To Monument Valley and beyond!

Friday, May 3

“This has been a good camp,” I say to the crew as I toss them into the Perfect Tow Vehicle.  I give Canyon View Camp at Navajo National Monument one last look.  Good. No wind.  Easy driving and no dust storms on the road today.

I’ve long assumed that Highway 160 across northeastern Arizona is monotonous.

It looks like a whole lot of nothing on a map.  How very wrong I was!  The entire drive has me spellbound.

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Rock sculpted by wind and water across the ages (Tsegi, AZ)

At Kayenta we stop for gas, groceries, and water.

I pull into the Chevron station and top off the tank for $31.00 at $3.64 a gallon.  I find Basha’s grocery is more than adequate.  A water vending machine sits in the entryway.  After loading groceries into the BLT, I put the empty water jugs in a cart and wheel it inside the store, fill them up, store them in the PTV, and we’re on our way!

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I have a dream realization moment. (That’s when I realize this was once only a dream!)

A short drive beyond Kayenta on Highway 163 north, we reach the top of a small rise.

“We’re here!” I spontaneously announce out loud to the crew.  “It’s beginning to look a lot like Monument Valley!”

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Photo taken through the windshield even though we’re parked alongside the road. Why? So I don’t have to listen to Bridget scream when I get out of the PTV!

This big rock is familiar.

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The cars and mobile homes give a sense of its magnitude.  (zoomed photo)

It’s a perfect day for a drive through Monument Valley.

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Photos probably are out of order. Does it matter? Just enjoy the ride . . .

Bridget and Spike sleep peacefully behind my seat.

Surely you've seen this rock before!

Surely you’ve seen this rock before!

Big billboards appear. 

They proclaim the presence of the Visitor Center and hotel to the right and Gouldings RV to the left.  I turn right  and roll into the waiting arms of the toll booth.  I see the NO CAMPING sign next to the face of the man who takes my $5.  A line of RVs and cars are ahead of us and in the side mirror.  This does not look good.

The massive landforms seem to shrink beyond the vehicles and tourists.

I recall photos of how this place used to be.  A plain, dirt spot where one could park and feel a part of the natural environment.  I knew it had changed with the building of the hotel, but I’m still disappointed.

Most people wouldn't be bothered by this.  I think several days of solitude makes me super-sensitive to the presence of people.

Most people wouldn’t be bothered by this. I think several days of solitude make me super-sensitive to the presence of people.

It’s noon and very warm. 

I park in the lot in front of the hotel and visitors’ center.  The crew is awake now, hopping and barking, frantically wanting OUT.  I take them on a brief potty run, self-consciously scooping up poop among the brightly dressed people with cameras.

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See the tiny vehicle on the road below.

I take a few quick photos without much enthusiasm.

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Much more impressive viewed in person!

I’d better eat something.  This is no place to have a low-blood sugar incident.  I take Bridget and Spike back to the PTV and enter the BLT.  I grab a block of cheese from the fridge and cut off a few slices.  A drink and some crackers to go with it will suffice for a light lunch.

When I step out of the BLT I’m immediately hit with the noxious fumes and roar of a huge diesel motorhome that has pulled up alongside us and is idling.  I hold my breath and rush to the PTV to find that the fumes have come inside through the open window.

Several open-sided tour vehicles circle the parking lot like hungry sharks.

People walk by with morose faces.  As I turn the ignition key, I flash back to the day I fled the parking lot of Old Faithful in Yellowstone, overcome by the crowds.

My automatic flight response takes over.

“WE’RE OUTTA HERE!”

I drive by the toll booth, turn right at the billboards, and sigh with relief as we zip on down the open road.

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I’ll do Monument Valley alone with my crew, thank you!

“Ahhh, much better.”  I eat lunch, tossing a few bites of cheese to Bridget and Spike.

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These photos probably aren’t in the correct order. Does it matter?

We’re headed toward Mexican Hat at the San Juan River.  What a memorable day!

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A drive-by shot by a lazy photographer enjoying the experience.

A decision has to be made soon.

Shall we turn right and go to Bluff, Utah?  Or shall we turn left and go to Goosenecks State Park?

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“Painted” rocks ahead . . . We pass through an incredibly vast, unpopulated area that I cannot capture in a photograph.

