Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Let Sleeping Utes lie

Photo by alexandralee

We are at the Ute Mountain Casino RV park (map), off 491 south of Cortez, Colorado and in the shadow of Sleeping Ute Mountain.

It was a very short drive here from our nice digs on the Dolores, only an hour. But we needed to dump and fill, and do laundry, and this place fit the bill for all of that, plus we got 50 amps of power for $23, which was handy to run the A/C's since it was 95° when we arrived. We also have access to the pool, sauna (why bother when it's 95° out?) and hot tub.

I would have spent yesterday afternoon in the pool, but instead I spent it outside working on the bay door. Just about the last thing I did before we left Bradfield yesterday, during my walk-around inspection, was to try to put the BBQ tongs away -- they live in the BBQ, in the "wet" bay, but I had brought them in after dinner to wash them. When I went to open the door, three of the four latches released, but the fourth wouldn't budge. It was already check-out time (2pm), so I threw the tongs back inside, pushed on the door till the other three latches latched, and we headed out.

I'll spare you all the gory details, but suffice it to say that bay door latches fail occasionally because one of the critical parts is a small plastic clip that holds a steel operating rod into a steel operating lever. Those parts are now 25+ years old, and so they are brittle and occasionally break. I can not get new ones. When they break, I have to do unnatural acts to get the rod to stay mated to the lever. But the real problem is that access to all of this is from the inside of the door, so first you need to find a way to get to the errant lever to release the latch. On a passenger bus, you's just open the bay door on the other side and crawl through, but on Odyssey, this bay is full of built-in water tanks, so getting to the lever was a 2+ hour challenge.

Now that the bay door is fixed, the laundry is done, the water tanks are full, and the batteries are charged, we have just two tasks left. This morning's project is to defrost the fridge, while we still have our power hookup. After the 11am checkout, we will use the dump station, and be on our way, continuing south on 491 on our way, generally, towards Albuquerque. If I'm quick with the heat gun, I might even get a few minutes in the pool before checkout.

This was a pleasant enough stop, and the price was right. The casino and RV park seem to be staffed completely by tribe members, which is something we like to see. However, apparently customer service is not a long-standing Ute cultural value -- the RV park clerk seemed put out when we walked up to buy a space, annoyed we were interrupting her TV show. When we asked for a different space, she rolled her eyes and stomped through the process. In the restaurant, we waited several minutes while the hostess blithely chatted with the cashier about nothing, failing to notice us standing there. The waitress was uncommunicative, and dinner took a looong time to arrive. At least the food was decent and inexpensive, and portions were generous on menu items -- there is also a buffet option. It's a dry res, though, so no wine with dinner.


  1. I was in Cortez a few years ago as a stop on a road trip. We had intended to visit Mesa Verde, but it was closed due to fire (Summer '03 I think). We decided instead to check out Hovenweep National Monument just across the border into Utah. If you haven't been there already and have the chance, it's a really cool place.

  2. Look at the pic on the link below and see if this is kinda what you need. If it is, at least you have a name.

    Tom Turner t_m_turner at bellsouth.net

  3. Dry reservation? Perhaps that is why the service was less cheerful than might be desired.


  4. @Ryan: We've been to both Hovenweep and Mesa Verde, several years ago on a cross-country motorcycle trip. We enjoyed both places, and even had a nice meal in Cortez, at a brew-pub there, IIRC.

    @Anonymous (Tom Turner): The part shown in the link you sent won't fit. But I thank you very much for sending it, because it did give me the key words I needed to complete my own search: "rod end clip." I found something close enough that I think it will work, here: www.clipsandfasteners.com/GM_Door_Lock_Rod_Clip_Right_Side_5_32_Rod_Size_p/a18392.htm, and, at about $9 for 25 of them, including shipping, it certainly won't hurt to try them. So, again, thanks.

    @Michael: You bet. This is also not the first dry reservation we've come across, and they are very serious about it -- they consider it a violation of tribal law to possess alcohol, and you can be arrested by the tribal police. It is, I think, something of an overreaction to rampant alcoholism among some Native Americans. The problem, of course, is running a dry casino probably means you are leaving lots of revenue on the table, and punishing your customers for something that is not really their problem. But, when on tribal lands, we respect tribal law.



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