15 days, 64 driving hours, 2,578 miles. 4 states, 5 National Parks, 9 National Monuments, 13 breweries. A whirlwind tour of the American Southwest.
Day 1: Oakland to Albuquerque to Holbrook, Arizona. El Malpais National Monument on the way to El Moro National Monument. Gallup, Holbrook, some chow at the Butterfield and a night at the Wigwam. All the high points. Off to a roaring start.
Day 2: Petrified Forest National Park to Sedona, Arizona.
Day 3: Sedona to Grand Canyon.
Ancient light from Mohave Point.
Day 5: Grand Canyon to Alstrom Point.
Grand Canyon to Page, Arizona, East from Big Water, Utah on backcountry roads to Alstrom Point. This is an unforgettable drive through a corner of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and some of the most epic scenery around. It can be mostly completed with a standard vehicle in dry conditions, but the final couple miles get significantly more dicey, over tenuously cairn-marked slickrock, and require high clearance. I'm sure the local folks are used to places like this, but for someone not used to driving in these conditions, getting all the way out here felt like a legit accomplishment. I'd had this place on my list for years. I was stoked we made it. A highlight of the trip.
Day 6: Page, Arizona to Monument Valley via Navajo National Monument.
Day 7: Remote Southeastern Utah. Monument Valley to Moki Dugaway to House on Fire ruins near Blanding. Final destination: Moab
Day 8 / 9 : Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dead Horse Point State Park.
Fogged out years ago, I'd been dreaming of a clear view ever since.
Day 10 : Hovenweep and Canyon of the Ancients National Monuments.
Hovenweep National Monument is comprised of numerous ancient Anasazi ruins, built and inhabited in the 12th century until they were abruptly, and somewhat mysteriously, abandoned a short time later. The sites are scattered over a remote section of southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, their isolated location protecting the ingenuity and legacy of a once vibrant civilization. It's impossible to escape the haunting sense of this place, wandering the towering ruins through an all-encompassing silence, the craftsmanship remarkably preserved some 700 years after the sudden disappearance of their architects.
Day 11 : Durango, Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park.
Day 12 / 13 / 14 : A couple days to unwind in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bandelier and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monuments, Valles Caldera National Preserve.
Valles Caldera National Preserve outside of Los Alamos.
Bandelier and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monuments.
Day 15 : Home.