52 States in 8 Months

Coyote hunters in the Chaco Canyon

Posted in Las Vegas to El Paso by Ulf on May 18, 2009

Wow, what a day! Part II of what we did on March 28. Our next destination was the Chaco Canyon National Park. It can only be reached by a dirt road, but that was just fine for our Jeep. We had cleaned it the day before, so we needed a thin layer of new dirt to make sure the rental company wouldn’t be suspicious.
Now, what would we find in Chaco Canyon? Right, the remains of the Chaco Culture. That is, just as Mesa Verde, a settlement of ancient pueblos, and it is far less known (only 10% of the visitors compared to Mesa Verde). This place was inhabited from around 850 to 1150 AD. At that time bricks were the major building resource. I already told you about that in the Mesa Verde post.


The building you see on the panorama picture on top is called “Hungo Pavi“. Very impressive at a first glance, especially since we didn’t know that we had to expect much more a few minutes later on.

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One of out of many impressive observations was that they built really straight walls and accurate edges. Exactly 90°, even after more than 1000 years. And many of their houses were four to five stories tall. Can you believe that? I mean, we had many taller buildings in Europe at that time, but that’s not the point: I simply didn’t know that they have had these buildings in Northern America! In my stupid imagination those Native Americans were housing in tepees and not in solid masonry buildings that were taller and more rigid than today’s buildings.

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And although I don’t really now much about building design, they used many construction techniques that are familiar to me nowadays. Look at the windows, for example. They used window lintels (German: Fenstersturz), even though Wikipedia claims that the Greek had introduced them. I was totally astonished.

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The largest house in Chaco Culture National Park is called “Pueblo Bonito“. My pictures won’t impress you. I recommend that you either look at the place from the Google Maps perspective, or on the NPS website.

Have you seen what this place looks like from the top? Okay, then let me show you how it looks from inside. I’ve prepared a little video tour for you:

Actually, right before I took this video I read a little warning: “… requires climbing 7 stairs, descending 14 stairs and stooping through 11 narrow door ways 20-27″ wide and 41-46″ tall. Mobility-challenged individuals may want to exit the plaza …”. I’m not yet 20″ wide, but I’m way taller than 41 inches, so I should have been a bit more careful ;-).

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After this impressive experience we’ve decided to leave the National Park and head to Albuquerque. We were still about 160 miles away from our hotel, and the first 20 miles or so were dirt road. How often have I used the word “impressive” in this blog post?
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Did you notice that the title of this blog post mentions “coyote hunters”? There is one more funny story behind that, and I really want to share it with you. Unfortunately I’ll only tell you about that if someone finds the road sign and the bunny which are hidden on two of the pictures in this post ;-).


6 Responses

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  1. steffi said, on May 18, 2009 at 10:13 am


    – give way: http://www.steffi-klinge.de/give_way.png
    – something else (same picture): http://www.steffi-klinge.de/something.png
    – one way: http://www.steffi-klinge.de/one_way.png


  2. Ulf said, on May 18, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Steffi: Hammer!!! Coyote Hunters come tomorrow! :-)

  3. Anne said, on May 19, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Thank you Steffi ;)

  4. Ulf said, on May 19, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Yesterday I was in a really inexpensive motel ($40.01) in “So Soo, Neb” (South Sioux City, Nebraska), which unfortunately meant that my wireless connection broke down after a truck parked in front of my window (and I had to stand outside while checking my mail).

    Today I’ve arrived in Rapid City, SD, and I have a nice Super 8 with great wireless. Why am I writing all this? I only wanted to say:
    Steffi, I believe we don’t have these “Give way” signs here. Maybe I strictly ignore them, or they always use stop signs instead. But since you got the “something”, the “one way” and the rabbit right, I believe you’ve fulfilled the mission. :-)

  5. steffi said, on May 20, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Whew, I’m so lucky! :-)

  6. Ulf said, on May 20, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Steffi, I was wrong! We do have “give way” signs in the US. They can be found at every Interstate ramp:

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