September 1, 2007

Four Corners and Monument Valley

21 August 2007. We left Moab for an almost two-hour drive to Bluff, UT - our home base in visiting Four Corners and Monument Valley. We arrived way before the check-in time at Desert Rose Inn, but they allowed us to check in anyway. The inn was a surprising find. I've seen favorable reviews but to have them confirmed was a great relief. They have a no-pets policy though.

In case you're wondering, Bluff is nice in a sleepy town kind of way. You will NOT see retail chains. There were probably only six lodgings in the area, the ones we noticed anyway. It was still a relief to find a town so isolated, so untouched by commercialism. Mind you, the restaurant nearby, Twin Rocks Cafe, offers fantastic food. A surprising find in the middle of nowhere. After eating lunch there, it was a 45-minute drive from Bluff, UT. Contrasting landscapes - canyons and farmlands. I don't know how that happened but we saw it.

Four Corners Monument
$3 per person entrance fee. Cheap really. Four Corners was...well...uneventful. I wanted desperately to go there. I wanted to say, "I've stood in four different states at once". Just for the heck of it.

I ended up not standing on four states...I SAT on them! Here's a close-up shot of the Four Corners disc in case you're wondering how it looks:

Sitting on my butt on the Four Corners disc was hot...literally! I sat on the disc with my hands on Utah and Colorado, while my feet were on Arizona and New Mexico. My husband was on all fours, straddling the four states. People were coming up with different ways of dealing with that monument. You can live without doing, of course, but fun to do anyway.

After less than an hour of being there, we forged on to Monument Valley - a 1 1/2 hour drive from Four Corners.

Monument Valley
I've seen pictures of it, yet seeing it for real was different. It was, of course, a valley. We did the self-guided tour. I was originally willing to shell out $100 for us to take the guided tour. Yes, silly me was willing to spend such an insane amount because:
1. The roads were really unpaved. Poor rental car!
2. I wanted my husband to take a break from all the driving he was doing.
3. The guided tour supposedly brings people to parts of the valley where we couldn't go on our own.

In the end, circumstances decided for us. The tour operator changed (like a changing of the guards of sorts). The one I spoke to before left already and was replaced by another tour operator who was charging $60 per person - $20 more? No way!

We saw mesas and buttes. The Mittens are my favorite buttes. No wonder it gets featured in a lot of movies, ads, etc. I wanted to watch the sunset and see The Mittens lit up by the fading sunlight. It didn't happen, of course. We were in Artists Point as the sun set. Just one of those things, really.

The drive back to Bluff was dark. Once again, I felt uneasy because had our car broken down, I'm not sure who would've found us. Probably some wild animals.