Let’s go to Goosenecks now and Bluff later!

rvsue

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121 Responses to To Monument Valley and beyond!

  1. Reine in Plano,TX says:

    Thanks for the heads up about the Monument Valley Visitor Center. Sounds like we may want to save our $5.00. I’ll be interested to read your comments on Gooseneck State Park. We’re gonna need some place to camp after Navaho Monument.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t want to say don’t go to the Visitor Center. You may enjoy the views and the guided tour. I get weird in places like that.

      Gooseneck is great! I’ll post about it tomorrow.

  2. Ingrid says:

    When we were there in November there were very few other folks. The cold probably kept the tourists away….thank goodness. Sorry you encountered a crowd. Hope you enjoy Goosenecks as much as we did and that the winds don’t pick up 🙂

  3. I always think of westerns and Star Wars movies when I see photos of northern Arizona.

  4. Rob says:

    Crowds ….
    I remember the last time I went to Mt Rushmore, The sculpture was the same but that’s all that was the same….A parking structure, buildings,flags & crowds. I have no desire to go back, but that’s me.

    About that trip.. one of my kids really wanted to see it (” I can die happy if I can see the mountain with the faces Dad)”. She was nine when she said that, we went that year and she died from cancer just before she was 21.
    Life is too short, don’t let the crowds stop you from seeing what you want to see or someone’s opinion from living your life like you want to.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh Rob, my heart aches to think of you losing your daughter so young. I am so sorry. I know you must be very glad you took her to see the faces.

      Thanks for that important message about “living your life like you want to.” You know, when I drove out of the tourist area I thought, “My blog readers are going to think I’m nuts. Some people would give anything to hang with these tourists in this special place.” Then I remembered my vow to live my life my way.

  5. Sandy from Lancaster, PA says:

    An enjoyable post as always and the pictures were great! I had a good laugh when you commented about Bridget screaming. We have two Dachshunds and they do a lot of that. Nice to know we’re not alone.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      So you know about screaming dogs. It is a scream, right? High-pitched, lifts you out of your seat . . . Some days I’ll do anything to avoid hearing it.

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        Oh I know all about the screaming… and screeching… and squeaking… and crying. Mugsy did it for 5 straight hours our first day RVing when she was about 6 years old. I kept hoping that she would lose her voice, but she didn’t. Every day got shorter and now it only lasts for about a half mile tops… or whenever I stop for gas or whatever. She certainly draws attention in a gas station. 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          We have the gas station episodes, too. When we pulled into Goosenecks, I parked and got out to look over the edge of the rim. Someone in a group asked, “Is that a coyote?” It was Bridget howling in the PTV.

  6. Allen says:

    Long time follower, but new to your blog emails today. Really enjoy your chat and adventures . Also I buy from amazon all the time, will now do it thru your site. Stay safe!

    Allen

    Sent from iPad

  7. mockturtle says:

    Sue, I know exactly how you feel!

  8. mary ann (pontotoc ms) says:

    glorious sights, sue & i’m right with you on the crowds! i had to laugh about bridget’s drama. lucky can even conjure up misty eyes when needed.

  9. Leander Linda says:

    I felt the same way when we went to the Grand Canyon. Glad I saw it, but we couldnt wait to leave. Too many people spoil the experience. I think we stayed for about 20 mins. Looked over the edge and said. Okay. We see it. Lets go. We had a much more memorable time just driving along some back roads. Not as spectacular, but we felt so much more like we were enjoying something natural and beautful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re so right, Linda. “Couldn’t wait to leave” — My feelings exactly.

      Last spring I drove over some pretty challenging roads through the Kaibab Forest in order to see the North Rim without crowds. Why did I leave Crazy Jug Point? Too many people!

      My most vivid memory of those days is chasing Spike chasing a porcupine.

  10. Kay says:

    Rob is so very right Sue. As much as we don’t like crowds, see what you can see and pretend you’re all alone for the moment. (Easier said than done I know)

    Gary gets up this morning and scoots out to my office and informs to it’s time to go, the sun is shining and he’s tired of waiting… he’s waited too many long years for his bucket list trip and we’re going while the doctors say he can safely travel.

    So incredibly sad Rob, I can feel your heartache and pains.

    Can’t wait for Spikey to induldge in some water. I am sure Princess Bridget will sit and watch him as he holds up a walk or two for a soak or two.

