Published: October 27th 2009October 26th 2009
The colours are amazing.
Monday, we drove over to Bryce canyon. It’s was a good 2 hrs from Cedar city, mind you we took the scenic route. Found a little Indian shop on the way into the Park, bought some cool ornaments. Once at the visitor centre we watched the movie, bought some postcards, and had lunch. As we have missed the peak season by a week, the shuttle service has now stopped. So we got to do a self guided tour. First stop was at sunset point, where we walked down the Navajo trail. What an amazing sight, after walking down the steep hillside of soft red rock. We came to these tall spires called ‘Hoodoos’. Erosion has worn away at them over the thousands of years and left behind these magnificent shaped rocks. All the different colours are similar to that of the ‘Badlands’ but here they have been left in tall shapes. We walked down around them, there are some pine trees that have grown in amongst them, and they are tall and skinny as they have had to grow tall to see sunlight. The clear lines of different layers of rock are amazing. After our hike around there we drove to
the far end of the park. It’s actually a ridge not a canyon, so we got to look over the side. We were up at 10,000ft by then and it was cold and windy walking around at the view points. Ebenezer Bryce came to the area in1875, he was one of the Mormons that settled in the area to live and harvest plateau timber. Neighbours called the canyons behind his home Bryce’s canyon. In an interview they once asked him what it was like to live with one of the world’s scenic wonders behind his house. He replied” Hell of a place to loose a cow in!!” The Grand, Zion and Bryce Canyon are all different in there own way, but I think the beauty of Bryce’s Hoodoos and their strange shapes are the best of the three parks.
Tuesday we had a catch-up morning. It started to spit just as we were packing up so that was good. We haven’t seen rain for weeks now, and we didn’t get much. We wove our way between some big hills on the way to Page, Arizona. Lake Powell was dammed up at Page for a power station in 1985; we stopped
The two 'mittens' at Monument valley.
and had a quick look around before heading on to Monument valley, Arizona for the night. The only green grass we saw was at the golf course, the stark difference between the lush green grass and the huge bright red rocks next to them is weird .Our campsite at Monument Valley is nestled in between these massive red hills, the whole campground is red rock which got everywhere. This is ‘John Wayne’ country here; he made a lot of his cowboy and Indian movies around here. Every night they show a different John Wayne movie down at the lodge. They were just closing the heated indoor pool as we were getting sorted for tea.
Wednesday, we got up late as we have crossed the time line and haven’t really got it sorted yet. We choose not to get a tour from the lodge but rather do our own thing. They had these open sided pick up truck tours, with the sides rolled down to keep them warm and the dust out. These rocks/hills are massive islands sticking up in the middle of no where. It’s on Indian reservation land. Man did they get tucked; they got hundreds of thousands of
acres of land that is absolutely useless for anything. This is a good tourist attraction for them to earn some money, but they are obviously a bit different, sort of people. As we bounced around the unpaved, dusty roads of the park, we came across some of the ‘People’ who live in the park. They live in crappy old trailers or shacks with old truck bodies scattered around the place. A barely standing corral keeps in a horse not far from the trailer. Lean too’s and other make shift structures litter the dusty looking patch of land. Once past them you get back to the Amazing rocks again. From there we picked up our trailer from by the campground. We drove down the road to have Mackers for lunch, and then onto a place called ‘Four Corners’. It’s also on Indian land and its claim to fame is that it is the geographical corner of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Nevada states. It cost us $15 to get in the gate and then the Indian people have set up stalls all the way from the car park to the monument of the four corners. They have some awesome hand made
Monument Valley from the visitor center.
jewellery and crafts on display. We donated to their cause. From there we drove to Cortez, Colorado. Found a Wal-Mart down the road and went there after tea as we were having Wal-Mart with drawl symptoms!!
Thursday, what a night!! I woke up about 3am FREEZING. The furnace was clicking on and going thru its cycle but wasn’t heating. So out with my torch I started checking fuses etc, nothing wrong there. I put more clothes on and another blanket and tried to get some sleep. When I went outside at 7am it was 1 degree. Kylie said the gas was hard to light last night, so I checked the bottle and sure enough it was empty. YOU’RE KIDDING!!! So yes I switched over to the other bottle and the heater started. From there we drove up to Mesa Verde’ visitor centre. We got straight on a tour of one of the cliff dwellings that are there. One good thing about not going during peak times. Tours usually run every 30 mins. Ours lasted for an hour and a half and he was in no hurry at all. About 1400 years ago the ‘Ancient Puebloans ‘settled in the area. They
Claridges all standing in a different state, at Four Corners.
lived here for about 700 years, during which time they built these elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Some had 20 rooms and about 7 Kiva’s in them, that was around the 1200’s. A Kiva is a round room built into the hillside using clay or rock bricks and filled with anything they could use as backfill, animal bones, dirt etc. It had a solid roof with one hole in it, with a ladder to get down into it, this was also the chimney. The air got sucked down a vent shaft and the smoke would come out of the hole. This was a ceremonial room like a church but was also used as a gathering place or for weaving. The doors to get into the very small rooms were either rectangle shaped or key-hole shaped. In some parts of it, the rooms were 3 stories up with balconies and steps to get to them. Of the estimated 45,000 people that once lived there only hundreds ever lived in the alcoves, but their houses were amazing. By the 1300’s everyone was gone, they had a drought that lasted 22 years and they had also overcrowded
One of the villages at Mesa Verde'.
themselves. Basically they couldn’t produce enough food to support that many people. So most packed up and moved south to where they have descendants today. Josh and I went and got the gas bottle filled up after we got back to the campground.
