April 26th --The Monument Valley, the Four Corners and the Arches NP--

Today, I really enjoyed driving although it's a little bit tough day for my Jeep. The morning sun in the Monument Valley was already hot and I couldn't help getting out of my tent, which was almost becoming a green house. The sky was clear and I had a lot of time. I went down to the valley drive, which is a 17-mile dirt road around the Monument Valley. The red rocks in the morning ray were also beautiful. Everything was great except for a police patrol who warned me to slow down. After 1 hour drive on the dirt road, I left the Monument Valley. I took the US-163 to Mexican Hat again. Driving for half an hour, there was a sign says "Valley of the Gods." I thought it was a short turn off to a view point. I drove into a dirt again and found it a long loop. It took a long time to get to the Valley of the Gods, but it was a beautiful place with few people. The valley was painted with green dots on a red campus. I finished the second special stage and drove back to the US-163 via the State-261 and the State-316.

Valley of the Gods

I hurried to the Four Corners. Just before Bluff, I switched to the US-191 south, crossed the border between Utah and Arizona. I found signs of both state, although I couldn't find any along the US-163. I guess that's because the Monument Valley has nothing to do with "states." It's just in a Navajo's land. In fact, I found a sign say, "You are entering Navajoland" at Mexican Hat. There was a New Mexico's sign in front of the Four Corners. Staying in New Mexico may be the shortest in this journey, a half an hour or less. Although the Four Corners Monument Park is also owned by Navajo tribes, they have to care about "state" here. Around the monument with flags are shops. I really wanted to eat something special for Navajo Land. I ordered fried bread, which I don't know a special or not. Intentionally or unintentionally, the pizza-looking round bread was cut in four, just like a Four Corners. It was a sweet crispy puff. In the visitor center, I found a brochure of Micro Enterprise Loan Program. I believe this is a kind of the Grammine Program. I was very glad to see that the Grammine Program is also tried in this area. Then, I walked around other shops and bought some necklaces for my wife and daughter.

The sign of Colorado soon appeared after the Four Corners. I took the US-666 north. The ground turned green and I thought that this must be one of the definition of rich. Compared with the desert land in Arizona, the land here has water, is cultivated and produces. Driving in the farmland, I passed Cortez and found a sign again. Say "Dolores Canyon Overlook." This was the third special stage on dirt. And again, it was not a short turn off. I drove for about 20 minutes and got to a picnic place overlooking a canyon. One good point was that the canyon had more green and another was that no one was there. I took a break with a perfect privacy and went back to the highway.

The sun was slanting when I reached Moab, the entrance town of the Arches. I reserved one room and hurried to the Arches. I crossed the Colorado River. How long it is! How great this river is! The Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, etc, all are originated from the Colorado River. I took a beautiful picture of the river in the evening sun. Entering the Arches NP, I saw the visitor center was closed, although my watch showed 18:10. Now, I found that Utah uses a Mountain Daytime Saving Time. I lost one hour. I gave up to get a visitor's guide and ran up the mountain. I drove to the Delicate Arch and Devil's Garden, although I couldn't take a good picture there. One good picture was a white mountain far behind the red rocks on the blue gray sky with pink clouds.

Red rocks of the Monument Valley in the morning

The Four Corners Monument

Very short stay in New Mexico

Here is Colorado

The Dolores Canyon

A great river!

One landscape at the Arches NP

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Copyright (C) Tadao Hashimoto