The 200 mile drive from Tusayan at the Grand Canyon, Arizona to Mexican Hat near Monument Valley, Utah, firstly takes you through a good chunk of Grand Canyon National Park. So it is a pleasant scenic drive along the eastern portion of the south rim. We were taking some photos over a picnic lunch when a ground squirrel raided our water. Always carry lots of water in this heat and avoid the squirrels as they have fleas.
Because of an avalanche on the route from Grand Canyon to Page, the detour route puts more cars onto this route, so it is busy up until Tuba City where the road branches off for Page to the north and Monumant Valley to the north-east. We stopped at a Navajo diner in Tuba City for lunch and a refuel for Suaimhneas. We read here about a guy who was going to walk across part of the Grand Canyon on a tightrope – it takes all sorts I suppose. Just prior to Tuba City, we had a Navajo guide who showed us some fossilised dinosaur footprints.
As is becoming the norm, we arrived in time for the Monument Valley sunset. We went up to the Navajo Visitor Centre and watched the sunset from there. We saw cars of all type driving the 17 mile loop, but we decided against doing it ourselves as the country looked a bit too challenging for Suaimhneas. We had a couple tasty beers here but they were non-alcoholic as is traditional practice on Navajo land. Monument Valley & the Navajo nation lands here are in both Arizona and Utah.
On route to our accommodation in Mexican Hat, we stop for another photo op at Utah mile marker 13, also known at Forrest Gump Point (from the film of the same name). This is where Forrest Gump finished running.
Hat Rock Inn, Mexican Hat, Utah, USA
Utah – our third state in this four state road trip. As with other places, the Hat Rock Inn is a motel. The room was fine. We had a ground floor room and a parking spot right outside the door, which was easy for the loading and unloading. This is something that is worth considering if you are on a road trip like this. When you are only staying one night, the easier it is to unload / load from the car to the room, the better. I hadn’t really given that any thought in the planning, but will in future. We ate at the Swinging Steaks Restaurant near the motel. It has good food. The steaks are cooked in front of you, on a barbeque….. with a swinging grill. The bar had a great relaxed feel and since we were now in Utah, the home of Mormonism, we had to try a “Polygamy Porter” – as their motto goes: “Why have just one?”.
As usual we were getting dinner quite late (for Americans). Most restaurants en route close their kitchens at 9pm and close altogether around 10pm. This is another difference that should be noted between US and Europe. In Spain for instance, if you go to dinner at 9pm, the locals will only be arriving as you are finishing. This place says that it will stay open until everyone is fed. We had a lovely steak and went off to bed after another long, but enjoyable day.
Then there are the time zones. Pádraig already wrote about that in the differences section. “Utah does not observe daylight savings time and is therefore only 7 hours behind Ireland in the summer”. This means we have lost an hour in our travels today, but we will get it back tomorrow. We have 2 nights like that, this is the first. Bryce Canyon will be the 2nd.
- Daredevil Successfully Completes Tightrope Walk 1,500 Feet Above Gorge Near Grand Canyon (lasvegas.cbslocal.com)
- Day 4 – Grand Canyon (deburcaontour.wordpress.com)