|Wed, 19 May: Today's drive was from the Grand Canyon to Mexican Hat, UT. Mexican Hat is in the southeast corner of Utah, so it was an easy 200 or so mile drive. We entered Grand Canyon at the south entrance and drove through the park to the east entrance on AZ 64. We then took US 89 to routes 160 and 163.
We stopped at Tuba City, AZ for fuel ($2.869/gal for diesel) and lunch. Our drive took us through remarkably beautiful desert and, US 163 took us through Monument Valley. It was a first for both of us and we were both in awe of the natural beauty.
We are currently boondocking at Gooseneck State Park which is a few miles northwest of Mexican Hat (see appropriate photos for origin of the town and park's names). This is a free campsite with no facilities, but it sits on the edge of a beautiful canyon carved by the meandering San Juan River. The views are spectacular and, now that darkness has fallen, it is utterly quiet and dark. As soon as I post this we're going outside to stargaze.
Thu, 20 May: Today we took a loop drive from Gooseneck State Park to Mexican Hat Rock (see photos) and then the long way through Bluff (aptly named as it sits at the foot of a huge bluff) and thence to Natural Bridges National Monument. We spent several hours touring the park, including a picnic lunch amid unbelievable landscape. And! We two couch spuds hiked down to Owachomo Bridge!
We returned via Utah Route 261 which includes a remarkable three mile stretch known as Moki Dugway. It starts at 6,425' elevation and drops 1,100 feet in three miles at an 11% grade." It is a narrow, twisting gravel road with multiple switchbacks and hairpin turns, and no guardrails.
Back to the campsite in time for well earned Happy Hour!