Day 38 - 2nd Time Had Better Be LuckyMay 29 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 13 °C
Predictably had a dreadful night sleep. Last thing I did before going to bed was visit the website for The Boneyard in Tucson. To my horror, the website declared that applications to visit had to be made at least 2 weeks in advance. Oh hell, I had planned to be in Tucson in less than 5 days time & we had to visit The Boneyard as it was Jackie’s perceived highlight of the whole trip.
Needless to say my mind was whirring, I couldn’t sleep & I commenced replanning the next fortnight of our trip. It was between 2 & 3am when I finally got to sleep, but at least I had a new plan. Luckily I had a lie in until 6.30am when Jackie’s phone started ringing.
Over breakfast I booked The Boneyard Tour for Friday 14th June & sent our request to be allowed on it. Let’s wait & see. After packing up, we were back on the road by 10am. We took Highway 98 south east for about 70 miles across open plains. At the end of the road we turned north on to Highway 160 for 34 miles & then at Kayenta, north again on Highway 163 for another 25 miles.
Gone midday we arrived at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park & then our clocks jumped forward an hour because the entrance is on the border back into Utah. We are getting very confused.
This time we paid our $20 fee & were given a map & told that we could take our car on the 17 mile Valley Drive which was on dirt roads. Thank goodness, it would have been a long way to come to be told we couldn’t do the drive. Jackie wasn’t that fussed about returning anyway, so I dread to think how that conversation went if we didn’t get in.
Relieved, we parked up at the Visitors Centre, took a few photos of the valley below, then had a look round the Visitors Centre & ended up coming out with a Route 66 T-shirt each! We returned to the car & commenced the Valley Drive.
I now know why we weren’t allowed to take the RV on the drive. It was a nightmare in places, massive ruts & humps, as well as a road made up of either rock, sand, stones & gravel. It was a real challenge to avoid grounding the car or hitting big chunks of rock littered across the road. Luckily, I had Jackie to advise me of the best route & tell me when she thought I was going to hit something. To make matters worse large 4x4s & tour trucks were hammering along the road throwing up stones & dust despite the speed limit being just 15mph. We prayed we didn’t finish up with loads of damage to the hire car.
There were 11 official stopping spots along the route. The 1st was for West & East Mitten Butte, which resembled a pair of hands complete with thumbs. The 2nd Elephant Butte took a lot of imagination, in fact it took us a while to work out which ‘Butte’ it was supposed to be!
Next was Three Sisters, a Catholic Nun facing 2 pupils, then John Ford’s Point, named after the Hollywood Movie Director who made John Wayne famous. As we pulled into the car park, an old ‘duffer’ with a tripod was dithering in my chosen parking space. I got bored waiting for him, so prised the car in beside him. I could see he wasn’t happy. We went off to admire the view & snap a photo or two. We returned & the duffer was just leaving. I started to reverse back, which apparently caused duffer to beep his horn & gesticulate unnecessarily. I was oblivious, but it riled Jackie who mouthed at them to “F-off”, which in turn prompted Duffer’s wife to start shouting at us to “F-off”. This could be an interesting drive!
There were several other Rock formations to see before we arrived at Totem Pole, a tall stick of rock that looks like it could fall over at any moment. It was there that we saw duffer & his wife again for the first time. He had his tripod out & was photographing plants. We walked past them but they looked the other way.
The highlight for me was Artist’s Point, which gave a grandstand view of the most spectacular Buttes. Our final stop was at The Thumb, which at a certain angle actually looks like a cowboy boot, before we made the fraught drive back out of the Valley. We think we got out without causing any damage to the car, other than it & us were covered in red dust. Some idiots were driving round in convertibles with the top down & those on tours on open backed trucks were visibly choking from the dust.
The Valley Drive took over 2 hours & was another unforgettable experience. I am so glad we made the effort to go back. I think I would have so regretted it if we hadn’t. It is truly one of the most iconic American natural wonders. Jackie also really enjoyed it & is glad we came!
We then hit the road for the 176 mile trek south to Flagstaff, annoyingly passing the Grand Canyon which we plan to visit tomorrow. Arriving at our ‘America’s Best Value Inn’ motel in Flagstaff, just after 6pm Arizona time again. We booked in, then popped out for a cheeky Panda Express. We had one each this time, because we were starving, but won’t be doing that again. We both struggled to eat it, well Jackie did!!
Song of the Day - Hello Hello I’m Back Again by Gary Glitter.
Bonus Song of the Day :-
Tower of Strength by The Mission
Monument by The SoundRead more