United States

Navajo County

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  • Day66

    It is November 2nd and we have started to head back towards the East. We all (Tarjei, I, Jabba & Boots) have adapted to the gypsy rhythm of packing up every few days, hopping into the car, and driving for 5 - 10 hours, then making camp (or checking into a hotel or BnB) for a day or a few days.

    When we drive, the dogs snooze in the back of the station wagon while Tarjei and I sit up front. The dogs appear perfectly happy to be along with us — providing we stop every few hours for them to jump out, sniff around, and of course heed nature’s call (whether Nature is calling them to pee/poop, or run after a cottontail rabbit which are abundant around here).

    Tarjei usually drives —because he likes to drive and I like to sleep. He is the world’s worst passenger — jumpy, white-knuckled, constantly pointing out the obvious traffic hazards (“Watch for the red truck pulling out ahead”. “That light is going to change color Soon! Look out!”). He is unable to sleep in the passenger seat, even if he is exhausted. The ONLY time that he slept there in last 14,600 km was when I was driving and pulled up to a road construction site in the Rockies. “Sorry, Ma’am, it’s gonna be 15 minutes before you can drive — might as well just sit tight!” I turned off the ignition and — presto, Tarjei was asleep. He awoke immediately when I started the car as they reopened that stretch of road.

    While we drive, if I am not sleeping, we watch the scenery — very different from home. We often talk or drink coffee or consult the map to plan the next part of the journey. Sometimes we listen to music that Tarjei has downloaded from Spotify — classical or road songs or Leonard Cohen. In Canada we often listened to CBC, but in the USA we usually cannot find NPR. Lately I have been downloading Audiobooks — currently we are bouncing between SAPIENS by Yuval Harare (history of humankind — brilliant) and DEATH OF A DUSTMAN by M. C. Beaton — (Scottish Highlands mystery — brilliant but in a different way entirely). I wish I had written either of them.

    After driving we try to go for a long walk, and if possible I swim— either at the hotel or the local community pool. It keeps us from seizing up.

    I like this routine and will miss it when we get home.

    So over the last few days we have explored Flagstaff Arizona (beautiful high elevation university town), hiked the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (dogs are not allowed below the rim), travelled to Santa Fe New Mexico (every building adobe in soft pink, coral, gold, or shades in between), and then visited Los Alamos (where the atomic bomb was developed). We have eaten lots of Southwest food — chili, tortillas, corn, squash, and beans enough to make us roll down windows as we drive.

    Now we are going South to visit Roswell for another type of “Scientific” discovery — the UFO Center.

    PS. Nov 3 today. We spent last night at a very tiny Air BnB — about 4X5 meters, in a tiny New Mexico village. We made spaghetti and drank red wine. It was lovely. Picture below.
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  • Day274

    Auf unserem Weg Richtung Grand Canyon statten wir dem Monument Valley einen kurzen Besuch ab. Wir fühlten uns wie im wilden Westen🤠. Anschliessend beendeten wir den Tag mit einem Abstecher zum Horseshoe, einer besonderen Biegung des Colorado Rivers.🌊

  • Day18

    Unser heutiges Ziel war Monument Valley, eigentlich hatten wir geplant dort zu schlafen, aber wie es so mit Plänen ist, es gibt sie um sie zu ändern 😁😜. Zuerst fuhren wir kurz vor Monument Valley noch einen kleinen Abstecher zum Gooseneck-Aussichtspunkt, wo man sehr gut sehen konnte, wie innerhalb von 300 Millionen Jahren der Fluss einen Canyon „gefressen“ hat. Die Schleifen, die der Fluss tief unten im Tal beschreibt, sind auf jeden Fall beeindruckend und ein schönes, leider nicht kostenloses Fotomotiv. Für fast jeden Park bzw. Aussichtspunkt muss man etwas zahlen. So auch beim Monument Valley, das ein Tribal Park, also ein Park der Navajo/Native Americans ist. Aus diesem Grund gilt unser Pass, der sonst alle National Parks abdeckt nicht. Den Eintritt haben wir natürlich gezahlt, eine 1,5stündige Rundfahrt für 85$/Person war uns dann aber deutlich zu happig🤑. Die aus vielen Western bekannten „Tafelberge“ konnte man auch so von der Aussichtsplattform erkennen und so haben wir lieber etwas Geld in einen Traumfänger für Lukas investiert 🤗. Wie gesagt, Pläne ändern sich und das war auch notwendig als wir feststellen mussten, dass unser ursprünglicher Campingplatz mehr als eine Stunde entfernt gelegen hätte. Daher stornierten wir und fuhren einfach mal weiter. Unser nächste Ziel ist der Ort Page in der Nähe des „Horseshoe Bend“- da dort aber alles ausgebucht ist und auf dem Weg totale Einöde ohne Campingplätze, sind wir für heute Nacht auf einen Platz inmitten eines Tribal Monuments irgendwo im Nirgendwo ausgewichen. Wo genau wir sind wissen wie dank fehlendem Empfang nicht, das einzige, was wir wissen: Der Platz ist kostenlos! Wunder gibt es immer wieder... 😜Read more

