Aiiieeeeeeee! Today (Friday) was a very long drive day. If we’d had access to the internet, to know what the mileage actually was, I think we would not have done the loop. But we did not have access, we did not know, and so we went. Yes, I know, there are still maps in the world, but our atlas was in the RV, many miles away from us.
The first stop was Valley of the Gods. It’s a 17 mile dirt road that connects 163 to 261. It’s a beautiful drive. We enjoyed Monument Valley, but this is better. The rocks are closer.
Camping is allowed out there. This is a novel sleeping solution.
Red rock formations. It’s just lovely out there.
On the first half of the drive the road is pretty good. When you get to the second half, there are more hills that you can’t see over, and steeper hills. It’s a very doable drive, a regular car could make it as long as the road is dry.
Isn’t this lovely?
The end of the road places you at the bottom of the Moki Dugway. A “dugway” is a road along a hillside which is dug out to provide a path for transport. Moki was built in the 1950s during the uranium boom by Texas Zinc Minerals to provide a route for ore haulers from the mines on Cedar Mesa to the mill near Mexican Hat. It’s an 11% grade in places.
The road is narrow, with many blind corners. We were fortunate to only meet one on coming vehicle, and we were on a wide spot, so passing wasn’t an issue.
This is the pullout where everybody stops to get a picture of the switch backs. When you’re done with the dugway, you’re on top of the Cedar Mesa.
The view from the final overlook.
After the dugway, we were off to Muley Point. It’s another dirt road off 261. Sections are a little washboarded, but it’s not a terrible road.
Remember Goose Necks Park from yesterday? This is more of the entrenched meander of the river. It goes on forever.
Look at the size of the rocks that have broken off of the mesa top.
Same rock, different angle.
You can see into Monument Valley from up there.
After Muley Point, we should have gone back down the dugway, and returned whence we came. See the bottom two 261 markers? The dugway is between them. Instead, we went north based on our belief that there would be some cool things to see along 95. We were fooled again by the enthusiastic people who write the guides for an area. I still don’t know how far the drive was (no internet), but it involved two more dirt roads, and a long drive back to Bluff.
This was an amazing piece of road on 95. Comb Ridge, that rock formation, proved to be an impassable barrier to the pioneers who were forced to travel along it as far as the river to bypass its height before settling Bluff.
An enormous cut was made into the rock to let the road through.
See how it goes on forever?
Tomorrow we’re going to sight see with less driving. We also need to get the dead bugs off the paint on the nose of the RV and truck. They’re yellow, and they will stain if not removed. I suspect we’ll have to drive out of the bowl that houses Bluff up to higher ground to get a Verizon signal. The RV park internet has not been good enough to load a post with this many pictures.