Arizona & Colorado: Day 3
This morning we set out on our two part journey to the state of Colorado. Our drive began early, sometime around 6:30, when we left the grandparents, having said goodbye the night before. Our first major stop (technically our third) after having eaten at McDonalds for breakfast and getting gas, was in Page Arizona. If you haven't heard of Page here are a few things it is famous for; the slot canyons (Antilope is one, a photographers dream), Horseshoe Bend, natural rock arches, Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam to name a few. Page has lots to do. Someday I plan on returning as it would be the perfect place to base out of and see some more of the Arizona/Utah area. Right before entering Page is a pull off for Horseshoe Bend, a famously photographed bend in the Colorado River. From the beginning it is obvious we are at the right pull off. The parking lot is full of people, cars and campers. From the parking area it was about a 30 min walk on a wide sandy path. Dad mentioned it felt like walking on the beach at points, the sand was so churned up. Part of the whole experience there (and for the whole day) was how many languages were being spoken by the tourists walking to and from the canyon. I don't think I heard an American all day. Seriously.
Once at the canyon the view was stunning, as you can see for yourself. At first I was a little tentative to get out there near the edge and really look over and see the entire bend. But after reassurance that the rock I was standing on was solid and not jutting out (like many there) I set up and snapped dozens of photos.
After Horseshoe Bend we stopped and ate lunch. I picked up a few snacks at the local Walmart (also a huge mix of people, though you can always pick out the European men by their capri pants). The Glen Canyon Dam was just outside of town so we stopped in there, and I was glad we did.
Next stop, one of the 8th Wonders of the World (according to a local billboard), Monument Valley. As you near the turnoff there are several natural rock formations that really enforce the fact that you are, despite being in the middle of nowhere, in the right place.
A majority of the Monument Valley rock formations lie inside the park. If you do go, be aware that you have to pay to get in ($5 per person). From there there is a hotel and gift shop before beginning your driving tour, the most interesting part of the day so far. All of the roads inside the park are dirt roads, and by dirt I mean mostly sand and rock underneath. What an interesting ride taking our (rented) fancy Chrysler 300 on these primitive roads, bouncing around over rocks. The whole ride really felt like we were in another country, Dad began reminiscing about his travels to Nigeria. The road wound its way through all these wonderful overlooks, I really couldn't describe them all, though I must add that one of the last was my favorite.
On our way out, now back on normal, paved roads, we stopped once more to capture the monuments in the distance. If you've seen Forest Gump this is the famous hill where he ends his cross country adventure.
And to make a long story short, we are now spending the night at a Rodeway Inn in Cortez, a much larger town then I had originality anticipated.