May 22, 2004

Moab to Blanding

Monument Valley, Arizona

Where to begin. Severe lack of sleep is catching up with me. Lack of sunlight is catching up with Dad. Combine to produce tension.

Today started as a perfectly cloudless day. Crystal clear blue sky as far as the eye could see (which in the valley in Moab wasn't a huge distance, but still). So we got ourselves ready and headed south.

Our first stop was Wilson Arch, which because it was on the east side of the road, was in shade. So we began a half hour hike around it, just to get a photo. My feet were still killing me from yesterday, so it was not pleasant at all. Fortunately we were able to get back through the arch, so didn't have to walk around it to get back. But still, it was probably an hour that we had stopped all up.

The next stop was a rock formation called Navajo Twin Rocks, or something. Pretty cool. Third stop was called Mexican Hat.

So by this time it was well after lunchtime, so we stopped in the one horse town of Mexican Hat and had some lunch in a diner. Finally got away from there, but as we were approaching Monument Valley, there were roadworks, and a stop-go man blocking our way (we saw the tail of the last stream of traffic driving up the hill in the near distance). So we sat and waited. And waited. And waited some more. And when we were done waiting we waited again. Half an hour we sat there. The parents were going out of their tree, watching as cloud and haze moved across the sky, and getting more and more frustrated that we weren't moving. When we finally did start moving (after all the incoming traffic had passed by us), they took us up the wrong side of the road - felt like being back home! - except they hadn't actually finished waiting for all the oncoming traffic to come through, and so the marker truck was sending everyone over to the *other* side of the road. It was too stupid for words. All I have to say is that American road workers are *simple* people.

So finally we escape and make it to Monument Valley. Now Dad had done some research into this, and found out that guided jeep tours should have cost us around $15 each, with driving your own car not recommended due to inferior road quality. OK so this was fine, but when we got there, they wanted to charge $123 for the three of us (a little less for a bit shorter tour). The parents decided this was a complete ripoff, and we'd try out the road for ourselves. So that's what we did, and I have to say, I'm *very* glad we did it ourselves. The road was perfectly fine for our Camry - even better quality than some other roads we've been on this trip. The self guided tour is very easy to follow, there are signs up at all the points of interest, and there's very little that you can only see on the guided tours. I think it's fair enough for the Indians to charge to give tours, but I think they're charging far too much, and it simply isn't worth it. My recommendation: drive yourself and save your money. Buy something in the gift shop or one of the roadside stalls instead.

Anyway by the time we got out of there it was getting rather late, so we decided to call it a night and get an early one. I for one am planning to be in bed by 9:30.

Now back to the internet situation. We spent two nights in Moab and I couldn't connect to the Maglobe local internet number, nor the toll free numbers. Now we are in Blanding, and I can't connect here either. So I tried the Grand Junction number which worked for me the other night and that worked perfectly first go. So the ISPs they have around here in hicksville must be pretty crappy. Unfortunately to call Grand Junction is going to cost something like a quarter a minute!! So I'll quickly connect and upload this blog and email people that I'm going to be out of range for a while. My mobile hasn't worked since we left the I-70. Someone in Moab last night was on his mobile, I was tempted to ask him what carrier he was with. Anyway, must upload stuff.

Posted by kazza at May 22, 2004 01:32 PM

I think perhaps "simple" is being a bit too generous. You see, we put our dumbest citizens and convicts along the highways, as it's the easiest way to get rid of them. *wink*

Really, though, the stupidity doesn't end with highway workers. Many of the police force who are assigned as traffic cops do equally stupid things. Remind me sometime to write up the story of the deputy who whistled at cars to stop instead of giving hand signals...

Posted by: Dennis on May 22, 2004 04:05 PM