps / 4.64 miles

    Song of the Day - Canyon by Joseph.
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  • Day13

    Day 12 - Million Dollar Highway

    May 4 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    Woke up utterly freezing. I put the heating on, made a cup of tea & waited for Jackie to surface. Outside my wine stained shorts that we had left out to dry were frozen solid, however there was not a single cloud in the sky.

    Just before 9.00am, we set out on the South Rim Road again, this time to visit the lookout spots we didn’t see the previous day. 1st was Devils Lookout, followed by Painted Wall View, Dragon Point and back to Sunset View. In total we did a couples of miles of walking at an altitude of 8000 ft.. The views were just amazing, if not better, with the sun in east giving a different light.

    Around 10.30 am we rejoined the US-50 & drove into Montrose, which is the main town for the region. We turned left & headed south on Highway 550. It was a fairly straight blast through Ridgeway & down to Ouray with a back drop of the San Juan Mountains.

    At Ouray, we stopped for a coffee beside the Hot Springs Park, where several old ladies were wallowing in the pools. We sat on a bench in front of a meadow, where a middle aged man, all muscles & wearing just a pair of shorts ran round & round & performed various exercises. Inspired to exercise, I did a couple of star jumps.

    Feeling much fitter, we set out on the Million Dollar Highway, which took us steeply upwards on a narrow precarious winding road. My arms were aching by the time we reached Red Mountain Pass, it’s highest point at over 11,000 ft. Most of the way down the other side was as equally testing. We arrived in the mining town of Silverton about an hour later having now completed the Million Dollar Highway which is only 24 miles long. It is an exhilarating drive, but not for the faint hearted. It was definitely tricky trying to take photos whilst driving at the same time. It is easy to understand why MDH is one of the best-loved roads in America.

    There are 3 possible explanations as to how MDH got it’s name. The 1st is that a traveller on completing the route declared “If you gave me a million dollars I wouldn’t go over it again “. The 2nd is the it cost that amount to build in the 1930s. The 3rd & considered most likely explanation is that the road builders used the waste product from the local gold & silver mines & only years later was it realised that the road contained ore worth a million dollars.

    We drove up & down the main drag in Silverton, then continued along Highway 550 towards Durango. Again we had to scale another San Juan mountain, then past Purgatory Skiing Resort & Glacier Golf Course before having a fast wide descent into Durango.

    Durango didn’t look much, but it had incredibly large number of motels, so presumably something about it attracted visitors. The region is very outdoorsy, we were amazed how many cyclists (and some runners) we saw on the road between Ouray & Durango, as well as in Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP.

    At Durango we turned right and picked up Highway 160 westbound. We sped straight past the town of Mancos & pulled off at Mesa Verde National Park. We felt it would be rude no to stop, particularly as we had our NP Pass so we stopped & headed for the visitors centre. Mesa Verde NP is all about the Ancestral Pueblo people & how they lived about 550 AD. We decided we would give it an hour of our time.

    At the ticket desk in the visitors centre, I presented our NP Pass & said to the Ranger that we didn’t want a tour, just a look around. She said, “Well how long have you got?” When I said, “About an hour”, she laughed & said it was a 45 minute drive through the park to the site. We made our excuses & left.

    Instead we continued on to the town of Cortez & stopped at the KOA campground where we secured a spot for the night. Unfortunately this KOA did not sell propane & we were desperately low. It was only that morning we realised that we had been boiling the water in our 24/7 for the whole week . We we directed to a garage that would sell it, so we drove out. For the next hour or so it was a total farce as we went from one side of Cortez to the other & back again looking for someone to fill up our propane. On the 5th attempt & now 5 miles out of town we found an old boy at Garden Gas who helped us. To add insult to injury, he filled our propane tank up to full for $2.40. Apparently it was still over half full - indicators are notoriously unreliable.

    Finally back at the KOA, we sat in the really warm sun with a beer & Jackie made that much anticipated steak & salad, which was a huge success.

    FITBIT = 7,312 steps / 3.39 miles.

