Canyon de Chelly to Monticello

Trip Start May 02, 2011
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Trip End May 07, 2011


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Flag of United States  , Utah
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

9am was the 1/2 day trip on the truck.  They were only using the Unimog on the day long tour and if the water was deep.  But the truck experience is pretty much the same.  The truck is a 4 wheel drive with a flat bed and bench seats on the back.  We chose this tour because it's all open air.  There's lots of other tours with jeeps and air conditioned Suburbans, but we wanted the truck experience, none of this air-conditioned cushy stuff!!   Shortly after entry into the canyon the driver puts it into 4 wheel drive and stays there til we come out.  We drive thru the water, on the banks, up and down.  We went up 2 canyons, Canyon del Muerte and Canyon de Chelly.  Really a lot of fun and the driver told a lot of history and stories.  Driver was David, said he had been raised way up at the end of the north canyon (Muerte), was 61yo and had been driving this tour for 31 years.

In the canyon we talked with Travis Terry, a Navajo who plays the flute and has a number of CDs out.  He was pretty interesting, about our age.  We covered '55 Chevys, new trucks, being a medic in the Navy, working for a nephrologist, the Lone Ranger, playing taps on the flute for the Hawaiian vets at Pearl Harbor.  He played the flute for us, and played taps.  Sounded beautiful in the canyon.

After the tour we went on the north rim and looked down on the sites we had seen in the canyon.  Also saw the Massacre and Mummy sites.  Came back to Chinle to 191 and on to Monticello.  We had planned to stop at Natural Bridges but didn't because we had used the time to do the North Rim.

We had reservations at the Runnin' Iron Inn 8 miles north of Monticello.  It's a little hard to find.  It's mid-way between milepost 79 and 80... but we never saw either milepost.  But it's the only thing out there so we found it.  Rustic, no phone, no TV, no wi-fi, no ice, no hairdryer, no shampoo, no chair in the room.  I knew all that before we went so we were prepared.  It was clean and nice, knotty pine, and lots of character in the whole place!  Artifacts, mining stuff, bear and mountain lion skins.  We had supper there.  Excellent!  It really set the gold standard for dining!  I had rib-eye steak and Cameron had orange-maple salmon with pecans... he said it was the best ever.  The salad was probably the best I've ever had anywhere... the whole meals was great!  Definitely eat there again.  It was so much they kept the left overs in the fridge for me.  The people were really friendly.
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