    BTW – Yellowstone is often crowded. Hoping they let all 60 plus feet of us in. Gary’s has that on his list.

    Have fun, keep the propane filled… it’s crazy weather yet in some parts.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Kay… Oh, I got to see what I wanted to see. I didn’t post photos of the many stunning sights along the highway through Monument Valley and beyond. I really enjoyed the quiet drive alone with Bridget and Spike. It isn’t necessary for me to see it all.

      Yes, get up and go! Have a wonderful trip… all 60 feet plus of you!

  11. Micky (in Monterey, CA for now) says:

    The first time I went to Monument Valley I had to get out pronto, too. It wasn’t the people though, it was just a ….feeling. I can’t explain it, but I couldn’t even get out of the truck. Very unsettling. I left not knowing where I’d end up, and I ended up at Navajo National Monument and had the wonderful experience I mentioned a few days ago…happy as a clam. I’ve since been back to MV with a group of nurses on the Rez for educational purposes, and that was a nice experience.
    The first time was one of those ‘go with your gut’ moments, and my gut said ‘get out of here’ loud and clear. I don’t think it’s ever happened to me since then, at least not that strongly.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      My reaction was a bit extreme. It wasn’t THAT crowded. So maybe what you experienced was part of what made my flight response kick in.

  12. Old Fat Man says:

    Yep Sue we are weird and it is wonderful. I am wanting to get to Goosenecks this year. In 2007 I passed close but did not stop due to my ignorance of it existing. You are getting on toward my favorite park in that part of the country…..Capitol Reef.

  13. MB says:

    I vote for Goose Neck! It is beyond beautiful! And Valley of the Gods……wow! I don’t know how your trailer would do…..I was in a truck, so I wasn’t seeing it through the eyes of someone towing. But, wow!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, we’re at Goosenecks! And Valley of the Gods is coming up soon.

      • earthdancerimages says:

        Sue, please do NOT take the BLT through Valley of the Gods. Unhitch and go. Remember my blog about the two RV’s that went through ???? Some very deep dippty do’s (deep almost ditches) that could leave you stranded between the downhill and the uphill. There is a sign that specifies no rv’s for a reason!

  14. libertatemamo says:

    I kinda had a feeling you might not stop long at Monument Valley. We stayed 2 nights only (and paid the outrageous $ at the RV park), but wanted to get back out to solitude after. So happy you’re getting to see Goosenecks! Highly recommend the drive through nearby Valley Of The Gods…it’s like your own private Monument Valley without the crowds! Tons of superb boondocking spots there too (no internet though). We didn’t stay in Bluff, but have heard lovely things about Sand Island BLM. can’t wait to see your next pics!
    Nina

  15. Lana in Phoenix says:

    Hi, RVSue. I’ve been on that road a few times, and it is incredible. A couple of times I found a radio station that was broadcast in the Navaho (I think) language, then translated into English. What a beautiful language. The station also played native music.

    Rob, so sorry about your daughter – I imagine you have bitter sweet memories of Mt. Rushmore. I grew up about 40 miles from there in the 50’s and 60’s. You should have seen it then! After all the damage caused by the Black Hills flood in 1972, the powers-that-be decided to make the Hills more “commercial.” It has never been the same. I went back once after “the fix,” and haven’t been back since.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a kind and thoughtful comment, Lana.

      It is a shame when iconic places are “improved.” I didn’t drive into the Mt. Rushmore park where the Visitors’ Center is (I’m beginning to detest that term Visitors’ Center) because I could tell it would not be something I’d like. Right up the road is a pull-out where you can see it fine.

      I wish I’d turned on the radio to that station. I hardly ever play the radio while driving, but that would’ve enhanced the experience of driving through Navajo Nation.

  16. Kentster says:

    Surprised. Thought there was a spot just east of hotel. Was a couple yrs ago.
    Goosenecks a great choice. Until wind blows. You should be fine but weather changing.
    We are in Bluff. Sand island nice and you are about to enter boondocking paradise. At least for a few weeks until black flies hatch.

    We head north tomorrow towards capital reef so will miss you again.
    How’s the Internet? And which model mifi do you have that connects to antenna?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi! Yes, there is a spot to camp. I found it depressing. (Boy, am I getting picky!) Thanks for reminding me to check the weather for wind. I’m looking forward to Sand Island.

