Trip to Washington State Via Monument Valley

Arizona

Casa Grande, Arizona to Lyle, Washington

July 2013

Casa Grande, Arizona to Lyle, Washington

We left Casa Grande on July 14, 2013 driving north to our Thousand Trails RV Resort in Verde Valley, Arizona.  We spent a few days there just relaxing and enjoying being on the road again.

 

Entering our Thousand Trails Park in Verde Valley, Arizona

Entering our Thousand Trails Park in Verde Valley, Arizona

 

Camping at Verde Valley

Camping at Verde Valley

 

Verde Valley Thousand Trails

Verde Valley Thousand Trails

 

On July 17, we drove north on I 17 through Flagstaff, Arizona.  We headed east on I 40 for a few miles, and then turned north onto Arizona Highway 89.  We took a right onto Arizona Highway 160 and stopped for the night in Tuba City.

Tuba City, Arizona

Tuba City, Arizona

The next day, we continue north on Highway 160 to Gouldings at Monument Valley where we camped for several days.

 

Our campsite at Gouldings

Our campsite at Gouldings

 

Camping at Gouldings

Camping at Gouldings

 

 The story of the Gouldings is quite interesting.

Monument Valley is well-known to most U.S. residents primarily because of the efforts of Harry and Mike (his wife) Goulding.  The Gouldings arrived in Monument Valley in the 1920’s and set up a trading post (the original trading post is now a museum).  At the trading post, Harry and Mike traded with the Navajo Indians.  During the depression, the Gouldings and the Navajos were suffering greatly.  Harry and Mike came up with the idea of presenting Monument Valley as a picturesque place to film movies.  With their last few dollars, they traveled to Hollywood and met with Director John Ford showing him pictures of the Valley and convincing him to use Monument Valley as a backdrop in his western films.  John Ford gave the Gouldings a down payment so that they could go back to their trading post and arrange living facilities for his actors and crew.

The Goulding's house (upstairs) and trading post (downstairs)

The Goulding’s house (upstairs) and trading post (downstairs)

The Gouldings of Monument Valley

The Gouldings of Monument Valley

The first movie filmed in Monument Valley was “Stagecoach.”  Many of the Navajo had bit parts in the movies, and several of John Wayne’s movies were filmed there including “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” which actually used the trading post as the soldiers’ quarters.  Over time, the Gouldings expanded the services there.  Today there is the museum, an art gallery, a motel, a restaurant, a grocery store, a gas station and an RV resort. Every night, free John Wayne movies are shown in the Birdcage Theater.  Because of the Gouldings efforts, they and the Navajos survived the depression and Monument Valley became a tourist destination.

Not far from Gouldings is the Navajo Tribal Center which houses a motel, a gift shop, a museum honoring the Navajo talkers of the WWII, and is the starting point for tours of Monument Valley.

We stayed at Gouldings for three nights.  The first evening, I explored Gouldings.  The second day, Bob and I drove over to explore the Navajo Tribal Center. On the third day, I took a four-hour narrated tour of Monument Valley.  It was a fun few days.

Leaving on tour

 

Hill behind our campground and the moon

Hill behind our campground and the moon

 

Enjoying my tour of Monument Valley

Enjoying my tour of Monument Valley

 

A cowboy in Monument Valley

A cowboy in Monument Valley

 

An awesome view of Monument Valley

An awesome view of Monument Valley

 

A lovely tree in Monument Valley

A lovely tree in Monument Valley

 

We left Monument Valley on Saturday and drove through Mexican Hat on Highway 163. We then headed north on Highway 191 traveling through Monticello and Moab, Utah up to I 70.  We drove west a few miles on I 70 and stopped at a very nice KOA in Green River, Utah. 

On Sunday we left Green River and turned north on Utah Highway 6 headed for Salt Lake City.  After merging onto I15 south of Salt Lake City, we soon realized that it would be stop and go traffic for hours unless we could find a way around the city.  We turned west off of I 15 at Lehi, and took Utah Highway 73 west to Highway 36.  Then we headed north to I 80.  By going this way, we missed Salt Lake City, drove across scenic back country and drove right along the banks of the Great Salt Lake. 

After hitting I 80 and heading west, we drove smack through the middle of the Great Salt Plains and right past Bonneville Salt Flats.  So cool!

We stayed on I 80 to Wells, Nevada where we turned north on Nevada Highway 93 and drove to Jackpot, Nevada.  We parked at the RV Park at Cactus Petes and spent two nights.  Bob rested and I gambled.

We left Jackpot and drove north into Idaho on Idaho Highway 93 to Twin Falls.  There we connected up with I 84 and drove west to Farewell Bend State Park just on the Idaho/Oregon border.  The next day, we drove on into Lyle, Washington where we spent a few days at Horsethief Lake State Park before heading on up to Glenwood for our family reunion.

It was a fun trip home.

 

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