Monument Valley, Mesa Verde and moving on to Moab…

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Some places are iconic and for anyone who’s watched the odd Western or two, Monument Valley is one of those places. Great slabs of rock rise sheer out of the desert looking a bit like tombstones or yes, monuments, but also like chimneys or hands. One rock looks a little like nature is sticking two fingers up at us all, if you squint just enough.

A broody, moody Monument Valley

However that unsettled sky quickly changed to overcast and for some reason this matched the ambience in the car. Some of us were perhaps a bit unsettled and the prevailing mood was somewhere between cloudy and stormy. You can’t have fun all the time I suppose and this was one of those tetchy days, and in the end Monument Valley was not so much ‘Yee-har’ but ‘No, ta’ as far as the girls were concerned. Still, they’ve never even seen a western so we shouldn’t have been surprised!

At the end of that long drive though we arrived at a nice, friendly, mom-and-pop type motel and our moods quickly improved, particularly when we saw the crazy golf. There’s nothing like hitting a ball through a tower to raise spirits, though it would have been even better if they’d themed it – imagine hitting through the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley.

Next up was Mesa Verde which we hadn’t really planned to visit but were so glad we did. It really is a fantastic place, with old puebloan settlements cut out of the cliffs, and towers, tunnels, ladders and steps cut into the rocks to add some Indiana Jones adventure. It’s easy to think that the USA doesn’t have much in the way of ancient history but here it is, carved in stone. We visited Balcony House and had a witty ranger explaining something about the place and it’s history, and how if you looked out of one window along a chiselled out rock you could see where the full moon reached it’s furthest west point – or something like that! Like any of these old places I suppose if you look hard enough you can attach some astronomical meaning to it all but it certainly sounded convincing.

The girls exploring the tunnel in Balcony House

Tower House, Mesa Verde

One of these telescopes wasn’t made for children

We then had another long drive but the spectacular scenery and improved moods made for a pleasant journey and we even got to combine sunset and moonrise with Wilson Arch…

Moon peeping over Wilson Arch

Consequently it was quite a happy band that rolled into Moab and a fine pasta meal set us up nicely to explore Arches National Park the next day – but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it…

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