Anthony's Wild West 2007 travel blog

Monument Valley from a different angle!

Mexican Hat, which the nearby village gets its name from

Valley of the Gods

More VoG

And more...

And more!

Last of the Valley of the Gods

The Navajo Twins

Northern Utah

Wilson Arch

Not sure yet where exactly I'm heading to today. I would like to get to Grand Junction in Colorado and start the Rockies section of this trip, but I think it is too far to drive in one day, and I never like spending the whole day driving. I was going to break the journey at Mesa Verde, the biggest set of Pueblo Ruins in the US, but it turns out the main bit I wanted to go to shuts today for the Winter! Still, Grand Canyon was definitely a better idea and I'm glad I did it. So I've decided I'm going to get through Monument Valley and the rest of the Navajo Nation and work my way up through Utah and see how it goes. See y'all later.

So I set off, not clear exactly how far I would get towards the Rockies. In the end I drove for nearly 10 hours, and got as far as I wanted to, i.e. to Grand Junction in Colorado - another new State for me. I am on the western edge of the Rockies, and am here for the Colorado National Monument, more outdoorsy stuff. I didn't mind that much driving as not only did it break the back of the distance to the Rockies, but there was loads of great scenery on the way, both amazing desert sandstone, and more greener forested mountains and canyons, and even the first fields I remember seeing for a while, when I got up nearer the middle of Utah.

I gave lifts to two seperate Navajo. The first guy stunk of drink from the night before but was very talkative and friendly. The second plain stunk and was completely messed up. Originally he was trying to get to the nearest off-reservation liquor store at Mexican Hat, but in the end I took him to his brother's in the Reservation near Monument Valley as he was in such a state. This turned out to be quite interesting as I got to see bits of the reservation away from the main roads.

Good deeds done for the day I drove past Monument Valley - strange to now be there alone - and on to detour through the Valley of the Gods. This is like a less monumental and iconic version of Monument Valley, with the considerable bonus of being just as interesting and pretty, virtually no other people at all, and a much more challenging and fun dirt road. So I had a lot of fun playing loud and fast rock music while slewing around this off-road rollercoaster amongst the scenery. Who needs one of those huge 4WDs? Great fun.

Later as I was driving along listening to National Public Radio I was thrilled to hear Prairie Home Companion (a la Garrison Keiller). And it was just like that too, except with modern and real stars (e.g Carly Simon), but still folksy and cleverly funny at the same time, like the books and the film. I never knew it had become a real thing as such. It 'tours' and is broadcast from different parts of the country, heard nationally on NPR.

I was heading for Grand Junction to stay as I heard it had a downtown, always better for the prospect of a proper drink, etc. After mucho driving around the usual American dual carriageways of strip malls I eventually found the downtown, and some wonderful and huge old 'historic' houses (i.e. over 60 typical featureless motel off the interstate and not going out for a drink. Bugger.

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