Road Trip 2017: Arizona to Utah

Part one of our two day drive from Arizona to Idaho:

Hangover has entered day two… We’re leaving Arizona today. It’s been amazing, but we’ve over 1000 miles to drive with an overnight stop in the Utah wilderness before we reach our next destination. Emma’s going to do some driving too!

Leaving the high country of Flagstaff, the mountain living vibe and pine trees are immediately replaced as the long, straight road out of town drops you 2000 feet into the desert hardy low level shrubs of the Navajo territory. It’s at this moment you begin to appreciate the vastness of the country. There’s 60-80 miles between sat nav instructions and with few cars on the road, you have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.

Over 170 miles into the journey (or one right and one left turn – seriously) since leaving Flagstaff, we find ourselves in the heart of Navajo territory, Monument Valley. Iconic in films and sacred to the Navajo, you can drive and hike around this area with permission, but we’ve no time for that! A drive by and a few selfies and we’re on our way.

Putting the Yukon’s 4-wheel drive ability to good use, we off-road our way to the rock formation known as Mexican Hat. Not a hugely popular excursion due to its awkward remoteness, but it was fun to get the truck dusty. To head north from here, you would be directed up the main highway and around the face of the rim (rock face) that dominates the horizon; or you could drive up a steep, narrow, slippery gravel path that scales the 1000ft rim face in just a couple of miles… yay!

With Emma’s vocabulary reduced to four-letter words, we proceeded to climb out of the desert.

The lack of any guard rails and limited passing places made it all the more fun. Hairpin after hairpin, the reward for conquering the hill climb, is spectacular views of the valley below. Pausing briefly to appreciate the scenery and effort required to carve this awesome road, we were behind schedule and pressed on.

The drive through southern Utah is unbelievable and no photos we have taken can ever do it justice. Crossing rivers and passing through vast canyons, it has been 400 of the best miles I’ve ever experienced. With the temperature well over 100°F, photo stops are short and sweet. Settlements are few and far between, but we managed to find some tasty malted shakes at Blondie’s in Hanksville… I defy you to find anywhere that sounds more American!

A few hours later we pull into our campground in Green River. We’ve booked one of the log cabins for the night, it’s basic, but cozy. The site has a pool with a slide, so I’m all up in that as it’s a refreshing change to sitting on air conditioned leather. Tomorrow we head up to Idaho, time for some well earned rest!