      Internet here at Gooseneck is good, but that’s with my amazing antenna. 5 bars and 1X to 3X. You can see how I’m able to post and comment. Love it! I have the Verizon “jetpack,” 4G LTE, if that means anything. I have an adapter cord so it can be connected to the antenna’s coax.

      • libertatemamo says:

        Your antenna setup is definitely better than ours. We could only get a few bars of 1X in Goosenecks. 5 bars is awesome!! That directional antenna rocks!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I love it. And I have my friend Mick in Tennessee to thank for it. He set me up with the Wilson antenna, the adapter cord, the pole, and the bumper mount. It’s added a great deal to my enjoyment of living on the road. THANK YOU, MICK!

          • Mick - TN says:

            Your very welcome; one hand washes the other, love your blog and fellow fans.

      • mickent says:

        The model number is Novatel 4620L or 4510L. Full name is Novatel MiFi Jetpack 4620L.
        There is now a 4620LE model.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh, Mick… What would I do without you?

        • Kentster says:

          Thanks Mick!! Now I will have to renogotiate with Verizon. Appreciate it. Cheers

        • Kentster says:

          Mick and Sue
          Well. after your excellent information, I just spent past hour on phone with Verizon working out a plan and they have agreed to swap out my crummy little samsung weak jetpack for a Novatel 4620 L refurbished jetpack. It will arrive at my landhome next week and I return home mid May so will have a chance to test it out before our summer travels. I also ordered the Wilson antenna, cables and adapters and will get the plastic pipe so I can have the great setup as RVSue and crew. Woo Hoo. Hehe
          Thanks so much for help. will keep you posted as to how it works.

        • Timber n' Rusty says:

          Hey Mick, Is there a set up, as far as a booster antenna for a Sierra wireless air card ( At&t )? Does Wilson make or have one for my unit? ,, Rusty

          • Mick says:

            Hi Rusty & Timber, I need more information on exactly which air card you have. Look on the aircard for the model number.

      • kentster says:

        Hmm I have what i think is jetpack 4G LTE made by Samsung. Who is the manufacturer of yours? and it has a place to connect? any chance of posting a photo of your jetpack with connection? (ok if Bridg is in background, hehe).

  17. Florine in Louisiana says:

    Hi Sue, I am still pinching myself since I first read your blog about being loners and breathing a sigh of relief. Before I really felt there was something wrong with us. My husband Jay is a loner as well, more so then I am. It is so refreshing knowing we are normal. When we go into a campground we are very picky bout where we park plus we avoid week-ends. No crowds or groups for us. 🙂
    I’m an Amazon shopper as well and will do some through you from now on.
    I look forward to reading your blog each day…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The fact is, Florine, WE are the normal ones. We loners are happy all by ourselves. 🙂 Be proud of your lonerism! It’s a gift! No begging for someone to go shopping with you! No need to join in! Happy to skip the party! Rejoice!

      Seriously… Glad you found me and my crew. Regards to Jay. I appreciate you planning to shop through my Amazon links.

  18. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Wrong time of year to be in MV…late fall is the best October/November…no crowds. I haven’t been to MV in years but was surprised to hear about ‘visitor’s center.’ Can’t wait to see Gooseneck. My ex-husband who is from Sarasota, FL drove thru Navajo rez as a young man and he thought he heard a Chinese radio station in the middle of no where LOL….I told him it was Navajo or Hopi radio station.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rita. . . I really like Gooseneck. It’s a tough place to photograph, but I’m doing my best to put together some photos for tomorrow’s post.

  19. Hi Sue, you probably already have your plans made but I thought I would throw in some thoughts. Valley of the Gods is very beautiful and worth a stop and even a camp. Up Utah 261 toward Natural Bridges National Monument you come to an incredibly steep and switch-backed hill. The worst I have ever seen. I’ve only gone down it not up it, but it is truly bad. Once up on the plateau, it is very pretty country. Very close to Natural Bridges is House on Fire ruins. I loved it!! The walk back to it was one of the best hikes I have ever been on. You follow a little creek that Homer loved. He drank, waded in it and stayed cool. I highly recommend it to you. Wheeling It was just there so you can look at their blog for directions to it. There is very nice dispersed camping right beside the trailhead. It’s odd, but it is one of my favorite places in all of Utah.
    Bob and Homer
    http://cheaprvlivingblog.com/

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Is it okay for me to tow into that dispersed camping area? Do you mean the dispersed camping area is where the trail starts to go to House on Fire? Please clarify for me.

