Saturday, October 8, 2016

Page to Monument Valley

Friday October 7, 2016

Up and away from camp early today – 8:30 – knowing we were headed to the Navajo Nation where we will be losing an hour.  Left Page headed through the reservation to Kayenta and then on to Monument Valley about 125 miles but some of the road is not great. The first thing we passed was the huge power plant that is on the reservation near Page – it provides power for a large part of the Navajo Nation.
Navajo Power Plant near Page

Typical road on Navajo Reservation
We saw numerous native homes – still many with 1 or 2 small homes or trailers and a traditional Hogan.  The thing we noticed was many more single homes with no Hogan – I asked someone and they said younger people built a home but continued going back to their parents when a Hogan is needed for religious reasons.

We remembered the Black Mesa Mining operation.  The Navajo mine coal along Black Mesa and transport it via electric train to the power plant. One of the mining operations is near Kayenta. At Kayenta we turned north for the remaining 20 miles to Monument Valley. 
Electric Train of Coal
We were in Monument Valley about 15 years ago and wow has it changed!  We paid our entry fee and drove to the Information Area – this area was a small building with rather poor restaurant and lots of tour people in the gravel parking lot….now the visitor center is much enlarged, the parking lot is paved with vendors for various tours still at a part of the parking lot.  Our hotel “The View” has been built connected to the visitor center, a huge restaurant and very nice store with all kinds of crafts.  We stopped by to get information and one thing has not changed – you can still drive the 17 mile road through the most of the “monuments” or you can go on one of the open truck tours.

We chose to drive ourselves as we had done on our first visit here.  We drove out to the first scenic view and stopped for taking photos, eating lunch and viewing the Navajo jewelry – about 3-4 families are now displaying their wares at each of 6-8 viewpoints along the drive.  That was new to us – before they had all been out along the road where you entered the park and it was a mess.  This is much better.  Bought a few things.  Then we continued along the road – perfectly beautiful clear day – the weather is much improved over our other visit when it was cloudy and windy but one thing is the same – a very rough unpaved road.  A few photos will have to tell the tale of the afternoon.

About 4 we completed the drive and checked in to “The View”.  This hotel is Navajo owned and operated and I believe about 8 years old.  It is the only hotel on the reservation and is quite well done.  The hotel blends right into the landscape.  There are 95 rooms on 3 floors and all have a view of the mittens and other monuments. I knew the views would be great but did not expect a private balcony. 
View from our room

  Nice room with all the amenities you would expect in a 4 star hotel.  The change from Sprinter for the past 15 or so nights (not counting our little room at Grand Canyon) is quite significant and we are enjoying all the frills!

Diner in the Dining Room was interesting.  We chose a Navajo Taco and Green Chile Stew (the house specialty) planning to share both.  The Navajo Taco was great and the Green Chile Stew so hot (seasoning hot) that both of us could eat the potatoes and chicken out of it but not the green chile and carrot broth.  Excellent potato soup and salad bar accompanied the entrée.  Then for dessert we had Navajo Fry Bread with Honey and Sugar….mmm good!  And the view was to die for.  Got photos of both the sunset to the west and the monuments to the east.  Very pleasant meal.
Green Chile Stew

Navajo Taco - will not load ???

Scene from Dining Room


We retired to our 4 star room to enjoy real TV, internet, cushy beds and chairs etc.  I will certainly give this place a good rating on Trip Advisor!  Hope to catch up the blog also.  Tomorrow we head to Aztec NM which is also on the reservation and we are not too sure about the RV Park we are headed to nearby.  Ben has been doing some study and is interested in going to the National Monument in Aztec.

Ben says to comment on the complications of camping with all the electronic stuff everyone carries around these days.  We have 2 I-phones with chargers. 2 kindles with chargers, 1 digital camera with charger, and 2 computers with chargers. We have it down to a schedule as long as we don’t all need to charge at the same time!  Ben installed a very nice charging station in the Sprinter cab and we can charge two things at a time there while driving….oh I forgot the GPS and Ben says the 3rd computer is permanently installed in the Sprinter with a huge storage drive that holds his collection of movies and TV shows.  What a conglomeration of technology!

The other thing that is different is the number of camper type units on the roads – we have found it necessary to plan and call ahead for a reservation if we want to stay in a certain place.  Ben says the “boomers” have joined the camping population.    

The internet here is superfast - has only taken a short time to post this blog....usually can only upload one photo at a time and takes 1-2 minutes per photo.  Tonight I am uploading 2 or 3 at a time in 15 seconds!

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