From Lake Mead to Monument Valley

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Friday, April 20, 2012

LAKE MEAD & MONUMENT VALLEY  April 11th - 17th  

From Las Vegas we drove a short distance to Lake Mead.  We stayed in the National Park, about 200 metres from the lake.  7 years ago, this RV park was right near the lake, but due to drought, the water has depleted considerably.  It was a nice park, with gum trees.

Hoover Dam is massive.  We drove across the 2,000ft long bridge which spans the Black Canyon (about 1,500ft south of  Hoover Dam), connecting the Arizona and Nevada  highways nearly 900ft above the Colorado River.   Construction of this bridge began January 2005 and was finished on October  2010. It cost $250 million dollars.

Our 9km bike ride through 6 tunnels was an interesting one. These tunnels were dug out from the mountains back in the 1930's so that a steam train could take concrete & materials to the workers who were building the Hoover Dam.   We had beautiful views of the lake as we rode on the dirt track.   

Mike got a flat tyre about the half way mark so his ride back was a little difficult.   He said it
took all the strength he could muster......a normal human being would never have coped!!  At least I could go faster than him, instead of always trying to catch up!   He reckons having the endurance of an elite sportsman ensured he did not give up, every stroke of the pedal an
insurmountable effort on the part of any mere mortal, the sweat oozing from every pore of his skin, as he persisted on getting to that finish line, that being the car.....yes, 5 kms of unimaginable torture on a bumpy dirt road!! 

Actually it was mostly a downhill run, & I don't think it was really that difficult, but you know what he is like, it has to be THE MOST difficult bike ride EVER undertaken by anyone!!  

 He  bought a new inner tube to replace the flat one, then promptly put a hole in that as he was opening the packet with a sharp knife, so had to go to the shop again & buy a repair kit to fix the new tube,  and finally it is fixed!! Ha!  Only Michael could do this!!   Anyway all is good now, and we are ready to go bike riding again.

We hired a speed boat for a couple of hours and went out on the lake. It was fairly cold, so we
decided not have it for the whole day,  2 hours was enough, and we had a bit of fun. We took the boat up near Hoover Dam, and sat in the sheltered canyon and had a coffee. The carp in the marina are huge, and wait to be fed by the many visitors here.  

We travelled about 600kms (450 miles) in one day to get to Monument Valley and stayed at the Gouldings RV park.  We arrived when it was dark, so didn't see our surroundings till the morning.   Our backdrop was the brilliant huge red mountainous rocks. It is in this area that the John Wayne movies were filmed, and the hut he stayed in, is here at the lodge. Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau,  and there are many clusters of vast sandstone 'buttes' the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300 m) above the valley floor.   

We spent quite a few hours driving round the valley, on a bumpy trail, stopping at these monoliths of all shapes & sizes that just protrude out of the ground. The sun was shining,  the weather perfect, & Mikes melodious voice resounded round the quiet valley as he did the Aussie 'COOEE',  to hear how the echo bounced off the many massive buttes!! (pronunciation as 'beaut') Northern Arizona & Southern Utah between them certainly have a monopoly on the worlds most stupendous array of natural wonders.  2 years ago we were here, there was a lot of
snow, and a full moon shone over the monuments creating an eerie glow.  Mike took some great photos at night & early in the morning of the valley floor covered in cloud, and just the top of
the 'buttes' protruding through.  

 Monument Valley is one of the areas in the world that has the darkest skies,  so it makes star watching really amazing. Mike wanted to go into the depths of nowhere to try to find a place with no other lights,  I was worried we were heading to 'Killersville'!!!    With all these Navajo Indians around, I imagined we would be caught, scalped, and end up on the end of a Totem Pole, being cooked while they did an Indian war dance around us!!   We headed out along a dirt track, & had a good view of the stars, but not as good as when we go to Cobar at the Oliver's Farm in outback Australia.   The stars out there are the best!  

Next blog: Durango, Silverton & Ouray  

Anyway thats all, Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and we LOVE reading your comments,  keep safe and well,  God bless....Miss you all.  
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