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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Monument Valley

We made it to Monument Valley, Utah Monday after a very pleasant trip from Albuquerque. We traveled I-40 (uphill again) to Gallup, NM where we picked up 264 to 191 to 163 in Kayenta, Az. and from there into Monument Valley on 163.  It was a full day of 320 miles, but traffic was not bad and we were treated to some beautiful jaw dropping scenery along with gorgeous weather. We took our time with plenty of pit stops and had a great trip.  Probably my most favorite thing is traveling and experiencing the country, and yesterday was one of the best. We stayed at Goulding's Monument Valley Camp Park which is an OK park, but the the sites are pretty small and unlevel. They do have full hookups with a nice pool and restrooms. We  payed $111.34 for two nights, which is kinda high,'s all about location, location, location! Monument Valley is right on the Arizona/Utah state line and is in the Navajo Nation, which is huge in size.We're only here for two nights and have to cram a lot of sight seeing into a short amount of time. Tuesday, we traveled highway 163 to Forest Gump Hill for pictures, on through the community of Mexican Hat and to Four Corners. Four Corners is where the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah meet. It's a novelty thing with no particular significance, but is worthy of a trip. Four Corners is part of the Navajo Reservation where they have built a nice park, and where Navajo vendors sell  their wares in booths. We didn't want to go into Monument Valley until later in the afternoon so we would have better light for pictures, so the trip worked out well. Monument Valley has to be one of the most picturesque places on earth and is very high on our favorites list. We were here four years ago, and couldn't wait to return. If you folks haven't been, I would highly recommend it. It's also part of the Navajo Nation and many tours are offered through the park. Most of the tour vehicles are Navajo individually owned pickup trucks with the bed removed and a platform installed with bench seating and a cover on top. The cost of the tours range from $60 each to $160 depending on length of tour. We opted to drive our truck through the park as I have to stop every 10 feet to take pictures! I told Crickett at the rate we're going, we're going to have to buy new cameras before we get to the west coast!

We have since traveled to Moab, Ut. where we are now. We are here until Monday and hope to do some more heavy duty sight seeing in this area. Stay tuned for more!

We traveled from New Mexico, through northeast Arizona, and into Utah. These road shots were all made in Arizona.

This road ran straight for as far as we could see. It had to be 20 miles or more!

As we started getting closer to Utah, we began seeing Mesas and Bluffs.

I would actually call this a mountain. It's much larger than it appears in the picture and could be seen many miles before reaching it.

Utah is known as "The Beehive State"
Entrance to our campground. The park is nestled between large rock walls.

Front view of our site, #33. The tree on the right was hitting our bedroom slide, even after I moved the rig.

Back view of our site. It's pretty hard to get into the park without reservations.
The Happy Campers standing in the middle of Highway 163 on what's known as Forrest Gump Hill. It's called that because in the movie, this is the spot Forrest Gump decided to stop running. It's one of the more photographed locations in the country and can be seen in many commercials. We met a very nice fellow there who was shooting a video for the Utah DOT who agreed to take our pictures. He told us he was video taping that section of road because they were getting ready to repave it due to high traffic. 

Sign that has been erected to mark the spot where Forrest stopped running. There was a nice Navajo lady selling her hand made jewelry next to the sign. Crickett bought a couple of her necklaces.
Sign outside the entrance to Four Corners
Four Corners park. There is a geodetic survey marker in the center to show the exact spot where the four states meet. You can see the booths in the background. There are two more rows of the booths not visible in the picture. 
Very friendly Navajo folks selling their crafts. They even take plastic!

This was made by an elderly Navajo gentleman who said they cut the Turquoise from rock like in the pictures and then cut and polish it it to fit their jewekery. I asked if he would sell  just the rock, and he said no, that he paid about $100/pound for the rocks. He said some of it is mined near Kayenta, Az, which we passed through,  and some in Mexico.
Highway 163 on the way back to Monument Valley.

Statues of Navajo family at entrance to park

$20 per vehicle to get in the park.
Taken at overlook at entrance to park. Many John Wayne western movies have been filmed  here as well as countless TV commercials.

Folks having fun.

Wide shot of same overlook.

Part of parking lot. Many tour buses and smaller self contained RV's. were in a different section.

Panoramic shot from same overlook,

Typical tour vehicle used by the Navajos to ride people through the park.

Taken from inside the park. You can see the road, which is dirt. They've done a lot of work to the road since our last visit, but is still rough in places, pretty dusty and is 17 miles long.

These formations are called mitten buttess.

Got to get my Chevy shot in here somewhere! Glad the truck is white because it was filthy.

John Ford's Point. It was named after a Hollywood director who made John Wayne movies such as "The Searchers, Cheyenne Autumn and The Stagecoach" On our last visit, there was an Indian there who rode his horse out on the point and pose for you to take a picture,  but he wasn't there this time. He told us he had been doing that for over twenty years on our last visit.

The formation  in the background is called Totem Pole. The stack of little rocks in the foreground are called Cairns and can be seen throughout the park. I have no idea who put them there or why.

Taken from Artist Point Overlook.

Taken from same location, looking west

Road going out of park. We tried to keep our distance from the other vehicles as best we could.

Visitors Center and gift shop.

Had to take one last picture on our way out!

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! I was especially fond of the one looking westward. I don't think I've seen one from that perspective, and the light was just right to show another view of this vast and beautiful area. Enjoying your trip as if we were there...thanks!