Glimpses of the Southwest…Day 1 (part 1)

I can’t believe it’s already Day 3 of our vacation and I haven’t posted anything yet. I guess when you see what we’ve been doing, you’ll forgive the delay. We’ve been busy! Since we covered so much ground on day 1, I’ll split it into two posts so as not to overwhelm you.

As mentioned in my previous post, we left the house on Friday morning. I mentioned that we were aiming for 8 am, but later Terry said he’d like to leave earlier, so we were actually targeting 6 am. No problem for me since he usually drives and I can sleep as soon as I get in the car if I need to. In reality after picking up our Starbucks treat for the road and topping off the gas tank, we crossed out of the city limits probably more like 7 am. Not a bad start to the day…it was a long day.

Since I’m sure you don’t want a blow by blow account of our 560+ mile drive (on day 1), I’ll just give you some glimpses into the highlights of the trip. As always, you can click on the photos to enlarge.

Tuba City, AZ – Have you ever heard of Tuba City? I’m guessing that most people haven’t. It’s part of the Navajo Nation in northeastern AZ. A small town of about 8000 people, and for our household, their biggest claim to fame is the fact that their High School Cross Country Team “kicked the butts” or more acurately “totally dominated” Terry’s little Bourgade Catholic High School Team (and many others for that matter) at the Arizona State Cross Country meets. If you look at the high school link above, you’ll see just how many times the boys’ team has won the State Championship. 19 times since 1970! Quite impressive, I must say! I guess there’s not much more to do in Tuba City.

After driving thru the town that brought back so many unfortunate memories for Terry, we were once again in the open desert. Unfortunately, there were road crews working on the highway and we ended up stuck in the middle of a traffic stop for at least half an hour! Yuch! So what did I do? Opened up the sun roof, stood on the seat and took pictures, of course. I didn’t want to get out of the car in case traffic started up and I would be stranded in the desert forever.

When we were finally back in motion, we had the privilege of witnessing a summer storm cross right in front of us in the distance. The haze on the right side of this photo is rain. Note the blue sky on the left. Very cool! Lovin’ the raindrops kissing the windshield with the blue sky in the background.

Whenever we drive thru the southwest, I’m always in awe of the wide open spaces that are virtually unchanged after hundreds of years. Can you imagine real estate prices around here? I’m not sure I could live in some of these areas, but others are quite gorgeous and welcoming. Talk about a slower pace than the big city…do you think you could handle it?

At 2:30 or so, we came upon a tiny little place called Mexican Hat, Utah – kind of a fun name for a funky town of less than 100 people right on the San Juan river. Here’s the town’s namesake – THE Mexican Hat rock formation. Can’t you just see the little guy peeking out from under the sombrero? Pretty sweet, huh!

And even though we didn’t have time to drive thru Monument Valley, we saw some beautiful rock formations all along the drive. In fact, just around the next curve we saw a little known, but equally interesting formation called “Charlie Brown’s Shirt” Mountain. Click to enlarge and see the zigzag striations in the rock. (Actually Terry named this formation so you might not find it when you look it up.)

About two and a half hours later we were almost to Arches National Park and came upon this awesome site called Wilson Arch right beside the highway. If you enlarge the photo you’ll see the people standing inside the arch. Unfortunately, we were running out of daylight (we thought) so didn’t have time to climb up there ourselves. We wanted to get to Arches NP, so just snapped a few pics and moved on.

We’ll call this the end to part one, since we covered a lot more ground pictorially in the park. Check back for those tomorrow…still Day 1 – wow!

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