Monday, 7 November 2016

Monument Valley and on to Williams, Arizona.

Tuesday 1st November. 
M was quite surprised to see that the RV was parked between two Indian Bean trees. These are relatively uncommon in England, although M says that there is one in the grounds of Reigate Grammar School. The morning highlighted their Autumn colours in the early sunshine.
Started a bit later than hoped from Blanding and headed south. We had planned to stop in Mexican Hat but it was so small that there was nothing to stop for. M had half expected to see Indian Wigwams and a re-created Indian village, but the reality all across the Navajo Nation, which is a massive reservation area controlled by the Navajo, is rather sad. So, we kept going and stopped at Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation on the border of Utah and Arizona. Monument Valley is famous as being the site of many Western films, the first one being "Stagecoach", filmed in 1939 with John Wayne. The massive pinnacles that rise from the desert floor seemed very familiar.
Today, Monument Valley boasts a very modern visitors' centre, shop, restaurant and hotel, all run by the Navajo Nation. 
Unfortunately, we could not take the RV beyond the visitors' centre because the 17 mile loop, that takes you out into the desert, is for 4wd vehicles only - but the views from the centre were still incredible, including a pair of pinnacles called the Mittens as they are a left and right pair with "hands and thumbs".
After a quick lunch of cheese and biscuits, we drove on into Arizona. An hour or so later, we stopped in "Tuba City", which was at least a fair sized town. Here we re-fuelled and stretched our legs. We looked for Tubby, but saw no sign of him.
Driving at 55mph did give us better mileage, on this section the RV averaged 10 miles to the gallon!
Soon after, we passed through Cameron. M had said that she wanted to see small town America, but the reality of Cameron was a disappointment. It was a collection of shanty buildings, power cables on poles and detritus. There are many attractive small towns in America, but this was certainly not one of them.
As we neared Flagstaff, the ground got higher and the trees got thicker and taller. We passed a summit at 7,286 ft having varied between 5,000 and 7,000 ft en route. We passed mile after mile of "open range" with little other than scrubland as far as the eye could see and the occasional ploughed and cultivated field - often full of deer helping themselves to the new growth.
And so on to Flagstaff, where M was very pleased when we joined the historic Route 66 for a few blocks!
From Flagstaff, we joined onto Hwy 40 for the 30 mile trip west to Williams and our KOA Campsite as the sun was setting.
We checked in at the campsite office, where we saw a stuffed "Jackalope", a very rare beasty indeed - one could almost say that it was mythical! At least, David seemed to think that it was real.
We also booked train tickets for tomorrow on the vintage train that runs from Williams to the Grand Canyon south rim. We are both looking forward to the train journey and to arriving at the Grand Canyon in style.
31,920 - 284 miles today in five and a half hours. 750 miles for the trip so far.

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