Tour of Arizona

Psyche! There isn’t one.

But since I’m on perpetual vacation here in Arizona I decided last week to road trip around and see the rest of the wonderful state before I leave. I was sure Arizona had a lot more to offer than just desert and cacti.
My childhood friend Lizzy came to visit form Michigan and also wanted to see the wonders of amAZing Arizona. We were slightly let down in the fact that Arizona is pretty much all desert. We started on Monday heading up through Pheonix then East to Tortilla Flats through some pretty awesome park area.
We were unfortunately driving through the single rainy day in Arizona history which made Superstition Mountain look like Sauron’s castle, it’s just missing the giant flaming eye.

After a brief stop to admire a ghost town/tourist trap, we headed out east on the ApacheTrail

It was a beautiful area, and the road was awesome, definitely worth a trip back to hit up on a road bike. Then the road turned to dirt for a full 22 miles. I was pretty skeptical of my own cars abilities at first but after seeing a few retiree’s in their boat sized caddies’ going the opposite direction…well I couldn’t be shown up by the elderly.

So for about an hour I was tearing up the road rally car style, and by tearing up the road I mean babying my car along the super rough road at a blistering 20 mph. It was quite the scenic drive, including a stretch of super rough one lane road called Fish Creek Hill which used to be a dirt race course, some plaque they had said only like 20 people died racing up it. That’s pretty weak if you ask me, if you’re not crashing you’re not going fast enough.

Anyway after a pretty laborious hour of driving we finally made it to the Rosevelt Dam! Wohoo!

That night we made it all the way to the Wigwam motel in Holbrook, AZ.

Yes finally I fulfilled my lifelong dream of living in a tepee. Given these tepee’s were made of concrete and had cable television, I’m still counting it as my Native American experience. Actually my Native American experience was just beginning as pretty much the entirety of the next two days were spent in the Navajo nation. But before the whole Navajo bit, we went to the petrified national forest.
Let me tell you my thoughts on the petrified national forest: it sucks. Really don’t bother going out of your way, even the 30 mile drive through the park was too much for me. It’s pretty much just boring grassland with some old logs scattered around. Plus if all you want to do is see some petrified wood, any gift shop within a half hour has plenty of petrified wood made into cheesy folk art for $1000 or more.

So after that disappointing experience I had high hopes for our next stop Canyon de Chelly which was supposed to be a beautiful canyon with a lot of Navajo ruins, AND was the place where the last Navajo that hadn’t surrendered to America were slaughtered (history is fun!).


The canyon was actually really beautiful, and there was a cool hike that we did down into the canyon to check out some of the Navajo ruins. We also experienced some of our first Indiana culture, which is pretty much selling as much crap to tourists as possible. Canyon de Chelly is one of the few national parks owned by the Indians, so the base of the canyon is actually private land. This means that pretty much EVERYWHERE in the Navajo nation parks there will be people set up with folding tables selling Indian crafts.
They even have Indian sweatshops where they force ancient Indian Grandma’s to make rugs all day

Ok so it’s not a sweatshop, but a rug of this size will cost upward of $2000. And for good reason, after watching her for a few minutes I got the impression that this is incredibly complicated to do these rugs by hand and take a long time.
Anyway on to the next attraction…well we didn’t make it to the next attraction that day. So we stopped and got some Indian food: Fry Bread. Fry bread I guess is just dough deep fried in lard, which is delicious. Lizzy is below demonstrating the proper way to eat Fry Bread: soak it in Honey

And also a Navajo taco, which is nothing like a taco, just fry bread with a bunch of taco ingredients on top.

Monument Valley was the next stop. I tried hitting up some MTB’ing but since it’s all Navajo land there aren’t any trails anywhere in the park (which is all private land again).

What no trails?

Pretty beautiful

This is where Eminem grew up, and he was Navajo in case you didn’t know.

Yeah had to shoot some banditos off a ridge, no big deal. Thanks to my trusty steed “Lightning” at 28 years of age, he can still get me to the action.
After all this we went to the Glen Canyon Dam:

Dam!
Then it was off to horseshoe bend, a really awesome section of the river that is a half mile from the highway.
Then we went to the Grand Canyon…which had snow. Wait I thought this was the desert what the hell is snow doing here.
The Grand Canyon had some interesting ads running on their buses, but they know best so I’ve been trying to follow their advice as best as possible since I got back.

After the Grand Canyon we drove back down through Flagstaff, then Sedona, then back through Phoenix to Tucson on Thursday.
The next day we went to the San Xavier mission, which was way cooler than the Petrified National Forest.

Come to think of it every park I’ve ever been to is way cooler than the Petrified National Forest.
So the moral of the whole trip I guess is don’t go to the Petrified National Forest.
I learned a lot.
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