My first day back on the Harley and I was able to get on and off pretty well; the exercises I am doing to improve my flexibility and strength must be working! The day was perfect for riding – not too hot or too cold. We rode south to visit Four Corners Monument, which is on land owned by the Navajo Nation. The actual monument isn’t actually in the exact location where NM, UT, CO, and AZ meet, but it is close. The actual location may be about 600 meters away from the monument, although a Supreme Court ruling in 1925 determined that the location of the monument is the legal corner of the four states. It was still fun to stand there, especially since we have already been to the southernmost spot in the entire US (Ke Lae, Hawaii), the southernmost spot in the contiguous US (in Key West), the easternmost spot in the US (West Quoddy Point, Maine), the geographical center of the contiguous US (in Kansas), and the geographical center of all 50 states (in South Dakota). Maybe someday we will get to the northernmost spot (Point Barrow, Alaska), westernmost point (Amatignak Island, Alaska), northernmost point in the contiguous US (near Lake of the Woods in Minnesota) and the westernmost point in the contiguous US (Cape Alava, Washington). Who knows – we do plan to visit lots more places!
After lunch, we rode north to Dolores, an old mining town, where we visited a 20 year old museum run by the Bureau of Land Management, the Anasazi Heritage Center. This museum is a center for learning about the Ancestral Puebloan (formerly called the Anasazi) culture and other Native cultures in the Four Corners region. It is also the starting point for visits to Hovenweep National Monument and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The museum features permanent exhibits on archaeology, local history, & Native American cultures; two 12th-century archaeological sites (Escalante and Dominguez); a special exhibit about the Old Spanish trail (from Santa Fe to Los Angeles); another about the Dolores River valley; a research library of archaeology & anthropology resources; plus a research collection of over 3 million artifacts and records from archaeological projects in Southwest Colorado. It is considered the Southwest region’s premier archaeological museum. We viewed samples and explanations of Puebloan pottery, two movies about respecting the sites and about the Great Sage Plains region and its ancient inhabitants, learned about many different archaeologists who have studied the area and the techniques used by each and how the science has evolved, and got to see a life size recreation of an ancestral Puebloan pit dwelling based on an excavation of a pit dwelling built over 1200 years ago. We had been told by some others we met at Mesa Verde to plan to spend several hours there, and we did – four hours later we left to return to our RV for the evening. We have been so busy learning and touring that so far, we have not even set foot in the casino to use our “free money” given us when we signed up for our player cards. We really only signed up to get the discount on the RV park fees, but maybe later in the week we will have time to use the free money too.