Hi there. Christine here. Now I am really envious. Jan is in Kanab, our favourite town in the whole of the USA. We have spent many weeks in this lovely southern town on the border of Arizona. Utah has to be our favourite state too; so many National Parks, so much red rock and so much spectacular scenery. If we ever win the lottery, this is where we would live.
As Jan makes the ride from Monticello – where he stayed at the end of the last post, you might understand why we love this state. The rides are long and hot, the roads are deserted. In winter, this must be a magical place to see – lots of snow and red rock too.
Jan had to stop and investigate this tumbleweed in the road
He made the mistake of trying to pick it up. They prickle! I had about 8 thorns in my finger.
It was welcome to tumble off back down the ol’ highway!
Imagine falling into the nursery of tumbleweeds!
From his email this morning:
THE THING IS, NONE OF THOSE VIDEO CAMERAS GO ON FOR VERY LONG, AND WITH MY LUCK, ANY TIME ANYTHING HAPPENED, THE CARD WOULD BE FULL OR THE BATTERY DEAD.
Bluff. A nice little town not far from Monument Valley (more later).
A smidgen of history: John Taylor, Silas S. Smith and Danish settler, Jens Nielson led about 230 Mormons undertook an expedition to start a farming community in southeastern Utah. After forging about 200 miles (320 kilometers) of their own trail over difficult terrain, the settlers arrived on the site of Bluff in April 1880.(The trail followed went over and down the “Hole In the Rock”, which now opens into one of the tributaries of Lake Powell.) The town’s population had declined to seventy by 1930 but rebounded during a uranium prospecting boom in the 1950s. With the uranium decline in the 1970s Bluff again declined and now remains a small town with about 300 residents.
Mexican Hat is on U.S. Route 163 just 3 miles (5 km) south of the junction with State Route 261 and is just outside the northern boundary of both the Navajo Nation and Monument Valley. Goosenecks State Park is located just 9 miles (14 km) west-northwest, Alhambra Rock is 6 miles (10 km) west-southwest, and the Valley of the Gods is to the north on U.S. 163. The name “Mexican Hat” comes from a curiously sombrero-shaped, 60-foot (18 m) wide by 12-foot (3.7 m) thick, rock outcropping on the northeast edge of town.
(Christine: there’s a photo of me squatting having a pee here – just below the bike. I wonder who snapped that!)
Monument Valley: this has to be one of the most iconic places in the world, related to cowboy/western movies and John Wayne, of course. It is a very spiritual place. The last time I was there (Christine) we were in a huge thunderstorm with bolts of lightning hitting the ground all around us. An awesome sight and not a little scary when on a motorcycle.
This is a sad sight to see. This is Shepherd’s Eyes in Kayenta. Last time we were here, we called in to see a good friend Ron – a lovely Navajo man who did a lot of work for the tribe. he had a great coffee bar in this circle and he was a massive help to us on two visits here.
All closed down. three years ago, this was busting with local Navajo artists displaying their paintings and jewelry.
Glen Canyon has been home to people for thousands of years. Archaic and prehistoric Indian cultures roamed and lived in the canyons. Later, a vast panorama of explorers, miners, ranchers, historic Indian tribes, and others left their mark here. In more recent times, a few hardy homesteaders, river runners, and uranium miners lived, worked, or played among the canyons until they were filled by the waters of Lake Powell.
Glen Canyon is located in southeastern and south central Utah and northwestern Arizona within the Vermilion Cliffs area. An immense area located north of the Grand Canyon, it too was carved by the Colorado River.
Lake Powell, the reservoir, was created by the Glen Canyon Dam. It was completed in 1963, destroying much of Glen Canyon. Lake Powell emerged from a struggle over damming Dinosaur National Monument. The Sierra Club and its leader, David Brower, were instrumental in blocking the dam in Dinosaur, ignoring Glen Canyon in the process. Before Glen Canyon was flooded, but after the struggle in Congress, Brower floated the canyon and realized what a tremendous resource it was. This experience transformed Brower’s attitude towards environmental preservation, making him more radical and less likely to compromise.
Look at the 4 x 4s down there like little Mechano toys.
As the light began to fade, Jan arrived in Kanab. Sun and Sands motel was our usual choice for about 5 years but, last year, it was closed down. We were sad to know that the wonderful and crazy Wayne was no longer here. No motel owner could have been kinder nor more generous. When we parked the bike and walked into to book a room, he would produce three (one for himself) ice-cold beers on the office counter and say, ‘Here you go, a REAL beer, from ARIZONA. None of that UTAW piss’ for you guys’.
It seems it has reopened under new ownership. Which is good. Jan will go and check it out soon and may book a week there. There had been a problem with bed bugs – so he needs to check that problem out first.Kanab is (or was) a movie town – known in the old days as ‘Little Hollywood’. This is because many, many, many westerns were filmed close by. The streets are lined with plaques to the famous and infamous who filmed in the area – John Wayne, Dean Martin, – dozens of famous actors.The first night, Jan got a room in Parry’s motel. This was built specifically to accommodate the ‘movie stars’ But the room he had (unknown actress as far as we are concerned – I must look her up) wasn’t big enough to swing a cat in!
There she is, Arlene Dahl: let’s check her out on google: “Dahl began her acting career in 1947. She reached the peak of her popularity and success in the 1950s. Some of her films include: Reign of Terror (1949), Three Little Words (1950), Woman’s World (1954), Slightly Scarlet (1956), and Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959).”. But Arlene (and therefore Jan) was situated next to Telle Savalas and Dean MartinThis barn, at the back of the motel has been converted into a movie theatre where you can watch westerns every evening.
Jan had one night in Parry’s and moved, the next day, to Aiken Lodge – a little cheaper and a lot bigger. Although, he had been put upstairs in a room facing a wall!
Yesterday was a very frustrating day for Jan. he was up and out of the room at Parry’s by 9am. He knew he wouldn’t be able to get into the next motel until 11am at the earliest so he toddled off for breakfast. At 11am, the room wasn’t ready. Try half past one, they said. So, he hung around – looking in shops until 1330 and was anxious to get into his room, offload the bike, get his armour off (he is getting very sore shins now from the heat and the armour) and then to get the computer out so he could Skype me before I went to bed (seven hour time difference). Nope, a notice in the office window said, ‘Gone for lunch, back at 1430’. Poor MGM.
Still there is always a bar open for just the one cooler….
And, as always, he managed to find some friendly, shifty-lookin’ locals having a poker game in the bar
It is so hot in Kanab that even the wood used to help support the bike, is sinking into the tarmac
Finally! He could get the armour off and give his shins a rest and some fresh airThe frustrations continue; he is having problems with the old notebook that has XP o/s.
Again, from an email:
SO, IF I DO NOT HAVE ANY LUCK MAILING THIS LAST SET OF PHOTOS TO CHRISTINE, I WILL HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER NOTEBOOK, PERHAPS ITS TIME TO BITE THE BULLET AND GET A Mac Air!