Day Fourtyseven
Day Fourtyseven

Cortez, CO to Manti-La Sal National Forest, UT
July 29th, 2004

High Point of the Day....
Low Point of the Day......
Brian - Scaling the Moki Dugway
Theresa - The Natural Bridges Loop
Brian & Theresa - None
Miles Traveled Today
Total Miles Traveled
Miles Theresa Drove
0 (2752 total)
Sunny, hot, in the 90's
Price of Gas 
(average per gallon)
Night's Lodging
Where this Page was Uploaded
Cows and lizards
Devil's Canyon Campground
Sedona, AZ

Daily Didactic
What a great day. It began in a comfortably shaded spot at the Cortez KOA. Ken, being frustrated at the lack of roadside repair opportunties, dropped in to install a new set of points and adjust the bus' timing. We stopped in Cortez for a car wash, some coffee, and a gallery before pushing southwest toward the Four Corners Monument. Obviously, this is the point where the borders of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. Not so obviously, it is on Navajo Reservation land and there is a three dollar per head charge to get to the federal marker. Undeterred, we paid for our photo op and moved on. We drove on to the Arizona town of Kayenta, before heading north into Utah through Monument Valley. Monument valley is where John Ford made a bunch of westerns with John Wayne, which inspired a lot of other directors to make a lot of other movies there, and there is a very real sense of deja vu driving through it. The rock formations are also very cool to look at and reminded us a bit of Devil's Tower.

From there we picked up a chunk of road that has been on Brian's to do list for several years. The "Moki Dugway" is a section of Utah Highway 261 between Monument Valley and Natural Bridges National Monument. It is an awesome testament to the fact that you can put a road just about anywhere, if you don't know that you can't. In this case, it drops 1100 feet from one plateau to another in three miles of dirt switchbacks. Or, because we were heading north, it climbs 1100 feet. It has hairpin curves, no guardrails, often is the width of a single vehicle, and is unusually steep. For all of these reasons it is Brian's second "new favorite road" in less than a week. Also for all of these reasons, it is not Theresa's.

At the end of Highway 261 it is seven miles west to Natural Bridges National Monument. This is a teeny little National Monument, sporting a nice nine mile loop drive and a 26 site campground. We had initially intended to camp here, but the day was going much quicker than we had expected. We drove around the loop, peered at the three natural bridges, and decided to move on in the direction of tomorrow's goal, Arches National Park. We passed through the very dead looking town of Blanding and stumbled across Devils Canyon Campground, dead center between Blanding and Monticello, the absolute nicest campground of our trip. After a quick trip into Monticello to find some food, we called it a very productive feeling day.

Daily Pictures (Slide Show)

A nice shady morning in Cortez The lonely road to the Four Corners Monument
New Mexico welcomes us Brian does four states at once
Arizona welcomes us Monument Valley appears in the distance
Utah welcomes us Monument Valley road shot
It's starting to feel like a western... Oh, this can only be good news
We are about to begin our ascent with a switchback that comes right back over this sign It's way steeper than this picture lets on
Looking back one layer It just doesn't get any better than this
The bus takes a breather Looking back from the top
Theresa's got brand new shoes On the Natural Bridges loop, Sipapu Bridge...
...and Kachina Bridge All bridged out, on the road to Blanding

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