Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bluff, Utah (April 24, 2012- April 26, 2012)

Bluff, Utah is a tiny town of about 300 and is located in the scenic and very sparsely populated southeastern canoyonlands of the Colorado Plateau. Nestled in the San Juan River valley, it boasts one gas station, one motel, two eateries and two RV parks. Most of the tourists stay here when visiting Monument Valley, the media icon of the Old West as depicted in numerous films.

We arrived early afternoon and quickly set up. Since we were only staying two nights we did not put out our usual creature comforts.  Just the satellite dish. The RV park was on the river and had a small pond with several ducks. Guinness really wanted to get into the water and since it was shallow and clean we granted him his wish. We found a small stick and that's all he needed. Even Rosco, who is not crazy about the water, decided to take a dip. Maybe it was because they had not been in the water since we left Texas back in early February. Their water time was brief, but they both enjoyed it. It would be a long time before they could have this opportunity again.
Hmmm...I see the stick. How do I get it?
Nothing like a swim to get the blood moving.

Uhhh...not sure I want to do this.
Oh, what the heck.

I sure look different when I'm all wet.  Kinda scrawny, but all muscle.

Since we were getting up and leaving early we took a short walk for the boys to dry, watched the sunset on the beautiful bluffs of the river, had an early dinner and hit the hay.  We both were excited to visit Monument Valley since we both love old westerns.

It was an overcast day as we headed south on U.S Route 163, a scenic byway that runs through Utah and Arizona. It was about 50 miles through the barren, but beautiful landscape to Monument Valley.  We took our time and saw several landmarks we had seen on TV, the movies and read about.

This part of Utah is absolutely stunning.

The colors are amazing.

The Mexican Hat Rock.

The Mexican Hat Lodge and Restaurant as featured on the Food Network's Alton Brown's "Feasting on Asphalt" series.

Monument Valley, itself, is in and administered by the Navajo Nation. As mentioned earlier, it is an iconic setting for many westerns and other movies. The entrance to the Valley is on a paved spur off of U.S. Route 163 and ends at the entrance station and visitor center.  The center sits on a high bluff and has a great view of the valley. The road into and through the valley is not paved and could be treacherous in wet weather. The sights and breath taking scenery, however, makes up for any inconvenience of the poor roads.

We wanna get out!

Monument Valley Visitor's Center.

Descending into the valley one must take a steep and winding two way dirt and gravel road. In places there is barely enough room for two cars to pass. About half way down we noticed some large vehicles approaching so we had to pull over to let them pass. The first vehicle, a large tractor trailer rig rumbled by us and we noticed it was a film production rig. The second vehicle was a very large 5th wheel RV pulled by a large truck.  It was struggling on the loose gravel road, but it made the turn and passed us stirring up a large cloud of dust. The third and much smaller vehicle was a modified pickup truck with a camera boom on it. This last truck really caught Guinness' attention and he hung out the window watching it as it approached. It seem they were filming the ascent for the camera and boom were moving in all directions. As the vehicle approached the operator must have seen Guinness for he swung the camera around and aimed it at him.  He kept the camera on him as they passed us bringing it to within 4-5 feet of his face. It stayed on him long after it passed us. Guinness' first screen test. Later on we found it was the production crew filming the new "Lone Ranger" and the RV was Johnny Depp's. Exciting.

Johnny Depp's Dressing Trailer

Camera Truck

Camera filming Guinness as they went by.

In the enlargement of the photo above you can see the camera is still focused on Guinness long after it went by.

With that excitement behind us we proceeded down the road to the valley floor. The road is a loop around the valley and for the most part is one way. We made several stops to get out, take pictures and just to walk around. Since this is Navajo land there were quite a few small ranches in the valley.  Most were devoted to raising horses.

This whole area is a photographer's paradise. It offers up some of the most amazing scenery and breath taking views. We spent the better part of the day here just taking in the eye candy. This will be in the top ten best places we have visited so far. Tomorrow we head north toward Moab, Utah and the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

If you click on a picture it will bring up all the pictures in a full screen format.

1 comment:

Jack Berry said...

Great pic, Dane.(Too bad the Lone Ranger movie wasn't successful) Back to being a Pirate