Friday we heading back in the right direction, SOUTH. We have sort of strayed a bit, but we saw a photo of the Mesa Verde houses when we were at Bryce Canyon and thought we should go see them. So we did. I rang dad today as it is his 7oth birthday, by the sounds of it he was receiving phone calls from all over the place. After another 6 hour drive we arrived at Meteor Crater, between Flagstaff and Winslow, Arizona. Watched the movie about how 50,000 years ago a meteor 150 ft wide slammed into earth. It made a crater 1 mile wide and over 550 ft deep. For years people thought it was a volcanic explosion that caused it, but it has since been proven to be a meteor crater. We caught a tour with ‘Eduardo’ the head curator of the museum; he was really interesting to listen to. In 1903 Mr Barringer from
Rooms and Kiva's.
Philadelphia bought the land and started drilling to find the meteor and was going to get rich selling it. He dug for 27 years looking for it, at times with 60 men working at the site. They never found anything substantial. Experts now believe that the meteor disintegrated as it hit the earth, only one large fragment was found about 2 miles away and they think that fell off just before it hit the ground. Drove to Flagstaff to stay the night. When we hooked up the water we sprung a leak!! Bugger. So we didn’t have any water for the night, had to use a water bottle to wash our teeth with and to flush the toilet. Caught up with Logan and Cam on windows live as they were having Logan’s birthday there today. It was bloody freezing again but we lit a fire as they have a bbq here by our site. Kebabs definitely taste better when cooked over a fire.
Saturday, I rang a plumber to come and look at our leak and he was $65/hr and $65 to come out to us. So I said no thanks I’ll have a go myself. So we packed up
Another alcove at mesa Verde'
and drove down to an RV place, they had no service people working today. So I showed the lady what I needed and she made me up all the bits for $25, Bargain. Sat out in the car park and put it all back together and then we were off again. Still heading south we went from 65 degrees in the last few days up to 98 degrees just south of Phoenix, Arizona. Still driving through dessert land most of the way, we finally got to Tucson about 5.30pm. Went to the 1st campground and they could only have for one night as they had something on the next night. Rang some place and they only take over 55 year olds, no kids. Guess they didn’t know how old we were. Found a place closer to town and closer to the train tracks by the sound of it, Lovely!!
Sunday, yes the trains honking and the hum of the cars going down I-10 all night drove me crazy. I was ready to go over to the office and check out this morning. But nobody else heard them, so I guess we’re here for a few days. First stop this morning
Meteor Crator, Arizona.
was Taco Bell as we saw advertised 89c for bacon and eggs. Well it was a bacon and egg burrito, so Tori asked for it without the burrito, no problems. After there we drove out to the Saguaro National Park to look at the huge cacti. Funny how they seem to grow in a certain area then you won’t see them for awhile. We caught the movie at the visitor centre, mostly told us how the Indians view them with great respect for their culture. Some grow to be as old as 200 years; they don’t start sprouting arms until they are about 75 years old. They can grow to be up to 40- 50 ft tall and weigh up to 7000lb. There’s some in Mexico that are 80 ft tall. From there we drove down to the ‘Mission San Xavier del bac, the church is acclaimed as the finest example of mission architecture in America. It was built from 1783-1797, they had three church services there today. We joined the queue to get in and have a look around. Outside they were selling fried bread and other Mexican food in make shift stalls around the car park. Kylie and
Saquana in Tucson.
Josh tried some, and then we all went to Wendy’s!! After lunch we drove up to Biosphere 2. It’s the world’s largest science centre dedicated to exploring future life on our planet. Built between 1987 -1991, 8 biospherians entered it in 1991 for a 2 year experiment. The doors were closed behind them and they had to try and see if they could survive on their own inside there. They generated their own electricity from gas. They grew all their own food and veges. It’s got a rain forest, ocean with waves, dessert and other rooms all in a big glass house. They lasted the two years but had a lot of problems of course; this was deemed to be a failure then. Not by the scientists themselves, they saw it as a success as they now know even more about how fragile the cycle of life is. Nowadays it’s used by the University of Arizona for running large scale experiments in a controlled environment. It was a pretty high tech place that’s for sure. After tea, Kylie and the kids went for a spa.
Monday , we went about 1/4 of an hour down the road to the graveyard
Awesome scary looking Cactus plant.
for most military planes. Couldn't get on the tour until 2pm , so went grocery shopping and came back for lunch. Went back at 2pm and caught this flash 40 seater bus to go on the tour. They had to check our photo I.D at 2 different places to get on the bus. Once on the air force base there was no getting off the bus. Anyway, its 2600 acres of dry dessert land which is ideal for storing planes outside in an open air warehouse. With over 4400 planes parked up with a, when they were new value of 22 billion dollars. 1st they take out all the fuel then the oils. They wash them then put this 2 coated membrane stuff over the windows and seems of the plane. It keeps the cockpit at 15-20 degrees all year round which is pretty amazing considering how hot it gets here. then they park them up. Just rows and rows of them all neatly sitting there. The later ones can be made to be used again if needed, but over the road are the ones that are now just spare parts. They have been chopped up and parts scavenged off
To show you the size of these things !!
them already. They had a skyhawk there on central parade , I nearly yelled out " Do you want some more?" I think we've still got 15 of them collecting dust and costing us a fortune somewhere in NZ haven't we?.The tour was only about an hour long but man did this retired air force guy know his planes. Kids found it a bit boring , not as bad as the old guy behind us who fell asleep!!. So back to the campground for a quiet afternoon. Kylie has been texting Georgia since she got over here, sounds like shes having fun especially since she's just hit Vegas!! We're off to see the McAseys tomorrow in El Paso, lovely theres a high wind warning for tomorrow. Its been bloody hot again down here in Tucson, high 80's everyday and just nice at night. Can't believe its snowing up where Georgia was in Montana.
There are more photos below