Day 13 - Monumental ValleyMay 4 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C
Inexplicably, I woke up at midnight and out of the blue decided to change our route completely. After a couple of hours, l had made the decision that we were going to head down to Monument Valley today.
After breakfast, shower etc we drove out into Cortez around 9.30am to fill up with fuel ⛽️ for the adventure ahead. After another $80 of fuel we headed south to Four Corners Monument on Highway 160. I had identified a KOA campground at Monument Valley, so I implored Jackie to ring them. After a lengthy phone call with lots of flirting on her part (Luckily it wasn’t FaceTime) she secured us the very last spot in the campground with 10% discount for just $32. I was so chuffed.
Four Corners Monument is as it suggests the corners of four US States meeting at a single point. The four States are Colorado (where we came from), New Mexico to the South, Utah to the West & Arizona to the South-West. We paid the $5 dollar entrance fee & had the obligatory selfie & photo straddling all four US States at once.
We then dabbled in Arizona, before heading north on Highway 191 into Utah and Native Indian country. We had the very distant teasing glimpse of Monument Valley, but we had other things to visit first. The earth all around us turned very red.
After what felt like an age on a pretty rough road, we reached Interstate 163 (I’m never sure what to call these roads). We headed south & by chance found the Valley of the Gods (I didn’t even know it existed). We went down a short dusty dirt track, impassable if wet & stopped at a spot with great views of the Gods! Here we had lunch & I practised my panoramic & time delay photos to the point where Jackie had had enough.
We continued south on I-163 to Gooseneck State Park. It promised fantastic views of the Colorado River at a ‘gooseneck’ bend, but it required a few miles driving AND a Park entrance fee. We discussed this & Jackie told me we weren’t going in.
In silence, we drove just a couple of miles to a rocky outcrop, called Mexican Hat (not sure why). There was even a small touristy town called Mexican Hat.
As we headed south & approached Monument Valley you couldn’t be utterly impressed by the vista in front of us, it was totally mind-blowingly stunning. We stopped at most scenic points to take photos. We also risked standing in the middle of the road for that iconic photo. Easier said than done!
We passed our home for the night & turned left into Monument Valley ‘Park’ to embark on the 17 mile scenic drive. At the entrance gates, the Navajo Indian at the ticket booth informed us that we couldn’t take our RV on the 17 mile drive. We asked what our options were & he said that we could pay the $20 entrance fee, then get a guided tour for about $80 each. Oh no, we were not paying that so we arranged that we would turn around & go back out without payment.
We went to Goldings Lodge, a supposed Trading Post where they had the filmset cabin used by John Wayne in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. I had now hatched a plan that I would ask anyone at our campsite who had a separate vehicle if we could join them & split the entry price into Monument Valley park.
We drove to the Monument Valley KOA & checked in with 2 Native Indian women. We told them about our plight & that the park wouldn’t allow us to drive round & they were offering tours for $80. They agreed it was too much, but offered no solution other than to rent a jeep for $200 for 6 hours. They did say that the reason RVs weren’t allowed to drive around the park is because the roads are mud & some RVs got stuck, then sued the park for damages. There is always one or two who ruin it for everyone!
We set up in our allocated spot in the campground & what an amazing view we had. I decided to put my plan into practice & when the 1st 4x4 with an RV trailer turned up, I sought them out & gave them my spiel. At the end it, the bloke said, “What?”, so I said “Are you going into the park today?” To which he curtly replied “No”. What an absolute miserable bastard.
Note: over the last few days, most of the RVers have been miserable bastards. I have made it my mission to wave at every single one we pass on the road & recently the positive response has been less than 3 in 10 including fellow CruiseAmericas.
I returned to Jackie with my tail well & truly between my legs, then had a beer in the sun & we decided we couldn’t be bothered now any way. In our opinion we had seen & photoed the best bits of Monument Valley.
We may return in a hire car to do the 17 mile route later on our travels, which was my original plan.
We plotted our ongoing journey, next stop was Arches National Park followed by Canyonlands National Park. It is maybe we will have to stop at a campground in Moab.
Dinner consisted of sausages, salad & red wine, then bed when the sun had gone down.
FITBIT = 8,215 steps / 3.81 miles.
Song of the Day - Red Earth by New Model Army.
Photos to follow when we get some decent internetRead more