Utah – Monument Valley to Gooseneck State Park

March 28 – April 7, 2014

We were excited to begin our month of boondocking as we headed into Navajo Nation and the Monument Valley.  We felt like the weather was finally warming up enough  to allow us to leave Arizona and head north into the beautiful state of Utah.  The picture below is the road that Forrest Gump was on when he decided to stop running because he was tired.  Do you recognize it?

I Call This Forrest Gump Highway

I Call This Forrest Gump Highway

We learned of a primitive camp (no electricity or water) on Monument Valley Road about 1 mile east of Highway 163, called Mustang Valley.  Dorothy is the contact person at 928-209-5106.  She can see the camp from her house, which is about 1/2 mile away, and she will drive down to collect the $15 fee each day.

Monument Valley Primitive Campgroup.  Uh-oh, what's Lucy doing?

Monument Valley Primitive Campgroup. Uh-oh, what’s Lucy doing?

We paid another $10 to go into the Navajo Nation Visitor’s Center which was 3 miles further east on Monument Valley Road.  Within the Navajo Nation is a 17-mile scenic drive through Monument Valley on a really rutted bumpy dirt road.  Many people pay for the jeep tour, but we decided to beat up our car and drive it ourselves.  The speed limit is 10 mph, but even that is too fast for this rough road.  I’m actually glad we drove because the jeeps went flying by us and all the passengers were covering their eyes and mouth to keep all the dust out.  That didn’t look like fun.  We were able to pull over whenever we wanted, take pictures or take a walk at our leisure.

17 Mile Scenic Drive Through Monument Valley

17 Mile Scenic Drive Through Monument Valley

IMG_5726 Mike frames Monument Valley

 

We went across Highway 163 to Gouldings Resort $$$ to check out how the other half live.  An interesting sight at the fuel station!

Interesting...

Interesting…

We enjoyed a couple of days in Monument Valley, and then saw that a wind storm was approaching the next day.  We were camped out in the open in soft and very fine red dirt.  We could just imagine what would happen to us if we sat here in 40 mph winds.  We’d never get all the dirt out.  So we decided not to find out.  We hot-footed it up to Bluff and spent the next few days at Cadillac Ranch RV Park.  It was nice to have a full hook-up, I must admit.  And, as predicted, the wind blew!

Dust In The Air During The Wind Storm

Dust In The Air During The Wind Storm – Metal Benches Overturned

What a difference a day makes!

Calm Weather Returns

Calm Weather Returns

After The Storm - Clear Skies

Cadillac Ranch RV Park in Bluff, Utah

The RV Park is across the street from historic Fort Bluff, settled in 1880 by Mormon pioneers.  The story of these 70 families and their 6-month journey covering 260 miles across some impossible terrain was impressive.  Historians consider this expedition one of the most extraordinary wagon trips ever undertaken in North America and I agree!  The presentation we watched was jaw dropping.  These were some tough folks!

Early Mormon Settlement of Fort Bluff

Early Mormon Settlement of Fort Bluff

We also drove another 17-mile dirt road through gorgeous Valley of the Gods.  This is another sandstone valley with stunning rock formations.  It is considered a photographer’s paradise.  This dirt road was MUCH better than the one through Monument Valley.

Valley of the Gods, near Bluff, Utah

Valley of the Gods, near Bluff, Utah

If our rig was a bit smaller, we could camp here.  This beautiful location made us wish we were in something smaller.  This is BLM land, and camping is free.  In the picture below, Mike is standing at a campsite clearing.  Can you imagine waking up to this view?

I Want This Campsite!!

I Want This Campsite!!

Valley of the Gods

Valley of the Gods

So cute

What Are You Looking At?  (I think they are so cute)

Next it was time to backtrack a little bit.  We had blown past Gooseneck State Park when we were running from the windstorm earlier in the week.  We absolutely did not want to miss camping on the rim of the canyon.  And we were planning to rendezvous with our blogger friends Ingrid and Al of LiveLaughRV.  Then, another weather system decided to head our way bringing the wind back.  It was kind of scary!  We even pulled our slides in.  I didn’t want our slide-out toppers to turn into parasails and send us into the canyon!

