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Red Rock Road Trip

 Saturday, 9/13/97 

Monument Valley: The Last Morning

"There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage" ---Mark Twain

Beans of sunrise (11kb)

I awoke planning to coast through the morning, shooting only a little, as I was certain I must have seen it all over the previous three days. And while I wanted to see it again, I didn't plan on shooting it again. But Mother Nature started off by providing me with a fresh new sunrise I'd certainly never seen before, with incredible beams of light through the sky.

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Golden morning light (13kb)

When I was planning my itinerary for this trip, I wondered if three and a half days was too much time to devote to this area. I had slight fears that after two days, I'd feel like I'd covered it all, so I planned a few possible side trips to nearby places like Muley Point, Goosenecks State Park, and the Valley of the Gods. In the end, other than the side trip to Goosenecks with Chief Broom, I never strayed from the route between my motel and the Valley.

"Nature is very un-American. Nature never hurries." ---William George Jordan

Shadow & Light (10kb)

  But apparently I'm different from your average traveller, or at least the ones I've encountered on these journeys. Many seem to only be interested in seeing as many places as possible during their allotted time. I see them coming, and I get out of their way. They arrive 50 to a bus, get off and snap pictures of each other in front of the Canyon/Waterfall/Butte for ten minutes, and leave for the next photo op. Then I go back to shooting.

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Red rocks (13kb)

The couple from Germany that I met on Day Six with Tom the guide were a prime example. They were very nice people, spoke English fluently, and must have had the strength of ten. When Tom asked them where they had been on their trip, and where they were headed next, they said "We flew into San Francisco, then we went to Yosemite, and Sequoia, and Las Vegas, and Bryce Canyon, and Zion, and Canyonlands, then here, and next we go to Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon, and Death Valley before we fly out of L.A." How long is your trip? "Two weeks."

"Travelling is like flirting with life. It's like saying, 'I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.' " --- Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

Light & shadow on butte (12kb)

I just can't do that. I'd go nuts. Each of the places I visited deserved more time than I could devote, and I didn't even touch the areas in between. Making a 10-Minute-Photo-Op tour (on a bus, no less) seems almost sacrilegious to me. I want to spend my time in the environment, not a vehicle. This is why I chide friends and family when they show me a photo from their vacation of a lovely scene with a guardrail at the bottom of the frame (sometimes it's even motion blurred)....
"Get OUT of the CAR! You can sit in one anywhere! Get OUT of the %#@!$ CAR!"

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View from John Ford' Point (11kb)

But if you haven't figured it out yet, I don't travel like normal people do. Most people would have been rightly bored to tears after three days in Monument Valley, and begged to sleep in rather than spend another morning there. I couldn't wait to see the dawn there again, as I knew it would be the last of this trip. And on that final morning, Monument Valley did not disappoint. Although I have no Native American blood, like them, I consider this a sacred place.

"If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things" ---Henry Miller

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