Out With The Wiggles: Monument Valley and Horseshoe Bend

“Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.” ~ Tom Stoppard

This is the third post in its series

We’re outdoor people. A full day in any enclosed space can take its toll on this family, never mind a small metal space with little room to stretch out. This national park tour would require hundreds of miles in the van with long hours in between, stuck together with little to do.

Kids did their best to self-entertain and not to bicker or pick on siblings, but it’s hard, they’d tell you. Taking naps does its part in quelling boredom. When tempers flare, cracking the window can help ease tension.

Ginny (and Angie)
Fresh Air Photo-Bomb

Breaking trips up into 4-5 hour chunks is recommended for maximum sanity levels. We plug them in as the trips allow so that chaos energy can be transferred quickly and easily. Teens are no different than toddlers in that regard.

The Four Corners region, where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet, was on everyone’s bucket list. We weren’t terribly pleased with the $30 charge to enter the premise with our 6-person family, but everyone had to pee and it broke up the drive.. Native American art hawkers had their stands set up, ready to sell jewelry, wall-hangings, pottery, and the like to interested tourists. There was nothing we felt we couldn’t live without, so we left with a few memorable photos and empty bladders and were back on the road again.

Four States At Once!
(Disclaimer: This is not actually the spot. Shhh.
Don’t tell the kids.)

It didn’t take long for the kids to point out that the rock formations have human likenesses. (In fact, we are hard-wired to find these likenesses by our DNA.) Finding them is like playing a fun game of Road Bingo.

I set the camera to ‘Sunny 16’ settings (Exposure: ISO 500, 1/500 s, f/16, 35mm) and begin the series of ‘High Speed Photography’ (that’s what Scott calls it) from the front passenger’s seat blowing by at 75 some-odd miles per hour.

Depending upon which side the geology was on, I might have to shoot over the driver, having him sit way back in his seat and zooming in slightly to crop out the driver’s side mirror from the composure. There was always the challenge of shooting in between telephone poles or above fences, both of which can detract from a photo subject. I don’t post-process, after all — I’d need to get it right the first time.

Jabba The Hut Rocks

Baby Face Rocks

Chief-Watches-Over-Child Rocks
(Zoom in this one! It’s cool!)

As temperatures rose throughout the day, mini-tornadoes called dust devils would swirl from seemingly nothing in the distance. We counted several, probably a few dozen. Occasionally, one would present itself on the correct side of the vehicle, with the right lighting for a snapshot.

Dust Devil

Owl Rock
(It really is called this, by the way.)

We arrive at the Navajo Monument Valley entrance but stay on the roadside pull-off to fix our lunch. Nothing good can come from venturing inside the gambling casino in the distance. As luxury air-conditioned buses loaded with tourists whizzed by our picnic, we explored the area beneath our feet and let the panorama clear our minds of any clutter.

Yeah, that’s a nice view!

This is the place where many 1950’s and 1960’s (and probably some modern-day) American westerns were filmed. It is a terrain that screams the American West, and the wide-open spaces must have been fantastic for running horses alongside vehicles with mounted film cameras.

High Noon Shoot-out

Painted Lady with ‘Gray Whiskers’ Buttes

The geology changes every hour or so driving, and as we neared the the Grand Canyon, colors became more vivid, weathering more interesting. It’s not been since the Big Bend that we’ve seen geology so stunningly beautiful!

This scene should be painted.

One more stop: Horseshoe Bend. A friend of ours (thanks, Dave!) recommended that we take this jiggety-jog on the way to get out and stretch our legs. It was upwards of 100+ degrees, so thankfully, the hike to the view was a short and easy one. We got some automotive painting inspiration in the parking lot.

Paint job for the Magic Bus, perhaps?

Horseshoe Bend Overlook
Yep. Pretty stunning.
Hey! Isn’t that a pirate face?

Only a few hours left to go now. How about you sing some songs or something?

‘Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall … ‘
(Take one down, Mom. How about another?)

Grand Canyon camping, here we come! It better not be hot …and a cold beer certainly won’t hurt.

12 thoughts on “Out With The Wiggles: Monument Valley and Horseshoe Bend

  1. That’s a great picture of Ginny and Angie. I like the way the curve of Angie’s hair matches that of the seat she’s leaning against.

    I took a few pictures of Eve lying on that Four Corners monument when we visited there in the fall of 2014.

    I see the face you saw in Horseshoe Bend, though I don’t see it as a pirate (even though we attended a performance of Pirates of Penzance twelve days ago).


    1. I didn’t even realize Angie was there until after snapping it. They get very creative with their ‘bombs,’ some subtle, others not-so-much.


    1. Have you ever been down to Arizona? That’s quite the drive for you…

      I’m working on the next post in the series: Grand Canyon. Should hit your inbox this weekend. Stay well, Hazel!


      1. I have, just to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. I went on a big trip across the Southwest USA a couple of years ago before I moved to Victoria. It was amazing! I look forward to seeing the next post 🙂


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