      LATER… Never mind. I found it on Nina’s blog. Thanks, Bob.

      • libertatemamo says:

        For House on Fire we stayed at Comb Ridge BLM which is spacious, but can get busy on the weekend with OHVers. During week is OK. When we were in the area we also scouted a few hidden boondocking spots up on the 2 ridges around Comb Wash. There were several nice sites in a wooded area just past the trailhead for House on Fire down BLM 236 (don’t drive 2331….it’s horribly rutted). We also saw several interesting looking BLM roads by Butler Ruins (233 and 262 looked promising…we didn’t drive them though so can’t say more than that). You can also boondock at the trailheads for Butler Ruins and Mule Canyon Ruins (paved areas) and both had Internet signal when we were there. Hopefully that gives you some options!
        Nina

        • libertatemamo says:

          Oops I meant to say we stayed at Comb Wash, not Comb Ridge. Our campsite was down in the wash just past the ridge. Lots of space down there.

    • Kentster says:

      We just drove down the Moki Dugway last night. Not the worst (worst if Canyonlands road down from National Park). RVSue could get up it with her trailer. or go around near Blanding but its an extra 60 miles via 191 and 95. Spike would be scared but Bridget would love it.. Looks like there are loads of boondocking sites along the 261. Coombs Wash looked nice too. We are considering one of these sights on Sunday.

      Did the House on Fire trail yesterday morning. It is the North Mule Wash and the road is just east of some ruins on main highway. Really amazing area. the Ruins are about 1-1.5 miles up the wash along creek bed. Easy hiking.

      • Dave says:

        If you haven’t been up or down the Moki Dugway, you have to go. I’ve done it several times, twice pulling a camper. When you get to the top of the dugway, take an immediate left on the dirt road. Go about six miles to Muley Point…one of the most beautiful overlooks I’ve been to. You’re looking down right into the Goosenecks with Monument Valley in the background. Even if you are camping at the Goosenecks, this is a side trip well worth taking. Next time I’m thinking about taking my camper to the point and spending the night…not sure it’s legal, but you could ask at the Goosenecks.

        • Dave says:

          Just read online that this is one of the best free camping spots in Utah. I agree.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Nobody at Goosenecks to ask. This is very remote and primitive.

          I don’t know, Dave. I really hate driving on a road that has a zillion-foot drop-off on one side, no matter how stunning the view. Your phrase “looking down right into” gave me pause. 🙂

          My Utah Benchmark atlas shows the area around Moki Dugway as a mixture of BLM and state land.

          • Dave says:

            I don’t think the view would bother you…more like looking out and then down. But the dugway is kind of a thriller and could be a problem if you don’t like that kind of thing. I would say start up and turn around if you don’t like it, but turning around may be a problem. Moral of the story, Valley of the Gods is beautiful!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hey, Kentster… I appreciate you scouting all the boondocks for me and the crew! Just stay a few days ahead of us . . .

  20. Carolyn says:

    nope was just doing an email about this tourist business… I’ve been traveling since I was 18 … not in an RV but moving about and working and goofing off and all that 60’s and 70’s stuff … I go off season to places like Grand Canyon and oh, man oh man oh man… Glacier National Park ~ Yellowstone ~ Crater Lake … all the gorgeous National Parks…. do not like the crowds.

    I can stay in town on a busy city street and be extremely happy ~ love it, gotta have it… and as much as I love that? gotta have the solitude and peace and beauty of nature … I go from one to the other and all in between. I’ve surmised that even though I’m an extrovert … when I do my solitude thing .. I don’t like people messing around with it….

    AND … I absolutely refuse REFUSE to pay for entrance fees to places that nature made for all of us to see and experience! … I want to support our natural treasures and get sooo aggravated when our lovely government wants to cut spending for such …. don’t mind a couple of dollars but I’ve been places where they wanted upwards of $10 or such… boo freakin hiss. I’ll find my seals and mountains and rocks free … and I have and did.

