Thursday, June 1, 2017

Monument Valley, Goosenecks State Park

Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

Even as you are driving up to the Monument Valley area (above) …

Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway    Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway
Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

…you start to see very interesting rock/mountain formations miles before it.

(Note:  This is a VERY long post...I had over 450 pictures to sift through, and cover what was three days of driving since I have not been able to post pictures for the past two posts, and remember, clicking on a picture will bring up a larger version of that picture.)

Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway    Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

We stop at the rest area/visitor’s area right off of highway 163 in front of Monument Valley…we had not eaten yet, so I cooked up some quick scrambled eggs, walked the dogs.  This visitor’s center looks like it has been converted into a center from a school.  The buildings in the upper right photo look like old classrooms, and are now places to sell “stuff”…lots and lots of “stuff” is for sale in Navajo country.  We then head east in towards Monument Valley…but the dark clouds coming in start to concern me because I had heard that to see Monument Valley, you need to drive on dirt roads.

Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway    Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

I talk to the lady at the ticket gate who says that we could not drive the motorhome into the valley unless we were going to use their RV Park (no hookups and $40+ per night…yes, that is steep), and then we could only take to the RV Park..but we could drive the HHR through the Monument Valley drive.  We decide that, with the storm approaching, we would just turn around and head on to Goosenecks.

Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

As you continue along the highway, you still come upon more monument type mountains.

Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway    Monument Valley Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

We drive on down the road, and the picture to the right is a shot looking back at all the rain we missed out on. 

Mexican Hat, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway
Soon we come to Mexican Hat, Utah…a small, nothing special about it type of town which is named after this rock formation on the north side of town.  We turn onto highway 261, which has a warning about no RVs or Trucks over 40 feet or towing vehicles…but that is for 6 miles down the road…we are only going 1 mile because we then turn onto highway 316.




Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River

We finally make it to Goosenecks State Park.  This is a Utah State Park, surrounded by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.  Entrance into the park is $5, or $10 to stay the night…no hookups, but a great view.  That is the San Juan River which runs through the canyon, forming many Gooseneck looking features as is winds around and around these bluffs.

Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River

Of course, we spend the night.  Our camping spot looks right out over the cliff into the river canyon.  We are parked well enough away that it is not a scary thing to do, and gives you great views out the front windows which we don’t even cover up for the night,

Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River

Marcia is beat and takes a nap…I take a drive.  There is a dirt road which continues along the left rim as you face the river…and this is where I take this shot…and shortly after, I hit a rock turning around to head back and there goes our load muffler sound…same sound we just fixed back in Florida after our last trip. 

Skruffy at Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River
Bubba at Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River    Skruffy at Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River

Skruffy likes the fact the neighbors are far away…and both her and Bubba are unsure of that drop off to the river right in front of the motorhome.

Sunset Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River

The sun goes down…a storm rocks and rolls us for about an hour, but by 10 pm things have settled down, and we are out for the night.

Monument Valley from Goosenecks State Park, San Juan River

Marcia is up first, and finds the morning sun lighting up the mountains of Monument Valley to the south.  We both really enjoyed Goosenecks State Park.  I got up around 3:30 and noticed many stars shinning bright in the sky…but did not see a moon.  It was so quiet all night long.  (Quiet until I start up the car to hook it up to the motorhome that is….)  There are so many photo opportunities at Goosenecks, and as the sun changes position, and clouds come and go, it puts everything into a different perspective.

Goosenecks Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

As we leave Goosenecks, we see this pyramid formation (above) off to the west, towards Natural Bridges area.  IF we took a left leaving the park, we would hit very steep switchbacks as it traverses the Moki Dugway.  Much of the roads we traveled since we passed Cameron have been part of the Trail of the Ancients, a National Scenic Byway.  Mostly Navajo lands, but also some Hopi lands too.

Valley of the Gods Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway   Valley of the Gods Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic BywayValley of the Gods Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway     Valley of the Gods Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

And as we travel north along highway 163, we see more and more formations to our west…and the sign saying “Valley of the Gods”.  There is a dirt road which travels around 20 miles through the Valley of the Gods…all dirt road, many boondocking areas.  That “was” something I was hoping on doing…driving into the Valley of the Gods, and perhaps we still will…but first I had better see how bad the car is.  Perhaps it is just a small hole that can patched up…but my thoughts are that it is the same thing we faced last year.

Bluff Utah Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway
Bluff Utah Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway      Bluff Utah Area, Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway

As we come up to Bluff Utah, the rock formations change shape and color.  I have never been to this area of Utah, and it is just wonderful.  The good thing…we are going to stay in Monticello Utah for a week at the Mountain View RV Park, just under $230 for the week, full hookups, with lots of cable TV too, but like most parks, it comes in snowy.  The great thing, fast Internet…because yesterday I pulled the antenna cord out of our new Verizon Jet Pack…and the little post you plug into came out of the Jetpack…which is part of the antenna…which means the it is broken.  The good news…Verizon is sending another one here to the park, should be here on Monday.  The other good news, from here we plan to visit Moab again, visit Natural Bridges, do laundry, and decide where to go from here.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for all of the beautiful photos! We definitely have to go there some day!

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    Replies
    1. There is free boondocking in Valley of the Gods, and other BLM and NF areas. The scenery is just outstanding. Wish we were not having aircard problems, I think we would have stayed down there and boondocked longer.

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