Posts Tagged ‘ Trips across Amercia ’

Journey Across America: Day Two

Journey Across America:  Day Two

Ooh.  Ah.  Beautiful.  Stunning.  Spectacular.  It’s another day of superlatives, from the time we leave our hotel room in Page, Arizona until the darkness descends on us in Albuquerque.  It’s also a Tony Hillerman day.  We’ll be driving the Four Corners area that he featured so vividly in his novels.  I can’t wait to see Monument Valley and Shiprock, two places on my “bucket list”, thanks to Hillerman.

The Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge were stop number one.  Glen Canyon Bridge is definitely the most beautiful bridge by a dam site, but will soon be outdone by the bridge over the Colorado River at Hoover Dam.  We looked north from the bridge into Lake Powell, named for the famous one-armed explorer John Powell. 

It’s also a day of travelling two-lane roads.  We spend the time on the drive to Monument Valley, “oohing and aahing” about the scenery, stopping to take pictures.  When Monument Valley arrives on the horizon, we know we are in for a visual treat.  As we get closer, we can identify the famous Two Mitten Buttes.  To their northwest is Sentinel Mesa, standing guard over the valley. 

We stop at the Monument Valley Navaho Nation Visitor Center.  The indigenous materials and design of the visitor center blend seamlessly into the majestic scenery of Monument Valley.  The Navaho Nation voted in the 1960’s to construct the visitor center to stop encroaching commercialism.  In one of life’s ironies, across the road from the visitor center, a billboard mars the magnificent vista.

Four Corners National Monument, the only point in the United States common to four state corners–Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado—is next on our loose itinerary.  We drive through each of the four states on our way to the monument.  To our surprise and disappointment, it is gated and closed for remodeling.  There’s no chance to take pictures while standing in four states.  We console ourselves by deciding that we are surely looking at all four states at the same time.

As we leave Four Corners, the colors of the desert change to ochre and gray.  The mighty Shiprock comes into view, surrounded by rolling hills and sagebrush.  It dominates the bleak landscape, its grandeur in sharp contrast to its surroundings.

 We drive through the high plains of New Mexico, eagerly awaiting the dramatic vistas that will return as we approach Albuquerque.  The Sandia Mountains that flank Alburquerque appear on the horizon.  We’re grateful for their beauty and for the end of the day’s journey.

For photos of day one and two of the journey, go to

March 23rd, 2010  in City Planning 3 Comments »