    As social as I am I am also as much a hermit… talk about weird? hah… I say different. I will die being different… not planned but just the way I was drawn, I reckon. who knows… seriously who knows why we’re the way we are … and who really cares … and what does it matter to anyone or anything other than your cat(s) or dog(s) ~ I know a woman who recently rescued a baby squirrel and couldn’t let it go … soooo she crafted a harness with leash and she and her squirrel go for little walks at campgrounds and such ~ draws quite a crowd… squirrel’s name is Merle.

    hahaa ~ life and its subsidiaries .. seriously

  21. AZ Jim says:

    We are of one mind when it comes to the out of doors. I want solitude. I can’t handle others kids, pets or noise when my desire is quiet. I love the feeling of being able to go naked in a stream on a hot day (and have done it many times). It’s only when I hear nothing but nature, see nothing but the sights uncluttered by trampling crowds of noisy people, their rolling wealth and loud obnoxious generators that I feel happy. Some folks would say “wow! He is a hard nosed old crab!” My answer is yep….that’s me.

  22. Glenda Cornwill says:

    For an Aussie I loved seeing the photos so much…………….wow wow wow!! Despite the crowds I would have to look past them and ignore it to soak up such splendour. Thanks for all the photos!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What you didn’t see in my post was all the splendor coming and going from that tourist hub. It’s an incredible area. I didn’t take a lot of photos because every vista was too magnificent. I drove along soaking in all the visual pleasure.

  23. Julia says:

    You’re not so different as you can see by the many posts agreeing with you ! I can’t stand most crowds and large groups of people just plan drive me out of the door! I can handle maybe four people after that I’m looking to get out of there. As for camping in a crowd ….Nah done that got the tee shirt don’t need to do it again! Peaceful camps without a bunch of folks poking into your space is precious to me. I don’t care to be even within earshot of people, they may think I’m weird, well I think they’re a pain in the rumpus bumpus!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh Julia… You speak my language. I heard a faint voice yesterday and resented it! Hahaha! No one is allowed to talk within earshot of me!

  24. Sherry says:

    I have the same reaction to crowds. So many wonderful places have been ruined at least for me by their popularity. I long for quiet – the song of the birds, the wind in the trees – which seems to be an increasingly rare commodity these days. I would love to see Monument Valley but not at the cost it appears I would have to pay. Perhaps you’ll check it out again in October or November and let us know if it is better as a reader suggested, but clearly early May would not be for me and later would be too hot. Great information Sue. Your instincts are the same as mine so it’s nice to know I can rely on your experience. Thanks again!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Sherry!

      If you happen to be in this area in early May, you can have a full experience simply by driving Hwy 163 through Monument Valley, then taking Hwy 160… wonderful, scenic drive all the way! If your rig allows a stay at Navajo National Monument, all the better.

      You would love the sound of the wind in the pines at Sunset Crater Camp north of Flagstaff.

  25. I have learned that even in the most crowded of places, like Yellowstone, you can leave 90% of the people behind by simply hiking one mile up almost any trail. At mile two, you’re almost on your own, and the few people still on the trail generally feel the same way about the solitude of nature as me. It tends to get quiet, and one can think again.

    Like you, I cringe at being held hostage to the masses, but I take great comfort in knowing I can hike away from them within, literally, minutes. It is the one thing about our country of largely inactive folk that works in my favor when touring in beloved places.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good point, Tamara! Someone once said to me, “When looking for private camping spots, take a gravel or dirt road. That eliminates most of the people right there.”

    • I should therefore mention Mammoth Lakes, CA located on the other side of the Sierras from oh-so-popular Yosemite. I know there is a lot of National Forest, so I’m guessing there would be a good amount of low cost, if not free camping. And, since it is National Forest and not National Park land, dogs are welcome on virtually all trails save a select few. We stopped going to Yosemite years ago because of the crowds, but we go almost yearly to Yosemite’s equally beautiful step-sibling Mammoth. Glacial lakes by the dozens, and gorgeous forests.

  26. EmilyO from KS says:

    When I was at Goosenecks a few years ago, I was looking forward to a nice quiet evening after all the “neck stretchers” had left. Only other person there was a man with a very big Airstream. Unfortunately his activities, out on the area to the east of the viewing area, was not tolerated by the local/area residents (vigilantes) and resulted in an armed stand-off. He was looking for artifacts and was, of course, violating the Antiquities Laws. As the sun was setting, I decided to leave as I was not comfortable with all that fire-power around me and headed into Bluff.

