Well, after we stayed at Flagstaff for one night. We left Flagstaff then drove towards Monument Valley on Friday, June 18. This is the 2nd day of this road trip.
Actually, my parents visited Monument Valley about 30 years ago. They loved it because of the great views. I planned to visit there, but I could not make it at that time. I wanted to visit there for a long time. I asked my husband that if he plans to go to some national parks, I really want to go there. Then he made a plan to visit there.
From Flagstaff, the distance is about 180 miles, and it took about 4 hours, including the rest time. We drove on state highways 89,160,163. However, 4 hours of driving made us less stressed.
The view from the window eventually changed to red rocks. When we stopped at a gas station, I found that the gas price was much cheaper than Needles, California.
Also, we saw some trucks which were towing mobile homes. We do not have anything like that in Japan or even in the Los Angeles area. I felt this is a part of American culture!
Well, the view is becoming more of red rocks. Suddenly, the great view of Monument Valley appeared in front of us! I shouted unconsciously, “Wow this is Monument Valley! What a great view!”
Monument Valley is actually on the border between Utah and Arizona.
The history of Monument Valley
Monument Valley is on the border of Arizona and Utah. How was Monument Valley formed? The elevation of the valley floor ranges from 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Exposed within the valley are rocks ranging from as old as the Pennsylvanian geologic period all the way up to the Jurassic, about 192 million years ago. In the last 50 million years rain and wind caused erosion because these rocks are made from sandstone which is soft and easy to break. Still, these rocks are eroding so these rocks are changing the formation a little every year. These rocks stand like a monument, so it came to be called “Monument Valley”.
The valley and monument area are now home to the Navajo Nation, one of the largest American Indian tribes. Monument Valley is not technically a national park. It is managed by the Navajo Parks & Recreation Department.
A Navajo Indian’s tour
We joined a tour that was organized by a Navajo Indian. There were no other people on the tour besides us two, as a private tour. Our guide was a Navajo Indian woman called Roz. She explained the culture of Navajo Indians and her family story.
There were many holes in the rocks like caves, where Navajo Indians used to live. We saw a rock painting which was painted about 3,000 years ago. I felt the long history of this land. Our guide Roz played a Navajo flute. The sound was mixed with the wind and made us something nostalgia feeling.
She explained that the public school in this area teaches Navajo language besides English to kids to convey their culture. But she is concerned that these days the young generations do not care about their culture or traditions.
A video of our guide Roz’s playing Navajo flute
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This time we stayed at a small hotel called Golding’s Lodge. There are just a few hotels in this area because of this land is Navajo’s property. Actually, my parents came here and stayed at this hotel about 30 years ago. After the trip, they said how great the scenery was from this hotel and suggested a visit there. So, I wanted to come here for a long time.
Harry Goulding and his bride purchased 640 acres of property here in 1921. They built this hotel and named it Goulding’s Lodge. Harry sent photographs of the local area to Western movie director John Ford, who was looking for new places to film. Ford fell in love with the views, and he and actor John Wayne would eventually film many movies here. So, this made it popular as a tourist spot all over the world.
This hotel is like a motel style. We could park our car in front of our room. The room has a patio, and we can see this spectacular scenery from each room. The room is not so big, but simple and cozy. They have a restaurant and souvenir shop, a small museum and a small theater which we could see an old John Wayne movie.
As my parents explained to me, the view was spectacular. In the evening it was raining and windy so we could not see the sunset. However, I could see a great sunrise between the rocks. I wanted to see this view for a long time.
Well, about dinner at the restaurant, from each seat can see the valley view. This made tourists satisfied. We sat at the window seat and enjoyed the view.
The restaurant has a simple menu. Some appetizers and daily menu for main. We ordered Quesadilla for appetizer and BBQ Baby back Rib with corn cob and potato salad for main. The ribs were so tender and so tastier than I expected. It was a bit big portion for me, but I ate everything.
The specific information about Golding’s Lodge from here.
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Well, I am going to describe Santa Fe, New Mexico which will be the 3rd place to stay.
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