Sunday, April 12, 2009

Monument Valley, Arizona

One look at the landscape, and you know exactly where you are: Monument Valley. The monoliths stick out of the ground like skyscrapers, except with more character. The site has been used for countless commercials and more than a few movies. John Ford, in fact, directed enough films here that the above site was named after him.

You can drive around the dusty rounds in a car, but it's better to sign up for a tour with one of the Native guides. There are a variety of tours, but the simple one probably works best unless you are very interested in the traditional Navaho life.

Monument Valley is located west of the Four Corners on the Arizona-Utah border. The road from Four Corners to Monument Valley is one of the loneliest in America; be sure to drive it during daylight hours. Alcoholism is a problem in the region and there are empty liquor bottles on the roadside. It's a little too easy for some intoxicated driver to wander off his or her lane.

Visiting Monument Valley is almost a spiritual experience. I haven't compiled a list of my 10 favorite places in America, but this would make it if I did.

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