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Looking through my photos from last year earlier today I realised that I hadn’t written a lot about the Roadtrip I took from Seattle to Los Angeles last year. I’ve mentioned it, but haven’t really done it justice given the adventure it was, so over the next few days I’ll post some pictures and tales of what happened.
After leaving Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks, I headed south towards Utah and Arizona. I had no real route planned, but the Grand Canyon was down there somewhere and I wasn’t going to come all this way and not pay it a visit so I based my navigation on this, using it as a target. I left the campsite at Grand Teton, 5 days after leaving Seattle, nice and early and drove south.
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Through Jackson and onto Alpine, Wyoming where I stopped for some breakfast and then ever southwards, briefly touching Utah, then back into Wyoming where I made a slight detour to head through Evanston. After Evanston I entered Utah again where I would stay for the next day or so. The Northern part was fairly green and hilly and after some dull Interstate I crawled through the traffic in Provo, third largest city in Utah and home to the Church of the Latter Day Saints Missionary Training Centre.
I’ve not had many happy experiences with Mormons so for this reason I decided not to stop in Provo (although I enjoyed the billboards advertising Modest Clothing, Next Left!) and carried on over the wonderfully named Soldier Summit, through Helper (names after the Helper locomotives based there, used to help freight trains through the the mountain pass) and stopped for the evening in Green River, 470 miles from Grand Teton.
Green River wasn’t particularly accurately named, I saw nothing green and no river, I had definitely reached the desert at this point, miles of dust and rock, not much else. In the morning I headed to the Arches National Park just outside of Moab.
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The arches, created over thousands of years through wind erosion are pretty spectacular, and the wide open space, hot sun beating down and red rock combine to create a special place, even taking into account the large number of tour buses (and tourists) sharing the space with you.
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But the highlight of the day, and probably the highlight of the trip came later in the afternoon as I left the town of Mexican Hat in Utah and headed toward the Arizona border. I knew what was coming, but it still managed to take my breath away.
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Monument Valley is one of those places you know even if you don’t know it. You’ve seen it before – scenes from some of the most iconic Westerns have been shot there, but the one that stuck out for me was the scene in Forrest Gump where he stops running. You see the same view as you drive towards it (photo above).
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I had thought about spending the night there, they advertise a campsite (it’s part of Navajo Nation and the tribe run the site) but when I got there it was more a rocky car park than campsite so I spent a couple of hours taking in the view and as any good Western should end, rode off into the sunset.