  • Day101

    Hier sind wir mehr oder weniger zufällig hin gekommen, wir wussten nur, dass es hier einen guten Campingplatz umsonst gibt. Als wir sahen, dass wir auch ein altes Dorf in einer Felsenhöhle sehen konnten, war ich super glücklich. Es kam noch besser, es gab eine kostenlose Tour von einem Ranger zu dem Dorf! Dieses Dorf wurde im 13. Jahrhundert errichtet.
    Das Gebiet in dem wir uns befanden gehört Indianern, den Navajo Indianern,dem zweitgrößten Stamm in den USA. Ihnen gehört ein riesiges Gebiet, was die Größe von Bayern hat.Read more

  • Day37

    Set off for Santa Fe with a visit to The Petrified Forest NP. Amazing whole trees and conifer pieces over this Huge badlands. Lots of amphibian fossils in the museum here in these Triassic era rocks. To show how much conservation thinking has changed, the NPS actually glued some broken petrified logs back together in the 60s. Hard to imagine we are walking in terrain when Pangea was one land mass and this was the tropics.Read more

  • Day28

    we left Durango well the town we stayed at anyway and started heading to the grand canyon. oh by the way it was Christmas! so got to enjoy a white Christmas. on the way we stopped at monument valley the views and landscape around here was magnificent especially with the snow everywhere too. we stopped at some place for lunch there got some really nice pics and then kept moving on.

  • Day19

    Some days, you just don't feel like writing paragraphs about. Some days can be summed up with experiences. That's today.

    We made it Arizona! Today was filled with desert driving, a ridiculous amount of "trading posts" (souvenir shops on reservations) and abandoned towns, gas stations or shops. The drive was beautiful.

    What we did for the better part of the day? We drove through, and walked through, the Petrified Forest National Park. This was my first glimpse of these beautiful, colorful rock formations with layers of color, in the "painted desert". We learned all about Petrified wood, which is basically wood from millions of years ago, having been moved by water ways and barrier, now uncovered have slowly transformed into rock. Gems inside beautiful rock logs, in the shapes of tree trunks. I never knew something like this existed, but very, very cool.

    We ended the night visiting Winslow, a cute little town that decided to create Standin' on a Corner, "a public park, commemorating the song "Take It Easy", written by Jackson Browne and the late Glenn Frey, and most famously recorded by the Eagles" (thank you Wikipedia).

    It must be added, that we've met great people along the way. Locals on 66 are generally incredibly friendly, but the tourists along the route are also incredible lyrics friendly. We've met an incredible amount of butch looking bikers who were friendly, and chatty, who offered to take pictures of us, who asked for pictures in return. Being in a country were the language is familiar, and communication is easy (compared to Ethiopia), working on my socializing skills has been a good challenge. I can't say I'm any more willing to approach strangers for a chat, but I'm trying!
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  • Day79

    A landmark day today, passing the 10 000 mile mark (whoop whoop). A familiar four hour drive, this time heading straight into the desert.

    The mountains made way for hills, which made way for shrubs, which made way for dirt. It was fascinating to see the terrain change so quickly. There was one thing we wanted to see on the way and that was the Four Corners where New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah meet. It was a little off track from our route and when we got there we were disappointed to find that it was closed. We were not the only ones surprised that it was closed as other drivers were at the entrance double checking that it was indeed closed. We didn't think to check as it was Thanksgiving yesterday, but it turns out that it is Family Day today. Fair enough. We got back in the car and continued to our destination, Monument Valley.

    As we approached the familiar looking monuments they can't fail to impress. Out of a seemingly desolate environment, these huge monoliths have a great deal of character. Due to their size it seemed to take an age before we were near to them. The monuments themselves are in Navajo territory and today we passed them as near as we could. We would be getting a lot nearer tomorrow as we had a three hour tour planned.

    For the rest of day, we checked into our hotel room and put our feet up for a bit. We also had a balcony with a sublime view of the monuments that we ensured we admired. We then decided to stretch our legs and pop to a local store that seemed much closer than it actually was. It was good exercise and resulted in aquiring another memento from the trip. When we got back to the hotel I noticed a two dollar bill in my wallet! At first I thought I had been done by the oldest trick in the how to fool a tourist handbook. It looked genuine enough. A look online and it turned out they are legal tender with only about 1.5 million in circulation, thereby turning them into something of a party piece with many Americans unaware of their existence. I then got carried away thinking it was incredibly rare due to the year it was circulated but that turned out to be a misnomer and it is still worth a total of two dollars. Either way, a cool addition to the mementos and sorry America, you've only got 1,499,999 two dollar notes left. With all this excitement, a quiet evening ahead was needed.

