|FRIDAY, AUGUST 4 - SATURDAY, AUGUST 5, 2017
Set out this morning with the destination of Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ. Our first stop was at the Four Corners Monument. This site marks the only place in the United States where you can be in 4 states at the same time. They are Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. The monument has an Arizona mailing address and is located on the Navajo Reservation. It cost $10 each to enter Navajo territory. Many Native American vendors were set up in permanent stalls around the monument. They offered jewelry, pottery, baskets and paintings. The turquoise jewelry was exquisite – and out of my price range. The paintings were excellent – also out of our price range.
We traveled scenic Rt 163 from Four Corners to Monument Valley. After 2 days of nice weather it began to rain. Monument Valley is a very picturesque area used in the 50s & 60s as Western movie sets. Several John Wayne movies were filmed in the area. Because of the heavy rain and the weight of our RV we were not permitted to drive back in the valley. The roads were filled with deep muddy ruts. We had to settle for pictures from the balcony of the hotel. There was a very informative museum of Navajo history attached to the hotel. In particular was a section on the Navajo code breakers who helped the Armed Forces during World War II. I bought a small decorative handmade bowl in the gift shop. This land is also Navajo owned and again we paid $20 to enter.
By the time we arrived in Page the sun was out again. We checked immediately with tour companies about going to Antelope Canyon. This was highly recommended by the Cortez Visitors Center ladies. We had not realized the popularity of the site. All tours for the next week were sold out. After a bit more checking we found two companies who allowed walk-ins for their tours. We headed out to the canyon on the chance of getting a tour for tomorrow. The offices were closed but we talked to several guides at both vendors (they were side by side). They assured us that if we arrived early we would get on a tour.
Back in town we stopped at Fiesta Mexicana for dinner. It was recommended by 2 different locals. Oh my, they were right. Tom had a Burrito and I had the Enchilada plate – Oh Yum! Stayed at the Cortez Chez Walmart for the night – with about 18 other rigs! In the middle of the night storms blew in with thunder, lightning and heavy rain.
Saturday morning we were up at 5 AM to get in line at Ken’s Tours for tickets. We weren’t the 1st in the parking lot. We tried to book online Friday night but it would not take my order. We waited more than a half hour for the clerks to start selling tickets. Finally received tickets for the 11:20 tour. BUT the heavy rains had flooded the canyon and all tours were on a two hour delay. All employees of the two tour companies were in the canyon sloshing out water and putting down new sand to absorb the moisture. This really didn’t bother us since we take our house with us. We went back to the RV, had breakfast and caught up on paper work and some cleaning.
The clerks said the early morning tours (7 am-9am) were booked lightly and they hoped to double up tours and catch up by about 11 am. As the parking lot filled around us there were many angry people. At least 4 tour buses added to the crowd. We started checking around 11 am. I felt sorry for the girl manning the door. She was taking the brunt of the abuse from customers. All she could do was offer refunds to those who couldn’t wait and they were not happy! Our 11:20 tour started at 12:30. We walked out of the canyon at 2:00. It was certainly worth the wait!
Our Guide was Eric, a very personable young Navajo. He adjusted my camera with the right settings to get the colors inside the canyon. The Lower Antelope Canyon is underground. We descended a set of metal stairs to get inside. The flow of water over the centuries carved a maze caverns to create the various rooms. The canyon has narrow openings at the top. As the sun moves across the sky the colors inside change. We were in awe of the formations and colors. A ladder was used to climb to the upper level, still underground.
Eric’s family are farmers/ranchers. They do a bit of farming and raise cows and horses. They lease the land from the Navajo tribe but own the building that set on the land. The parking lot was still full as we left a bit after 2 pm. Next stop – North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We toured the South Rim in 2007 and decided to do the North Rim since we were so close. Again we had a very scenic route. A herd of Bison were lounging along the North Rim Road. They ambled at will stopping traffic like they owned the road, which they do! A couple from Utah who own a 1999 Pleasure-Way parked across from us. We spent some time comparing units. The husband was jealous of our headroom. He has to duck to walk in theirs. We walked out to Bright Angel Point then drove out to Imperial Point to catch the sunset. GC is still beautiful as ever. On the road out of the park we saw 8 mule deer grazing.
Our destination for the evening was Hurricane, Utah Walmart. The drive from GC to Hurricane was dark and lonely. No services or restaurants along the way. We made it to Hurricane, stopped at McDs (only place open at 11 pm) and settled in at Walmart for a peaceful night’s sleep.