Monday, October 8, 2012

Trail of the Ancients 2012

I left Sedona at 8:00 AM. The drive up Oak Creek Canyon was better than I expected. A row of cars was in front of me and the leader was driving within the speed limit, which was 35 MPH. So I did not have to worry about the vehicles behind me. Besides, there is no room to go to the side.
I arrived at Flagstaff at 9:00 AM and had to wait until 11:00 AM to get a site at the Black Barts RV Park.
Rhonda and Frank arrived at 12:45.
I had dinner with them at their motorhome. We are going to Monument Valley tomorrow.

This was a cold night. I had worn my winter pajamas which was a smart thing to do. Flagstaff is above 7,000 feet.
We left at 8:30 AM and arrived in Monument Valley at 1:30 PM. After setting up the motorhome, Frank and I bought tickets for the 3:15 PM tour through the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.When the Navajo ladies in the store heard Frank's last name, which is Muzzy, they started giggling. I asked them whether they name meant something in the Navajo language,they told us that it meant "round"
The RV Park is above the valley and the view is great.

After lunch and a short rest the three of us were ready. I had planned to drive our self, just like Doreen and I did in 2005, but my RV Park neighbor told me that the dirt road is in bad shape now.
We jumped on the little tour vehicle and our first stop was a Hogan where a Navajo grandmother showed us how she makes wool, which she uses for weaving rugs.

From the visitor center we could see a big part of the valley.

Once in a while I get my picture taken.

For two dollars one could sit on the horse and had a picture taken.

There are a lot of ladies selling jewelry.

Several families still live in the valley. They have to bring in the water and make their own electricity.

We stopped at a place where somebody, several thousand years ago, carved pictures on the wall . The petroglyphs display animals which lived at the time in this area.

We also went to the Eye Arch.

To get the full impact one has to lie on the back. While we laying there our Navajo guide was singing a song. It was a strange and beautiful experience. He told us that most of their songs are about rain, wind, sun and other important elements needed for a good harvest.

We were on the go three and a half hours.The weather could not be better. The temperature was in the seventies today.I am glad that I listened to my neighbor and did not drive my own car. The dirt road is really bad in some areas. The tour vehicles can also go in areas where private cars can not go.

My day did not start very good. I was trying to attach the car to the motorhome. The two vehicles were two inches too far apart. I turned the ignition key in the car and the starter mad a lot of noise but the engine would not start.
I had to move the motorhome to connect the car.
I knew that the campground in Canyon de Chelly is very small and probably has no pull through camp sites. When we arrived at the National Monument I had to circle twice to get into one of the pull trough sites they have there. I was lucky.
After a rest we took off in Frank and Rhonda’s car. We took the South Rim drive. This canyon is one of my favorite places because it is a very beautiful place and because of the good memories I have. In 1972 Hanna, Claudia and I went there. Claudia was eight years old. We walked into the canyon, to the White House. While we walked through the tunnel a shepherd came up with his flock. When he saw us he disappeared.

We walked past hogans and farms. The White House was a little bit whiter in 1972.

Now people have to use tour trucks and pay a lot of money. Doreen and I did this a few years ago.
Frank, Rhonda and I stopped at all the overlooks.

We saw the White House from the distance.

For a dollar a pretty, little Navajo girl posed for a picture.

The Spider Rock is an 800 foot sandstone spire.

The weather is still very good. Frank is predicting rain for Friday. When we were done with our tour we went to the Visitor Center.
Back at the motorhome I tried again to start the car, and it worked. I still do not trust it though. I have to start it a couple times tomorrow.
When we came through Chinle I looked for a Chevrolet dealer, they take care of Saturns now. There was none.

We are at Cottonwood Campground. The trees are not yet in fall colors.

It was cold last night. When I woke up it was 49 degrees F. in the motorhome. During the night I went for another blanket. It felt better that way.
On my morning walk I saw a small motorhome with the LOWs (Loners on Wheels) decal on the back.
I was a member for a short while in 2004. They allow no companions in the rig, only one person. So I had to quit the group.
I talked to the lady for a while. She has covered the US several times.
After my walk I started the car again. It worked fine and I drove to Chinle, went to the bank, to Burger King for doing my computer work, and then to the grocery store.
I was surprised at some of their prices. I bought grapes for 99 cents a pound, Gala apples also for 99 cents. Some of the vegetables and fruits were almost the same price as at home.
Frank and Rhonda took the guided trip through the canyon today. Since I did it several times already I stayed home.
Rhonda bought some beautiful jewelry in the canyon.

In the afternoon the three of us drove along the North Rim.
The valley looks a little bit different from this side of the canyon.

There are more ruins on the side of the canyon walls.

Another beautiful valley.

The dark clouds came up and we felt a few rain drops.

I heard thunder in the night and it rained several times. The locals are happy. They need the rain.
For us it is a resting day.
After lunch we went to the Visitor Center and watched a movie about the canyon.

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