Tuesday 4th. We have a couple of hundred miles to travel today and Sam our host advises a short detour to Blanding and the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum and then a back road to Hovenweep National Monument. Both places will give us a great deal of information about the early people who inhabited this area.Once out of fairly busy Moab the road conditions are, as usual, pretty easy. With the cruise control on we meet little traffic and can enjoy the Mountains to our left with the swathes of yellow Aspens shining out from the usual evergreen. The only real danger is the real possibility of some deer running into the road. There are constant warnings and, indeed three run in front of us during a ten mile stretch of their migration route. The occasional corpse reminds us that a collision is a real possibility. I sense that Marilyn is sitting on her hands as she keeps her eyes peeled on ‘ lookout’.
As promised, the Museum is indeed enormously informative and beautifully laid out.
We are shown the rock drawings and their importance in storytelling and maintaining identity. These drawings, the early pottery and basket work, the weaving, their ability to use astronomy and develop calendars all indicate an advanced culture while we were still awaiting invasion by the Vikings. We were able to climb into an ancient Kiva. This is a meeting room, entered via the roof by a ladder. It was used for all sorts of things but my favourite was as a meeting place for the men to ‘chat’ and share stories while imbibing the local hooch while the lady in doors prepared communal food.
” Nothing’s changed there then”, snorts Marilyn
I have no idea what she is talking about.
After a picnic in the sun we are soon on the way to Hovenweep via isolated small communities on a scenic back road.
Hovenweep is the remains of several tower like buildings and village houses that line a small Canyon. They form several little hamlets that shared this spot and the spring that sustained them. They thrived , it seems for a short while and then deserted the settlement. The reason for their move can only be surmised – a change of climate leading to famine, an attack by another culture, sickness? Little is known. But the quality of the buildings reminded me of the work of the Aztecs in Machu Picchu.
There is evidence of habitation on this site between 8000 B.C until AD 200 , long before the Puebloan peoples who came about the 12th century and disappeared by the 14th. There is so much to find out about this area but we need to move onwards through grasslands where Marilyn gets to see her wild horses running semi wild. They are all branded and are all probably Navajo owned.
We arrive at our very comfortable farm Airbnb in time to settle before getting out for our first ( and probably last ) ‘ Serious Texas BBQ ‘ supper. This consists of mega portioned fast food either in a wrap or on bread. Marilyn had beef and her plate contained half a cow I swear. My pulled pork wrap was loaded with a ton of potatoes in cheese. Folk were eating these and then having the huge puddings while filling up twice or more their pint and a half glasses of Coca Cola. It is little surprise that the U.S is in the middle of a major obesity and diabetes epidemic. Many are literally eating themselves to death. We notice that the huge packets of sweets are all packaged and advertised as ‘Nil Fat’.
The cane sugar industry is poisoning its people it would seem.