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Navajo Nation

2018-09-28 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 41 – Driving to Gallup, New Mexico…

We left Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam and headed roughly Southeast across some of the most remote and desolate terrain I’ve ever seen.  This is mostly the land of the Navajo Nation…img_5963img_59611img_90631

We drove for miles and miles… and saw nothing but miles and miles…

At Kayenta, AZ, we stopped at a Burger King, home of a great exhibit telling the stories of members of the Navajo Nation who served in WWII, and, particularly, the story of the Code Talkers.

By the time we had finished looking at the exhibits other Airstreamers had also arrived…

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And then we left and drove to Gallup, NM.  Nothing too exciting.  In the evening we enjoyed a BBQ dinner provided by the RV park in their dining pavilion…

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We were visited by the representative of the ballooning folks to brief us on the coming days’ activities – we are going to be riding in hot air balloons!  We are scheduled for Sunday…

So, as is our tradition, on slow news days, we present some of our great grandchildren…  Maybe you’ve seen these before…

Roisin, age 5:

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Ian, age 4, and George, almost 3:

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Ian, Roisin, and Evelyn, age 6 months:

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Ian:

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Evelyn

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And, finally, Evelyn:

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-27 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 40 – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

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We’ve had a busy few days… Today is a little more laid back…

The caravan broke into four groups to take a short trip to see Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon, on the Navajo Nation Reservation… We were lucky to get the Noon time slot.  We were able to have a leisurely morning…

To get to the Slot canyon, we drove into Page, then rode in a truck outfitted with 15 seats… We were driven along the highway for three miles, then we rode over dirt and rock roads for another six miles…

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Once the truck parked, we walked the last 1/2 mile…

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Once we reached the entrance to the slot canyon our guide told us about it… Slot canyons are formed by erosion due to water and wind.  While they are beautiful, they are dangerous if thunderstorms are in the area.  They can fill with raging torrents of water within seconds…

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The canyon averages about six feet wide, with many places only about three feet wide.  It is mostly open to the sky, but, because of the narrow width of the canyon, sunlight sometimes does not reach in to the bottom of the canyon…

We walked from one end of the canyon to the other, then back again.  All along the way are spectacular views up, out, around, and through the sandstone walls.  These canyon walls are Navajo Sandstone, and they really are this color red…

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Our driver, and tour guide, was a Navajo women who grew up on this land.  She first saw this slot canyon when she was six years old and the sheep she was tending wandered into the area.  Her grandfather was named Manson, and it was he that traded the land named after their family to the Federal Government for the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam.  In exchange for his land, the Navajo Nation received some much coveted land in Utah.

(The Navajo Nation Reservation is one of the few reservations in the US that is actually on the ancestral land of these particular Indians.  They owe this to  the Spanish explorers, who controlled this entire area, in the 1600s and 1700s.  The Spanish explorers and the subsequent Spanish government kept meticulous records of who owned what.  When the Federal government wanted to put the Navajo Indians onto a reservation, the courts held that this was their ancestral land and that they could stay on it as their reservation… Zuni, Acoma, and Hopi Indians are in a similar situation…)

After our tour we returned to the Villa and had a relaxing evening.  Most Caravaners went out for one thing or another, so the entire campground was quiet…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-05 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 18 – Monument Valley

Monument Valley (Navajo: Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii, meaning valley of the rocks) is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft above the valley floor.  It is located on the Arizona–Utah border , near the Four Corners area. The valley lies within the territory of the Navajo Nation Reservation.

We traveled today with Jay and Elna, Caravan Leaders, to Gouldings, in Monument Valley.  Harry Goulding established a trading post here in the 1920s, which has grown to include a Lodge, Restaurant, RV Park, and of course, a Gift Shop…

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In the 1930s, in an effort to generate income for the Indians, Harry contacted Hollywood movie folk and arranged for the studios to shoot movies in Monument Valley.  There is a stage set of a cabin supposedly used by John Wayne in John Ford’s production of “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”…

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Even this fake cabin had authentic construction…

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Other buildings at Gouldings are not so lovely…

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Monument Valley has been featured in many movies and TV shows since the 1930s. In the words of media critic Keith Phipps, “its five square miles have defined what decades of moviegoers think of when they imagine the American West.”

And it is stunning…

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We saw the right mitten (above) and the left mitten (below)

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We saw the castle…

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And we saw some arches… (Arches differ from Bridges in that arches are formed by erosion by wind and the freeze-thaw cycle, while bridges have (or have had) flowing water beneath them, and the primary method of erosion was from this water…)

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We were all herded into three touring trucks to see the sights…

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After some driving along rutted, gravel roads, and seeing marvelous sites, we arrived at John Ford’s Point.  John Ford like to ride his horse around here while shooting movies…  (This is not John Ford…)

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At one of our stops we saw authentic hogans, homes of the Navajo.  About 30 families live in these traditional homes deep in the valley, using traditional methods of living, with no running water or electricity.  They don’t even have cable TV!  These hogans that we saw were for display purposes and for demonstrations…

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This is a sweat lodge…

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These hogans had beautifully constructed wood roofs to support the earthen exterior covering…

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We saw more impressive structures…

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Then we reached the arches…

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This place is very awe-inspiring.  Everywhere you look you see these marvelous structures…

We returned to Gouldings, had a nice lunch in the restaurant there, and then headed back to The Villa… We had a Drivers Meeting to discuss the route of our travels tomorrow, then we had dinner and a quiet evening in The Villa…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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