Day three and four of our road trip saw us driving from Arizona to Utah. The stops along the way were some of the highlights of our trip, with stunning views, wonderful friendly people, and breathtaking views.
I knew we were headed into the Old West, and would be seeing dinosaur tracks, so I did the thrifty travelling momma thing, and stopped at a thrift store and Dollar Store in Flagstaff before hitting the road, and got the girls some hobby horses at the thrift store ($3 each) and cowboy hats, dinosaur toys and other goodies at the Dollar Store. (Some of the best souvenirs for the girls, and literally 1/10th the price of the same goodies at the overpriced gift shops in the middle of nowhere!)
First stop was to the Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks just outside of Tuba City, Utah. This location features real dinosaur tracks that have been viewed and verified by paleontologists all over the world. The sheer number of tracks and bones and fossils here are just mind boggling. There are literally hundreds of dinosaur tracks and that the view is fantastic. You can see the Hamblin Ridge in the distance, and get a glimpse of a preserved barren desert land on the Navajo Reservation.
The majority of tracks came from the dilophosaurus, a crested dinosaur weighing from 750 pounds to 1000 pounds – very large meat eating dinosaurs! Our tour guide was a real sweetie, and she even gave Tessa a piece of fossilized dinosaur poop to take home! (Tessa calls it her big rawr cacaball.)
We stopped for the night at the Monument Valley Tipi Village, a small grouping of hand-hewn and hand crafted tipis built and run by a sweet Navajo family. This stop was simply AMAZING. The immense, still beauty of Monument Valley was just to the east of our tipi, that brought gorgeous views with the rising sun. The Rock Door Mesa was just behind us, and to the west was Tear Drop Arch.
The tipi teepees was carpeted, and included camp beds with linens and blankets, a table and a lamp with electrical outlets. It was the craziest marriage of camping and bed and breakfast style luxury. We had fun sitting around the fire, and then spending a quiet morning of the girls playing in the iconic red sands and hopping around on their hobby horses.
After eating a yummy breakfast of Navajo Tacos at a nearby Chuckwagon, we headed into Monument Valley, the world famous region of the Colorado Plateau that is characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 feet above the valley floor. We took the 17 mile scenic loop drive, with frequent stops along the way so I could take a thousandy and one pictures!