We started our day in Durango by collecting enough fresh eggs from the chickens so that we could have eggs for breakfast.
With a loose plan, we departed Durango at 10:00AM and set out for the Mesa Verde Indian ruins, however it turns out that there is a 45 minute drive past the entrance gate before getting to the ruins. Keeping in mind that we wanted to make it into Arizona, we made a U-turn and headed back out on the road knowing that someday we will be back with enough time to tour the old Indian living spaces.
We had also been talking about stopping at Four Corners so that the kids could experience being in all four states at once. However, there was quite the line of people waiting to take a picture on the giant round ground marker, so we decided to take a picture from on of the raised overlooks and save ourselves some time...which provided more time for souvenir shopping. I don't think we will need to stop at Four Corners in the future as the kids now know and remember (I hope) the names of the four states that meet: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Speaking of New Mexico, it is our ninth state visited on this family road trip.
Continuing on through Arizona, we headed for Tuba City, a destination I have been to before, but the kids have not. Why Tuba City? Is it for the heat, sand, and wind? Not really. Actually, just outside of town are dinosaur footprints preserved in the sandstone of the desert floor. After seeing real dinosaur bones at the Utah Dinosaur National Monument, we decided it would be fun to see these actual footprints that have been verified as real by paleontologists. Because these are on an Indian reservation, there is no actual fee, just a donation if you choose.
In addition to the dinosaur footprints, there are also a few fossilized dinosaur remains, including bones and dinosaur poo.
After our dinosaur adventure, we continued down the road, going further in a south-west direction. Being in this part of Arizona, we were hoping to complete a special side trip out to a waterfall, but we knew the out and back trip on the rocky dirt road would take 2-3 hours that we did not have, so we will need to plan another trip where we cover th south-west more closely.
We considered staying in Sedona, but most options were sold out. Continuing on, we seriously considered Scottsdale and found a reasonable hotel option that we wanted, but I guess when I saw the interchange sign from highway 89 to I-40 going to Los Angeles I was too quick to take the turn off instead of continuing onto highway 17. This cost us some time, but I managed to get a picture of the I-40 sign.
The I-40 route sent us west when we should have been going south, which meant our drive time to Scottsdale got a lot longer. By the time we realized the mistake, it was much too late for a correction, so we decided to change our destination city to Prescott and find a hotel for the night.
Overall, we drove 443 miles today in the course of 10 hours, for an average speed of 43 MPH.
Tomorrow, we will be wrapping up our family road trip tomorrow with our drive back to the San Diego area. Let's hope for a better average speed tomorrow as we cruise across the hot and arid high desert and into the cool coastal region.
We will also plan to summarize our trip with a final blog post tomorrow night. Thanks for following along and we hope you have enjoyed our stories.