My Ideal Road Trip Part 6

Today…Monument Valley, AZ 

For those of you who endured the slide shows of friends before the Digital age, I am worried that I will turn on the lights and find everyone asleep. So I’ll speed it along. I did want to show you Monument Valley, a special hotel off old Rt 66 in Gallup, NM, and – wait – on the way to the Grand Canyon a rather good aircraft museum and….Bodie, CA.

Anyway I’ll skip Zion National Park except to say that the rock formations were even more spectacular…

So this episode (if anyone’s still awake)  is Monument Valley, where so many westerns were filmed. And if you like the rest of the travelogue and can stay awake, I’ll show you my pictures of my niece eating oatmeal for the first time (yawn). How’s that for an incentive? 😉

One thing that I learned while in AZ is that so much of the state is Navajo country. There is a good part of the state that is the Navajo reservation.

The nearest town to Monument Valley is Kayenta – part of the Navajo Nation. They had an interesting little museum there include a display from the famous code-talkers of WW2 fame but alas, they didn’t want people to take pictures inside.


As I left Kayenta I saw this bucket in the road so I stopped the car and for the good of the Navajo Nation and the Lexicans, I kicked the bucket 😉


It’s about a 25 mile drive out from Kayenta to Monument Valley. I tried to imagine John Ford and crew doing this in 1937 – complete star entourage and film crew on what was undoubtedly a rougher road. And for a movie they did this more than once – taking a break in Gallup NM, almost 200 miles away. More on that in the next episode…


You have to pay a $20 fee to see the Valley – and here’s the thing I learned – after I visited of course – to drive around these formations is a 17 mile dirt road. And it does have big potholes. My old SL with maybe an 8″ ground clearance did not like that at all. Discovered rattles I didn’t know I had.In both the car and my head.

If you have a pickup or SUV your vehicle shouldn’t complain at all.

But the take-away point: The Navajo have a service for $75 p/p they will take you on the back of a pickup (actually a flatbed with seats) and they will take you inside to the places where, say, John Ford filmed this scene or that…

Next time…


But here is the entrance…You pay $20.


You first go to base of the 17 mile road – with a modern hotel and restaurant. And in many of my shots I like to take pictures of the people in the area…


Another British couple. They do like to travel. And Hogday told me that he did not know them, either 😉





I might add that the Navajo consider this area to be a sacred place and ask you to treat it accordingly…Stay on the road – do not venture off….





Tomorrow, I’ll take you to the hotel where John Ford and movie crews for decades came to relax with a break from the shooting….


Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

Part 4 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 7 is here

Part 8 is here

Part 9 is here

Part 10 is here


Filed under Travel

11 responses to “My Ideal Road Trip Part 6

  1. ColoComment

    Bill, great travelogue! Bless you for taking the photos, the time, and the effort to put this all together.
    It IS beautiful country, is it not?
    Although I will say that I do not know how the first persons ever prospered there.

    • Bill Brandt

      ColoComment until I made this drive I could not believe how beautiful this whole area is. All of southern Utah is so beautiful. And I missed some areas simply for lack of time like The Arches.

      Like you I wonder how the Navajos survived in this desert. And then when I was in Australia in the 80s and saw the outback, which if you can believe it is even more inhospitable, you wonder how the aborigines survived

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