    Song of the Day:
    The Proclaimers - 500 miles (closest to a song about 10 000 miles!)
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  • Day80

    Our tour around Monument Valley was to start at 2:30pm and we had zero plans for the morning. I was pretty pleased to find that we had NBC Sports in our room and I could watch a Premier League game in bed. A great start to a promising day.

    We had a big lunch before heading off as the tour was scheduled to last for three hours. Yesterday it was warm in the sun and cold out of it. Today the sun was hiding behind a blanket of clouds which meant Alice and I ensured we were layered up as we assumed it would get cold. When the pick-up truck with seats, a roof and exposed sides pulled up to whisk us into the desert, we were pleased we had all those layers on. It was the drive to the Valley itself that was the coldest part because on entering the park, the gravelly road meant we weren't able to drive fast and therefore increase the chill factor.

    Our first stop was the visitor centre where we had a nice panoramic view of some of the most recognisable monuments here, including left mitten and right mitten. We had ten minutes to take photos and look around before we were back in the pick-up. Our tour guide was a local who was very informative throughout, doling out facts and trivia which were relayed to us in the back. He also had a wit that was as dry as the dirt around us and if it wasn't for his chuckle that followed each retort I dont think the others on the trip would have realised they were jokes. Only Alice and I seemed to appreciate the humour. The tour from this point on mainly involved driving for five minutes, letting us out of the back to take photos and then rounding us up and putting us back in again, each time getting further into the park. The tour guide pointed out interesting things to look at, like the monument that looked like snoopy on his back or the monument that looked like a sleeping dragon. It was a monument version of magic eye that once seen was both impressive and rewarding. The one that took me a while to get was near an area called Big Hogan. Here we were led into an exposed area of rock and we were asked to lean against a slanted layer of rock so that we were looking skywards at a hole in the exposed rock. The tour guide said if you look carefully you can see an eagles head, side profile on with the hole as the eye. A few furrowed brows later and there it was, as clear as... an image of something in the rock. It was fantastic to see and added a great deal of character to the various areas we visited.

    As part of the tour we were taken to a private part of the park where families lived in hogans which are house made from wood and layers of earth. We watched a woman spindle some yarn incredibly quick as we were informed about how rugs were made traditionally. The woman also braided the hair of a girl who was one of the tour group in a knot that was unique to her tribe. The tour guide explained that the warm hogan that we were in was made from wood timbers, layered with the bark of that wood on top of the timbers and then earth on top of that. There were no joins or gaps as we each inspected the interior and marvelled at its build. The cold hit us again as soon as we were out and back in the pick-up. A few more stop-off points later and it was beginning to get dark. One of the most interesting things that we saw before the darkness engulfed us were wall paintings that were from the Anasazi people who lived here a thousand years ago. They were mainly of antelope and the sun and the moon and they were pretty amazing. The drive back from our furthest point in the desert was noticeable for its lack of sound and increasing darkness. Our tour guide at one point said he would sing to us a tradition song of his people, and he begun singing jingle bells. A chuckle later and he started to sing a soft, slow chanting song that was fitting for the mood.

    On arrival back at the motel, Alice and I were exhausted even though we hadn't actually done much. Maybe it was all those trips in and out of the pick-up. We decided on an early one. Today was another fun and insightful day that will live long in the memory.

    Song of the Day:
    Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound Of Silence
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  • Day4

    Our second major stop of the day was the Navajo National Monument, a National Park preserving some of the Navajo heritage. The canyon views (yes, yes, more of them) were beautiful and the exhibits in the visitors centre well worth a stop. This was only a short stop, before the final push to Monument Valley.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Navajo County, ናቫሖ ካውንቲ፥ አሪዞና, مقاطعة نافاهو, Навахо, নাবাজো কাউন্টি, Comtat de Navajo, Condado de Navajo, Navajo konderria, شهرستان ناواهو، آریزونا, Navajon piirikunta, Comté de Navajo, Navajo, okrug, Navajo megye, Նավաջո շրջան, Contea di Navajo, ナヴァホ郡, Navajo Kūn, Hrabstwo Navajo, نواجو کاؤنٹی, Comitatul Navajo, Округ Навахо, Navajo Kontluğu, ناواجو کاؤنٹی، ایریزونا, Quận Navajo, Condado han Navajo, 納瓦霍縣

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