"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Monument Valley, Utah

Shonto, Arizona
Navajo National Mon. CG

When I left off we were leaving our overnight stay at Burger King.  We drove the short distance back to the Navajo National Monument where we had originally intended on staying.  Just like the nice ranger said, the road in is a normal paved road.  This is a very small park.  There are two camping loops, Sunset and Canyon View.  Sunset is a dirt/gravel road that is narrow and has low limbs.  I would not take anything large there.  Too bad as they have some of the very largest pull through campsites.

A long pull through to the right.
I did not get any pictures of our site in Canyon View, but there are a few sites that would fit a rig like ours.  It was a very pretty park with lots of bushes and trees.  A few with Cliffside views too.  The ranger also said we could park in a long spot before the campgrounds or in the bus parking if we needed. 
I will say this, we have been over most of the area in this huge Navajo Nation and there is almost no cell reception unless you are in one of the larger tiny towns.  We barely had signal in Kayenta and strangely, while there were full bars of Verizon LTE showing in the campground in the Navajo National Monument, it was very spotty and it really only worked for calls, not data.  Steve struggled working here.  He also had an emergency problem come up that kept him working on the weekend so we had to cancel our plans to hike to the cliff dwellings that are here and then to go to Canyon de Chelly next.
 Back to the beautiful scenery.
We took a nice ride through the other, more popular park known mostly as Monument Valley.  You pay to get in and you can then pay for guided Indian tours or drive yourself through a one way, decent dirt road.  Any vehicle can drive it.  No trailers though. You actually enter through Utah.

This is the road that takes you through.  It took us maybe 2 hours to drive through, stopping to take pictures and look around.

 Some of the monuments had names, but I forgot most of them.

 Large red sand dunes.

 This one was my favorite, The Totem Pole Monument.
 This boulder was so much larger than our truck!
 Steve trying to put it back.  So strong!
 I caught this hawk flying just above me.  Not bad for an iPhone.

 A little wood structure of some sort.
 Another balanced rock.

At this overlook there was a girl trying to hold up a flag in the crazy wind while the other guy took pictures.  I thought the wind might carry her over the edge it was so strong.

 The sun was beginning to set and casting long shadows.

 Love the patterns the wind made on the sand.

 A rock with a face.

 You could also take horseback rides or photography tours.

We sure loved the colors of the monuments.  Very impressive.  We even hoped to be back at our campground for the sunset which is supposed to be amazing from the bluff.  At first it appears there is nothing from the turnoff until the campground.  But I suspect there is a home or two on the side roads as we saw some interesting wildlife you wouldn't expect to see.
 First there was this lonely cow in the middle of nowhere up here along the road.  Then....
 Geese that formed a line and crossed the road right in front of us!
Goose Crossing
Then some playful ponies.  There must be a home nearby with some open gates.  Or maybe it was just mealtime?

The sunset wasn't so spectacular, but it was a nice end to a nice day.  Tomorrow we will move up to Page to break up our drive to Bryce Canyon.  We'll be trying out the Elk's Lodge and just kicking back for a few days.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tuba City to Kayenta, AZ - Dinosaurs, Elephants & Monuments

Winslow, Arizona
McHood Count Park
Kayenta, Arizona
Burger King (!)

No, we weren't' broke down.  On our way out of Surprise we had an appointment to get the trailer tires inspected and rotated. 
It was nice to see everything with the brakes looked good since the replacement back in Placerville.
In, out and on our way!  All is good.
We drove to Mesa to have one last get together dinner at an Italian place with Trace, Guy, Sue, Harry and Vicki.  Some we'll see up in Utah.
 Lee could not be there because he was working late so he sent us a picture.  Good to see his happy face at least!
 On the way to Winslow there was this spectacular sunset!  Look at that heart in the cloud!!

We always stay at McHood County Park when we come through Winslow.  It's free and they have even done some upgrades.  No need to unhook the trailer as we're here just to sleep.
We just love visiting the La Posada Hotel.  Spring hasn't arrived yet.  Usually the grounds are landscaped very colorfully.  Either way, the history, the ambiance, the art, all wonderful here!
Steve and I just love the food too!  There is plenty of room to park large RVs along the road in front.  We always get "our usual".  Steve gets the Machaca while I love the AZ Green Chili Eggs.
 The Green Chili Eggs above and the Machaca below.

 Beautiful Spanish style.

 After breakfast we walked just down the street to Stand on the Corner.

 Then we discovered a nice little walk way along a park with some railroad history.  Very nice.

It's just a 3 1/2 hour drive to get to our next stop so we mosied along.  Instead of going through Flagstaff then heading north, we took a back way.  Turning off onto Townsend-Winona Rd brought us just above Flagstaff onto 89N.
We passed the turnoff to Bonita Campground and Sunset Crater that we'd like to visit another time, and Wapatki Indian Ruins that we have seen before.  After that, the scenery looks much like above for many miles.
 Then it changes and the color comes!  Ribbons of pink, yellow and cream.
We chose to stop along the way on Rt. 160 to visit some interesting things.  Just past Tuba City is a pull off to see some Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks.  After turning onto 160, drive about 5 miles and you can't miss the large sign.  It will be on the left side.  Of course you are on Navajo land at this point.  The Navajo Nation is the largest Indian tribe in the U.S. It has the largest reservation, spreading 27,000 square miles over Arizona, New Mexico and Utah,
They hit you right up as soon as you get out of the truck to show you around and offer to sell you some jewelry.  Our guide was really good and there is no charge, just a tip.  We had no problem with that.
 Some petrified dinosaur poop.
If you look carefully above, you can see a HUGE track.  It is raised and the 3 toes are outlined in little stones.
 This is what's left of a petrified baby dinosaur.
 Above are petrified dinosaur eggs.
  The tracks are fascinating and all over the place.
Another 15 miles takes you to Elephant Feet.  You can't miss them as they stand right alongside the highway.  These giant sandstone pillars are pretty cool to see.
Along the drive you see some abandoned buildings.  Some have been covered with colorful murals.
Large ridges and canyons open up.  Some still covered with snow.
We arriver at our next stop in the town of Kayenta which has a display of the Navajo Code Talkers.  Interestingly, it is inside of the Burger King.



We found it very interesting and large enough to be in a small museum of its own.  There is one large display and several other smaller ones throughout the dining area.  Only problem is there is so much glare on the display glass that it's hard to read some of it.  I really expected there to be more info about the Navajo's themselves, but it was mostly about the Japanese.
Once you turn north on Rt 163 at Kayenta you are only about 20 miles from the Utah border.  This causes havoc with our devices as the Navajo Nation goes by Mountain Time.  Only my iPhone seemed to pay attention to that.  The truck and all our computers decided to stay on Arizona time.  We should get to our campsite well before dark.
At this point you get just a teaser of what is to come once at Monument Valley.
When we got to what I thought was the correct campground, I learned that you need to pay attention to the similar names of the two parks here.  One is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.  The other is Navajo National Monument.  We are going to see both, but camp at one.  Of course, it's the OTHER one back the way we came.  It's was getting late, we're tired and didn't want to chance arriving at the campground when we don't know what to expect.  We were told no big rigs can fit, but the campground ranger says there are some that we can easily get in.  We decide to stay at Burger King.  That was a first for us.  It has a huge parking lot and there were already a few truckers and a camper there.  We got tucked in for the night and then another motorhome pulled in.  It was uneventful and we left early in the morning for the CORRECT park.

Did we make it there?  Did we fit?  Was there cell service?
Read our next post to find out!