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USA Road Trip Part 3 – Monument Valley

USA Road Trip Part 3 – Monument Valley
July 29
09:58 2015


The following morning was spent doing some last minute shopping in beautiful Sedona before leaving for Monument Valley, about 330km away. You will recognise Monument Valley from the many movies and commercials which have been filmed there, going back to the famous Western movies starring John Wayne in the 1930’s and 40’s as well as movies such as ‘Easy Rider’, ‘Back to the Future III’, ‘Forrest Gump’ and the recent ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’.

We were staying for one night in a cute wooden cabin in ‘Gouldings Camp Ground’ and discovered early that the pets that came with the cottage had to have been included in the price, as we were received by three dogs and a proud little cat, who apparently ‘owned’ the area. We called her Smokey and witnessed her chasing the three dogs away, tail sticking up high in the air.

monument valley

There is an interesting museum at Gouldings Lodge, telling you the history of the area and showing some of the movies made there. Gouldings Lodge is also the main place to eat in the area. As with everywhere in Monument Valley Tribal Park, you will be hosted by native Navajo Indians, which makes for a unique experience. What made ours even more unique was that we thought we had gotten lost and ended up in Japan, as we were on our own in the midst of a huge Japanese tour group.

Just like most of the places included in our road trip, the sunrises and sunsets were spectacular here. The night of our dinner even included a thunderstorm and we were treated to a lightning display above the famous rock formations, the likes of which leaves Europeans speechless.

monument valley

The next morning we headed to the small grocery store near the lodge to buy provisions for ourselves and a treat for Smokey, which we enjoyed on our cute little porch with its spectacular view. When it was finally time to pack up and move on we had to evict Smokey, who had taken the liberty of making herself comfortable on the bottom bunk bed in our cabin! So if you should ever visit Monument Valley and see some dogs running looking terrified, Smokey probably won’t be too far behind!

We headed into the Tribal Park with the intention of driving the tour route in our own car, rather than taking one of the organized Jeep tours in order to save some bucks – BIG mistake! Recent heavy rain had washed a lot of the ‘road’ away. It felt like driving over the surface of the moon in a Chrysler 300! After about 2km we stopped at a car park on the desert floor of Monument Valley, where the Navajos were selling handmade jewellery. After about two hours, a chat with the locals and noticeably lighter wallets, we hit the dirt road out of Monument Valley, and Nigel especially was very relieved to find that our car still possessed four wheels and an exhaust when we finally reached the car park again!

monument valley

Monument Valley is in the middle of nowhere, but the detour is more than worth it because it has a unique landscape on offer that you will never forget. In the early afternoon, it was time to trade in the desert for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The town of Telluride at an altitude of 2667m was going to mean a complete change of scenery and climate.

Discover Telluride with us in the next part!

About Author

Martha and Nigel - BayBreezin'

Martha and Nigel - BayBreezin'

Martha and Nigel are an international couple who live in beautiful Northern Ireland. Martha is German, Nigel is 100% Norn’ Irish and they met when Martha spent a summer working in Sweden, a country they share a love for. After several trips to London, Germany and Prague together, Martha finally settled in Northern Ireland in 2010. They have since travelled large parts of Scandinavia, the US and Ireland together, as well as Portugal and Spain. Nigel has developed into a real travel expert, always finding the best deals, routes and places to stay. They got married on the Beach of Coronado Island in May 2015.


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