DAY 8- Blanding Utah to Page Arizona via Monument Valley. 250 miles.
We left Blanding early this morning and headed down US 163 and US 160 thru Monument Valley. Several points of interest came up as we headed west. First we pulled in to the Sand Island Launching Ramp on the San Juan River. A group of rafters were prepping to depart on a river ride to Lake Powell, a four day journey for them, a ½ day ride for us.
The cliffs behind the Ramp were covered with the petroglyphs of early visitors as well as the more modern explorers and pioneers who settled the area 150 years ago. I am surprised that the modern graffiti artists haven’t defaced these cliffs, but so far they haven’t done their damage. I guess the Security Lizards
Keep an eye on the visitors to prevent vandalism!
A bit further down the road we saw the loading tower and rail operation of the Navejo owned Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad. The sole function of this hundred mile stretch of electric-powered railroad is to haul coal from the mines at Black Mesa to the huge power generating plant in Page, AZ. Since this track doesn’t connect to any other railroad all the equipment had to be hauled in on huge trucks. Another oddity in addition to the rare electric power source (not diesel-electric), is that the trains have no crews, they are operated totally from a control center by remote control. The locomotives are German Built, 6000 horsepower each! This is a real unusual operation in today’s rail world.
Still heading west we passed thru the main part of Monument Valley with a stop at Golding’s Trading Post for Janet and a Slush stop for both of us at the Sonic in Kayenta. The road looks like the ‘running scene in FORREST GUMP’ when Tom Hanks decided to stop running and go home. The dogs enjoyed the warm sunny weather at one of the several stops we made.
We then arrived in Page. An early Mexican dinner at Alfonso’s, in the strip mall at the Safeway Center was good but not photo worthy. We checked out the town and shot a couple of Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell photos for this report then returned to the Days Inn to do some laundry and enjoy a relaxing evening.
Today we stay local in Page. We will prep for the North Rim overnite camp-out. The Rim Road opens for the season today. We will eat one dinner at the lodge, but camp the night tomorrow. No reports until we get to Kanab Utah the day after torrow. See ya then!