A Visit to Monument Valley, Arizona in our Motorhome

Bob and Claire's motorhome Turtle's campsite at Monument Valley, AZ

Three photo panorama from our campsite.



May 18. Monument Valley is a tribal park, and more reasonable with a $5 per person entry and $5 to dry camp in a spectacular spot. Late today we hiked the one trail open to unguided hikes, 3.5 miles around one of the Mitten buttes and arrived back at Turtle just before sunset. Took much of a 512 card of photos, and will probably do it again tomorrow when we bike the 18 mile loop tomorrow. With this park, it at least is fully within the control of the Dine; at least we are allowed to bike the same loop the guided tourists take.

We got a fantastic place to park Turtle (check the photo) though I had to make him/her act like a 4 wheel drive to get there and out, the sunset view was worth it. Had one of us been prone to sleepwalking, it would have been about a dozen steps to the edge.

May 19 Bicycling Monument Valley. We had a great mountain bike ride on a good dirt road today through some wonderful scenery. We left at sunrise and managed to do the loop at an easy pace, with lots of photo stops, and finish just as the loads of tourists began the loop, so we had no dust and we could hear the birds and smell the vegetation.

Los Burros Campground and Mountain Bike Ride

Our first night out of Tucson we parked in a dirt lot next to the Apache Gold Casino and had a quiet, if somewhat warm night with a good NPR signal. We cooked a pork roast in our combo microwave/convection oven, along with a big, yam and a glass of Chilean red. Life on the road is tough.

Our second night we drove about eight miles back in the woods from McNary to the Los Burros campground on the Coconino National Forest. We read about it in Matt Nelson’s column in the Desert Leaf. We wanted to try some of the great mountain biking he described.

Around dark we heard the loudest commotion not far back in the ponderosas; it morphed into a chorus of howls the likes I have never heard. I would swear they were wolves, but I’m not sure the relocated Mexican Wolves are this far west. Maybe they are migrating this way because of all the New Mexicans shooting them. A few minutes later we heard the usual yips and yaps and sing song of a pack of coyotes. Nice go-to-bed sounds.

We love looking at the stars through our 16 x 24 inch (approximate) skylight above our little nest/bed. I was wondering at some very unusual low lying black as ink clouds, silhouetted against the starfield, when a huge shooting start burned out from behind the biggest cloud, fading out the stars for a couple of seconds. It was then I finally realized the black clouds were not clouds, but big ponderosa pines leaning in over our Turtle. We are so unused to tall trees in the desert that I had been fooled. I love it!

The trails were indeed wonderful, snaking through aspens and ponderosa in the cool 8,000ft. sunny mountain air. We hadn’t ridden trails for yonks and the first few miles were challenging until we got our looseness back, and then it was a hoot. However, the blue sky turned black, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed, and we had to turn tail back to Turtle before we were ready to be done. Still a fine day, particularly the cool air after experiencing 100 degrees or more several days before leaving Tucson. We now know why so many Tucsonans come here for the summer; it’s an easy day drive and 30 degrees cooler.

We are sitting in the parking lot at the Hon Dah Casino, getting wifi from the casio RV park. This works!