August 26, 2005 GMT
Canyon Lands

Goodbye to Farmington New Mexico for now anyway and off to Canyon de Chelly.

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Canyon de Chelly is in the Navajo Indian Reservation and is a beautiful and intimate Canyon. You can camp (for free - no showers, however you can get them at the Chapter House) at the shady Cottonwood Campground.

There are guided tours of the Canyon or self guided rim drives. There is only one walk you can undertake on your own and that is down to the white house.

It is about a 2 hour walk switchbacking the canyon wall. Down and then Up again... It is really worth it and it is not to hard if you just take your time.

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Whilst here we met Shirley and Tom from Kentucky or Tennesee depending. They introduced us to thier friends including Don whos father was one of the first Navajo Code Talkers.

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One of the very exciting things about Canyon de Chelly is Spider Rock. It is a huge monolith in the middle of the canyon, pointing straight up. If you have ever seen the movie Mackennas Gold, Shaking Rock in the movie is Spider Rock

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After a few days of wandering around it was time to go. We headed across to Winslow, Arizona to look at the famous Meteor Crater. At Winslow we stopped at a truck stop cafe for a feed and a cuppa. A storm hit just as we sat down to lunch.... and then the roof started leaking and all the power went out..... a very exciting time.... the Cafe owner seemed to think that it was all the patrons fault that the roof was leaking!

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The Crater is about 50,000 years old and 500 foot deep (apparently it was 700 foot deep at impact but due to erosion it has back filled 200 feet). It is very cool. We took the rim tour which is very interesting and it expleained the recent history of people who have tried to mine the site for iron and nickel.

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Winslow to Flagstaff in another storm - the seem to be following us. At about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and high up in the mountains we decided to make the 3 hour run down to the lower lands of Nevada to Laughlin.

Arriving tired and now hot (freezing up in the mountains to furnace in the valley) we booked into the Flamingo Casino for two nights then stayed for 5! It was a nice break and a great luxury at $US25/night. Food, wine, swimming pool - who could ask for more!

From Laughlin we rode straight through Las Vegas (it was a zoo) and ended up in St George in another storm! Then onto Zion National Park. Zion is very interesting and beautiful. Worth the stop.

After Zion we decided to take in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is quite high up in the mountains in beautiful Ponderosa Pine Forrest. We dry camped up in the mountains (free camping - no services) at 9,000 feet and enjoyed listening to the Coyotes bay at the moon - hoping they were not heading our way!

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The Grand Canyon is BIG, what else can we say? It is huge and very beautiful. It is hard to take in, it is on a scale that is hard to comprehend. After spending time at Canyon de Chelly where it is very intimate and close, Grand Canyon is wide and deep.

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After the Grand Canyon we moved on to Page and then back to Farmington through Monument Valley and Mexican Hat.

Monument Valley is just like you see in the movies. Big red rocks sticking up in the middle of a flat landscape.

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Mexican Hat is really neat, a tiny town on the edge of a river. The Trading Post and motel is very cool to eat at as it is right on the edge of the cliff overlooking the river.

Posted by Julie Rose at August 26, 2005 07:38 PM GMT
 
 

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