Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Monument Valley

Our next stop was Monument Valley, Utah near the Pueblo Indian
Reservation.  The RV Resort we stayed in was in the middle of the area and was the location where the John Wayne’s movie “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon was filmed.


Lots of great amenities, with a good restaurant, indoor pool, hiking area, large gift shop, camping/grocery store, gas/propane, and even a hotel. 

The four views from out coach -

The valley and all the mountains were very unique.  There have been a number of movies that have been made in the area over the years.  Some recent ones you will recognize are Back To the Future, Forest Gump, and The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. 

The view of all the mountains aka monuments were just amazing.  We did not take a tour as the cost, to us, was not worth it as you could see just as much by making the drive yourself around the area.  We missed the stories of the Navajo tour guides and going into the reservation, but we felt we got what we wanted. As you make the drive there are lots of “pop-up” native Navajo trading/gift centers; we took advantage of stopping at some of them and got lots of history and stories by just talking to them, as they loved to talk about their land.

The drive is 17 miles and all the different monuments have descriptive names to their structures.  The names are said to have been given by early settlers and/or have a spiritual meaning to the Navajos.  Just to name a few - The East and West Mitten Buttes look like hands; Merrick Butte and Mitchell Mesa are named after two prospectors; Elephant Butte, imagine a gigantic elephant in the southwest desert; The Three Sisters is a formation of Catholic Nuns; Camel Butte a parade of camels; Totem Pole, this spire monument is an example of what erosion does to a butte and the Thumb is a free standing spire.

This was truly an amazing place and wondrous of all God has created for us to enjoy. 

In town at the local Burger King is a memorial to the Windtalkers of WWII.  For those of you that remember your history this was the Navajos that were in the military that worked in communication using their native tongue.  The Japanese has figured out the code the US was using so they were brought in to communicate with troops using their native language – it was a code the Japanese never learned.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Next stop–Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

While we were stating in Homolivi State Park we took a ride down to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.  What a interesting place.  It is amazing to us the things have developed over the thousands of years and what has been left behind.  The land here was once a vast river/flood way and over the years the fallen trees were washed down the river, were covered with silt and petrified.  Then over the years chemicals such as iron and magnesium colored the petrified wood. 

Along with the trees from the forest there were thick layers of sandstone and conglomerate that formed what is called the Rainbow Forest.  These was just as amazing as the petrified logs themselves.


There are a lot of stops along the way as you drive the park, each have their own amazing views and story.  Here are few:

Agate Bridge – petrified log across a stone ridge that is nature made.




Blue Mesa Loop is really something that is unique and has a trail that you can hike down to the valley. 

The Tepees




Newspaper Rock is another unique site as it is the location of the 600+ petroglyphs.

r From there you come to Puerco Pueblo, one the largest prehistoric site of a ancestral Puebloan village.   The area has been partially excavated and you can see from here the layout of the village.  There is also more petroglyphs along the rock cliffs that are very visible.

From here your drive continues over I-40 into the Painted Desert; you get two parks in one during this drive and can enter from the Painted Desert area just off I-40 or enter from the Petrified Forest area just east of Winslow.  Either way is is a very interesting drive and one that is worth the time.

Painted Desert – depending on the time of the day or evening you enter the area looks different and the colors vary.  Late evening the best time to visit.

The Painted Desert Inn is now a visitor center and snack area.  At one time I can see it was a great place and a wonderful place to have visited sitting out watching the sun go down over the desert.