  27. jamajoan says:

    Hi Sue:
    I wonder if there is a Mongol gene in your DNA. You would have loved my trip yesterday to the countryside where we spent hours with a traditional family in a traditional ger setting with no one around, as far as the eye could see … and then further! They had their solar panel and satellite dish set up. Ahhh….such beauty, serenity and seclusion these nomads experience. I wanted to snap my fingers and transport Sue and her crew to this place.
    Our job? to comb the goats for cashmere.

  28. I do understand your need for quiet. We have been out sailing on our boat, anchoring in solitude, and then we arrive in a marina to do work on the boat. I felt as if I had been dropped in the middle of a busy city! And marinas used to seem calm to me. Even though every one else was pleasant, it was not noisy, I was glad to know we did not have to stay there more than a few days.
    Just be glad everyone doesn’t want the quiet life!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mary… I think when one is alone in a quiet place, whether on land, sea, or in space, one becomes sensitive to the slightest sound. Go back among people and the noise is too much. We don’t realize what a constant assault of noise we and our things project. A guy in a truck just drove by my campsite. You’d think a jet was taking off for the noise!

  29. Pat Scrabeck says:

    Oh, no–how disappointing. I just remember all the great Westerns that were filmed in the valley and I guess it should still be that way. Loved “Thelma and Louise” and their trip to Monument Valley and silly me, that’s the way I want it to still be. I hear getting an Indian guide is a good way to go but what about the pooches? It’s certainly still on my Bucket List, but now I’m prepared for the sea of humanity all wanting to experience the same enlighment : (

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I was prepared to hire a guide and do the whole 9 yards. Then I get there and I have to flee! I don’t know if the crew would’ve been allowed anyway. That’s okay. Everything turned out well. I saw what I wanted to see and I’m in a good place.

  30. Deb from Orlando says:

    Ugh! I’ve been to Monument Valley and what I loved was the solitude. That famous rock formation with the hordes of humanity and parking lot makes me very sad. When I was there in 97 the only sound was the wind. I share your sentiments Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      A very naturalistic campground integrated with the environment would be more palatable. A hotel? I wonder if they’re catering to the foreign tourists. I’ve seen and heard a lot of them (French and German) since entering Navajo Nation.

  31. jeff says:

    sue cant wait to see what category you put the $5.00 under in this months expenses.. just joking!

  32. Tia in NC says:

    Your post takes me back to the family road trip from Washington DC to Phoenix Arizona. 3 Kids in the back seat of the Station Wagon. We too stopped in Kayenta and drove through Monument Valley. Summer of 79….it was a hot one….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh my. Summer, 3 kids, station wagon… Those three things make me break out in a sweat. Ha! (I come from a family of three kids and we had a station wagon. . . more like the summer of 59.)

  33. earthdancerimages says:

    When Chuck and I did Monument Valley 2 years ago, we chose a Navajo tour guide, Nate Holiday.He owns Holiday tours and a 4 wheel drive jeep. It was just Nate, Chuck and me and he took us on all the back roads! During the whole tour, we never saw another tourist car, until we got near the exit again and only 1 tour bus. Nate gave us a wonderful 2 hour tour for $20 each. He spent time explaining the Navajo culture and why certain places were deemed sacred. It was well worth the money!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You left out a crucial piece of information. . . What time of year was it?

    • pat scrabeck says:

      Hi there, how many years ago was your trip with Mr. Holiday? Do you think he would allow a dog? Sounds like a wonderful experience.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Pat . . . I emailed Geri to come back here to answer questions.

        • earthdancerimages says:

          http://phunnyfarm.blogspot.com/2011/07/monument-valley-tour.html
          here is the link blog about that tour and the date will be at the top. I wrote that Nate took us on the tour, but it was his brother Duffy that guided us. Lots of photos so I hope it doesn’t spoil it for you!

          • earthdancerimages says:

            Holy Shucks! We took that tour in July!!!! The parking lots was packed and noisy with tour trucks and buses and dozens of HUGE motor homes and many hundreds of people chattering all around us. When Duffy drove up, he took us away from all that!

      • earthdancerimages says:

        We toured in July 2011, not sure about dogs, you would have to contact them and ask. All contact information is in the blog link above!

