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When we visited Monument Valley on our road trip it was a really long detour through a snowstorm. That route was from Page to Flagstaff (183 miles, 3 hours) and adding Monument Valley increased the drive to 306 mi (5 hours 21 mins).

This time, we were driving from Moab, UT to Page, AZ, and the detour to Monument Valley is pretty much on the way.

After packing up our camping gear in Arches National Park we started on the road to Page. We stopped at a combo A&W/gas station/bowling alley(??) in Blanding, Utah to get lunch and do some computer work. It was super slow, but we weren’t in much of a rush anyway. After spending an hour there we finally hit the road again.

Since we came from the north this time, we got a different view driving into the valley. Here is the Mexican Hat formation in the nearby town of Mexican Hat, Utah.

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And looking down the San Juan River in Mexican Hat, Utah.

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After that we began our descent into the valley. This was around where we turned around in 2009. Just for fun comparison — the view on an overcast day in April 2009 vs. our sunny day in July 2013. The visibility was much better (from farther up the road, even).

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Another view in the valley area.

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In 2009 we drove all the way to Monument Valley, drove to mile 13, turned around and drove to Flagstaff. We didn’t visit the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (the actual park with more monuments) so I made sure we did that this time.

These are the mittens. The road inside the park is unpaved red dirt/sand with a lot of bumps and potholes as well as some soft sand. The sign at the park entrance recommended 4wd and high clearance vehicles, or taking a tour. We decided we’d test it out in the Honda. We weren’t the only passenger car down in there, but it was definitely rough and we chose to turn around at the 5 mile marker rather than complete the additional 11 mile loop.

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Below, the Three Sisters formation.

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Elephant Butte, I think.

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And some horses on the way out!

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After that we headed onwards to Page, AZ for a few days of laziness and properly functioning internet.

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