Tuba City and other Desert stuff

Our friends were getting married against the backdrop of the Red Rocks in Sedona.

This was our first destination wedding. Beautiful country. This actually had us thinking of having our own destination wedding.

My wife even zeroed in on a location near Yellowstone. Her idea got ganked by a close friend who beat us to the punch. Turns out, it was a great idea, we had a blast which I am sure will be covered in an upcoming episode of Travel Log.

It was an outdoor wedding right at the base of the Red Rocks. All this time later and the story that stood out to us most is me waiting lurking right outside the service tents to ambush waiters for their fancy hors d’oeuvres. Rich people weddings are the best.

After Sedona, we went up a mountain (it seemed) to get to Flagstaff. A city of 70,000 at an elevation of about 7,000 feet above sea level.

A real purty little town if ever I did see one. Really felt like a place you could retire to. Deep snows in winter, yet surrounded by desert.

Neat Fact. Flagstaff is purposefully dark (by law) at night so as to see the stars better.

We went on a sightseeing tour with our local resident friend. Being a big fan of Spaghetti Westerns, I had to see Monument Valley. It did not disappoint.

You can practically feel the lone cowboy riding off into the distance. From my picture you can see the Three Sisters off to the right. This also means we had crossed into Utah.

There is such a sense of vastness out west. I have noticed this in Montana, the Dakotas, Colorado, and in the Southwest. Such a massive sense of space and time and emptiness. It affects you.

We drove through Tuba City.

Although founded by Mormons, it is nowadays the largest community of Navajos in America.

And get this, Arizona does not recognized daylight savings time, but the Navajo reservation does. Tribal offices and schools observe DST, while most businesses do not. I imagine this gets confusing.

We took some time to drive through the Navajo reservation and the smaller Hopi reservation that is actually inside the larger Navajo reservation.

My two observations were thus; There are a few places in this country where you can see true poverty. When you see it, it is jarring. Also Navajo fry bread is delicious and addictive.

Back on the road toward Phoenix, we took yet another desert detour. I am sure glad we did.

Check out the cliff dwelling called Montezuma’s Castle;

 Built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. The main structure comprises five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries.

It was probably built up high to avoid the annual flooding of the river below.

By the time we actually got to the Grand Canyon, I failed to appreciate it properly. Sorry, it is a big giant hole in the ground. I think I just could not grasp the sheer vastness of it all and hold that in my head sufficiently to really get it.

The family is taking another desert trip later this year to Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon. This time with kids. I plan on taking more time to really soak it in. Maybe even ride some donkeys down into the Canyon itself.

Hopefully Grand Canyon Adventure 2.0 will make a more concrete impression.

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8 thoughts on “Tuba City and other Desert stuff

  1. I love the west. I’ve felt that sense of vastness and expansiveness you describe. It does affect you. Hard to explain exactly how, but you know it when you’re there.

    I’ve thought of high elevation towns in the SW as potential places to retire to – snow in the winter, but lots of sun and low humidity in the summer. But the main thing that stops me is the amount of driving required. The vastness means most everything is separated by miles and miles of open country.

    I’ve heard stories of folks out there who routinely drive 90-100 miles one way to go out to dinner. I don’t think I would like that long term.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who tends to gravitate to where the waiters appear with the appetizers 🙂 By the end of the night most waiters don’t even ask if I want one and wait for me to pick it up 🙂 lol

  3. Whenever I read stuff like this I’m reminded of quite how large America actually is. When I was a teenager my parents took us to America for three weeks and we spent most of that time on Greyhound buses going from one place to another. Coming from what is a large, rather crowded, island off the North West corner of Europe it was extraordinary to see these wide open spaces with roads that disappears into the horizon.

    Thanks for bringing back those memories!

  4. If you want a bit more insight into the West from a brilliant writer, check out a collection of essays from Wallace Stegner, ” Where the bluebird sings to the lemonade springs.”

    The West is good for keeping your insignificance in perspective.

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