Camped On The Rim of Gooseneck State Park

Camped On The Rim of Gooseneck State Park

This is the view from our side window.  Imagine the wind rocking the rig!

This is the view from our side window. Imagine the wind rocking the rig!

We had a blast anyway because we were enjoying fun times with our friends.  Thanks to Ingrid for sharing some of her pictures with me and allowing me to use them on my blog.

Sitting By The Campfire

Sitting By The Campfire

Mike is feasting on Ingrid's yummy guacamole!

Mike is feasting on Ingrid’s yummy guacamole!

Mike and Al solving the problems of the world

Mike and Al solving the problems of the world

If you’ve never seen her blog, Ingrid is a wonderful photographer.  You should check it out at www.livelaughrv.net

Ingrid is always looking to catch the light just right

Ingrid is always looking to catch the light just right

 

Ohhhhhh!  Too close for comfort!

Ohhhhhh! Too close for comfort!

We drove the switchbacks up to Muley Point, which was another vertigo-challenging day.  But oh so beautiful!

Switchbacks on Route 261 up to Muley Point Overlook

Switchbacks on Route 261 up to Muley Point Overlook

I put the camera on a tripod and set the 10-second timer so I could be in the picture.  Then I just hoped I wouldn’t be running so fast to get in the picture that I would fly off the cliff.

Muley Point Overlook

Muley Point Overlook

Lucy must really like to look over the edge of cliffs!

Lucy must really like to look over the edge of cliffs!

Next up, Natural Bridges National Monument, House of Fire and Comb Wash BLM.  Cheers!

 

12 thoughts on “Utah – Monument Valley to Gooseneck State Park

  1. Wow, as I was reading this I can sense the tension of jacks up, slides in and run before the wind blows. Oh my that was a great decision for I don’t think we might recognize Bear Tracks and all of you after that.
    What a beautiful place and what a fantastic view you have from your home. Glad you were not blown away boon docking at the edge.
    Im sure you guys have lots of fun and wished I was there with you 😦
    It will be a while before we get there so we will just enjoy your great photos for now.

  2. Fun times and gorgeous scenery. Sure wish we could’ve joined you at the boondock spot in Moab but we needed to get those repairs done. Great photos. I especially like the two at Cadillac Ranch with the winds and without. Doesn’t even look like the same spot. Thanks for the mention and we’ll see ya soon 🙂

  3. Linda: We are coming right behind you guys in a few more weeks.. We’re on our way to Sedona/Prescott for a couple of weeks, then heading up 163/191 toward Western Colorado (Rt145/50) for another few weeks…thanks for the good sightseeing ideas….

  4. Between your post and Ingrid’s, makes me long to be back out west. Can’t say enough about the red rocks of Utah. Look forward to your next post. 🙂

  5. Ahhh, you are breaking my heart! This is part of our trip last May/June. We visited each of your spots but we didn’t drive through Monument Valley. We also stayed at the Cadillac Ranch as our central location. There are some of the most amazing hikes in between Bluff and Natural Bridges. As a matter of fact, our favorite hike was to the Perfect Keva in Bullet Canyon. It was also our hardest and longest but oh so worth the effort. The Casa Mesa area is just packed with Indian ruins.

    Natural Bridge is a super eight mile hike if you do the loop and go into the canyon. I don’t know if you visited there yet. Check out our blog for this hike and the area. Thanks for taking me back! Can’t wait to see your next post:)

    How neat to get to spend time meeting up with Ingrid and Al. I am looking forward to meeting them one day soon.

  6. This brings back memories of our visit to Monument Valley several years ago. I really enjoyed your photos and description of the area. We also chose to drive our truck instead of taking the tour and I’m glad we did so we could take our time. We missed Valley of the Gods and Gooseneck State Park and after reading your post I’m sorry we skipped them!

  7. Nice to revisit these beautiful spots. Lucy is so cute looking down! We too were in a sandstorm recently. Interestingly I don’t think the winds were as great, but because of the drought in California it doesn’t take as much to blow lots of sand around, you’ll see it in our next post. Getting together with other blogger friends is always so nice!

  8. Pingback: Home with a view! | Live Laugh RV

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