    Song of the Day - Holy Mountain by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 🦅

    Bonus Song of the Day :-

    Gas Panic! by Oasis
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  • Day15

    Mesa Verde Nationalpark

    June 1 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Heute sind wir nur ein kurzes Stückchen bis zum Mesa Verde NP gefahren. Hier haben wir auf dem Morefield Campground die Site 236 bezogen und sind dann noch ein paar Meilen zu einigen Aussichtspunkten gefahren.

  • Day29


    April 30, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Da es draussen grau-weiss ist, nutzen wir die Zeit um unseren Blog etwas zu aktualisieren...
    Am Monument Valley vorbei ging unsere Fahrt via weniger bekannte Aussichtsstrassen: den Moki Dugway und durch das Valley of the Gods. Somit kamen ca. weitere 40km Schotterstrasse dazu, welche sich aber absolut lohnten.
    Von Cortez in Colorado besuchten wir den bekannten Mesa Verde Nationalpark mit den sehr gut erhaltenen Cliff Dwellings. Ebenfalls machten wir einen Ausflug in die Rocky Mountains und den Skiort Telluride. Die Passstrasse dorthin führte uns auf über 3000m, da ist der Frühling noch nicht ganz angekommen...
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  • Day28

    day 25: Durango

    December 24, 2015 in the United States ⋅ 🌫 -5 °C

    we left Albuquerque and started making our way to Durango to go snowmobiling. we got to some beautiful views on the way. once we got to Durango it was full on snowing. snow everywhere. we were high up on this mountain it was crazily beautiful views. the snowmobiling was good fun I didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else but I was still happy to have done it. got it stuck at one stage ha but not as bad as a couple of others. once we finished we went in for some hot chocolates ( and baileys) that night we dressed up in some Christmas sweaters I wore Grinch pants and a Christmas bag over my top was quality. that night we partied on into Chrissy day walked home done snow angels was a really good night!Read more

  • Day8

    Cortez KOA

    August 24 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    Is this this a gorgeous location or what? The north side of the Mesa Verde is that cliff taking up the entire width of the photo in the background. It’s huge!

    Our little trailer is neatly tucked into the shade of a very nice tree. The sun is hot, but we are blessed with shade.

  • Day9

    Main Street Brewery & Restaurant

    August 25 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 90 °F

    After a tough day of playing tourist in the beating sun, we felt we needed some liquid refreshment. We opted for the Main Street Brew Pub that turned out to have a STELLAR selection of brews. We got 10 samples and had a bang up time comparing tastes, aromas, finishes, and checking out the blended components individually. The burger was danged good, too!Read more

  • Day10

    Leaving Cortez

    August 26 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

    We’ve had a good day’s rest and two comfortable nights’ sleep as the temperature dipped into the 50’s. We were snug under our down comforter.

    We have travelled over 2000 miles now and are 2/3 of the way to Vancouver. We have a long drive to Salt Lake City today. We’re just glad we’re not traveling East. We’d be blind!Read more

  • Day9

    More on the Limousine Ranch

    August 25 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 82 °F

    Someone commented on an earlier post that it was a good thing we did not explore the most intriguing Limousine Ranch that we passed. They thought it was mating season for limousines, and they hear that limousines can get quite testy around that time.

    If that is the case we are certainly fortunate that we demurred. The nice lady at the Amarillo KOA had offered us the option of riding to the Big Texan Steak House on the restaurant’s limousine service. We declined, but did see the limo drive into the parking lot. I found a photo of the limousine online that I share below, though you lose something by not being able to see the driver wore a sombrero that took up half the front seat and a grin almost as wide.

    I also found a photo of the female of the species. You definitely would NOT want to tangle with these two when they were batting eyes, or waving longhorns.
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  • Day8

    Wilson L Nicoll botched shot competition

    August 24 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    You can see what we are up against! I’m SURE my dad never had such miserable failures. But then he had a REAL camera, not a hair-trigger phone that is too big for its britches if only it had some.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Cortez, كورتيز, Кортез, کورتز، کلرادو, CEZ, Кортес, कर्टेज, Tsé Yaatóhí, 81321, کورٹیز، کولوراڈو, 科尔特斯

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