  34. dawnkinster says:

    Any place named Gooseneck has GOT to be good. My favorite photo…hmm….I especially liked the one with the two buttes…and the tiny little cars….I loved the texture along the desert…and the wildness of it. I can’t thank you enough for sharing. Tonight I was on a river cruise at sunset on the Potomac in DC…it was beautiful…in a different way.

  35. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    When visiting the Grand Canyon, get off to the side out of peoples way. Sit down with a blanket around you and watch the sun come up. The canyon will come alive and you will always remember the experience.

  36. Mark Greene says:

    We enjoy getting out where there is no crowds, but after a couple days I’m ready for some company. My wife and I both come from large families and I enjoy the gatherings. When we stay somewhere where there are no other campers I always wonder if we are missing the party somewhere. I enjoyed our summer trips to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rockies, Smokies, all the Utah parks. Can’t image having such a phobia of people that you could evr enjoy yoursellf at any of those parks. I guess that is what makes us all different.

    Mark
    Salina Ks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mark!

      Obviously you and I are two different personality types. I’m glad you are able to enjoy parks regardless of crowds.

      As for me and people like me, we do not have a “phobia.” We aren’t afraid of other people. It’s simply that we often find the presence of other people so distracting and downright annoying that we want to flee.

      You wonder if you’re missing the party. I’m so glad I’m missing the party! Some personality types are energized by other people. Others, like myself, are drained.

      Unfortunately, it is common for my personality type to be viewed as defective or deficient by the social personality types. Not fair! I happen to think my personality type has a great advantage over other types. . .

      Be true to yourself, whatever your personality type! Nice to hear from you, Mark. As you can tell, this is a topic I enjoy writing about.

      • Mark Greene says:

        Sue, I do envy your ability to be completely content by yourself. If I did not have Becky at my side at all our stops I would probably stay home. I’m just thankful that she enjoys being out with the camper as much as I do. I love the peace and quiet of watching a sunrise, sipping coffee and enjoying a quiet morning hike. But by evening there is nothing better than eating and telling stories around the campfire with friends and family, falling asleep listening to chatter of everyone having a good time. I know that sounds weird.

        Mark
        Salina,
        Ks

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Not weird at all. It sounds delightful. I’d enjoy that about once or twice a year. The next morning I’d probably need some alone time.

  37. Sunny says:

    Beautiful photos, Sue! I feel much the same way as you when surrounded by too many people. I like people, but in small doses. Glad your still having fun. I am spending my summer and fall at my “camp” in PA (home) doing a small garden and spending time with my kids and grands.

  38. Ron says:

    Sue
    I like folks in small doses, I hate crowds and I am not comfortable in them ,so I understand your feelings.
    I was in Yellowstone a few years ago and didnt really enjoy it . It wasn’t a wilderness experience with the traffic crowds ,busses ..
    Loners ,yep proud to be called one.
    Ron

    PS Just finished a 15 day 2200 mile trip in the egg ,I like it more everytime I use it.

  39. G says:

    Sue, totally off topic but curious. I admire your rational way of making decisions so my question is, why did you choose wordpress for blogger for your site? Just want to know the pro’s and con’s.

    Thanks, G

  40. stanw909 says:

    I was hoping you had worked through your tourist phobia. I was so disapointed for you when you missed Old Faithful last summer. It is truly amazing. I have been a tourist my whole life and I feel no shame in that. When I was growing up my parents dragged me and my twin bro all over this country and feel so blessed for it. Before I married my wife 22 years ago I told her we would do the same and we have. Crowds are a part of the process and well worth the sacrifice. Our kids have been to more places then I went when I was a kid and I hope someday they will do the same and become a tourist like me.

    • stanw909 says:

      Sorry about the word phobia. Preferrance may be better and I too don’ t enjoy crowds but how could I fault anyone for spending time and treasure to get to the most beautiful spots on earth? I don’t feel that anyone is entitled to having them all to themselves. I know that is not what you think because you so readily let us all know about your travels with the crew. I actually worry that you miss out. I will continue to take my big motorhome,my three very lucky kids and my three spoiled little dogs out to these great place during the busiest times of the year because thats when we can all go. Bless you and the crew.Sorry about the long posts.

  41. SSI john says:

    I love the sentiment wrapped up in “I have a dream realization moment. (That’s when I realize this was once only a dream!)”

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