Monument Valley & a Papa Bear Growler

Red dirt buttes and pinnacles rise from the ground in Monument Valley with majestic authority. Millions of years old they stand like peaceful sentries, observing centuries of the passage of time. Similarly a cluster of buildings scattered throughout a small canyon in Hovenweep National Monument mark the history of life on earth. Constructed by Pueblo ancestors in 750 AD the buildings are renowned for their circular, two-story towers that mystify scientists and tourists alike. Though some are square, displaying spectacular masonry. Some buildings were perched precariously on boulders with difficult access or in the center of the canyon. But most buildings were built on the cliffs, subjected to seven centuries of weather causing the stones to tumble into the ravine, leaving only a few layers of foundation. But others are left almost entirely intact. This blend of preservation of an ancient civilization and its partial remains inspire intrigue about the people who lived and loved and laughed here.

We stopped in Durango Joe’s to catch up on emails and eat avocado and cheese sandwiches.  This town is my latest South Western love affair.  We drove down Main Street twice so I could marvel at all the stores, from funky New Age shops, to Western wear, and bars that looked like bordellos.

Drawn to the Land of Enchantment next, I remembered that several people had been awestruck that I had yet to see the Great Kivas in Chaco Canyon.  So we kept to the eastern part of the state and wound up that evening in Farmington, New Mexico, looking for dinner at a local’s favorite.

To our great delight, we found 3 Rivers Brewery. I ordered the most delicious onion soup and a fabulous stout. Jeep gobbled two dishes of rice pilaf and another berry sweet draft. There were copies jokes in the guys’ bathroom to share with others and in the ladies’ room there advertisements from a 1947 magazine about how to keep a slim waist plastered the walls.  The people were friendly, down to earth and fun. To top off the evening I bought a growler of Papa Bear Beer to take out with us to the boonies. Unfortunately it was too cold to drink more than a few sips in our sleeping bags that rested upon a bed of snow, so instead we hunkered down and fell asleep.

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