Highway 1 Trip, Part 1 by Grace


My family and I went driving up Highway 1 in California in the Dormobile. We decded to do this because we were going to get a new/old car and

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not just any old car, a RANGE ROVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Range Rover was in Redwood Valley, CA. So, we decided to make a vacation out of the trip.

Yeah this may seem crazy, to take a 1968 Dormobile 2,444 miles round trip. But the only thing bad that happened was a flat tire.

We set off from Tucson on Sunday, June 12th. That night we spent in a hotel in Laughlin, NV. The plan for Monday was to get to the coast, but we didn’t quite make it and spent the night in Bakersfield, CA. The third day was the real start of our vacation.

We drove out of Bakersfield towards the coast and visited Paso Robles. This is one of my parents favorite places to visit wineries. We visited a few. It was boring!!!
Finally, we got to the coast!!!!!!!!!!!! We camped at San Simeon State Park. The beach was just a little way from our campsite.We watched the tide come in, and the sunset.

The next we visited the Hearst Castle, but that is for the next post.

Monument Valley Backcountry By: Izabella, Grace & Sydney

This is the first blog post we have all written together.  So, each Diva is writing in a different color.  Grace is in Blue, Izabella is in Orange, and Sydney is in Pink. What we write together is in Green.
Trip Data
Date: Aug. 27-19, 2010 3days Friday,Saturday,and Sunday
Location: Monument Valley, AZ/UT
Divas: Grace, Sydney, and Izabella
Diva Dogs: Jäger
Vehicles: 2 Dormobiles, 1 LR3, 4 Discos, and 1 Range Rover
Weather: Windy, Just Right, Cloudy, Warm, 72 º F
Activities: Uno, 4wd, playing in the hogans, running with the horses, playing with the dogs, running on the sand dunes.
Meals: Marsh-mellows, Izabella and Sydney:  Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Enchilada casserole.  All were in the dutch oven.  Grace:  Chili Mac, and Tacos
Animals Spotted/Animal Tracks:  Horses, Beetles, Lizards, Dogs

 

A Little History on The Navajo

 

The Navajo Nation is the biggest reservation in the United States.  It is 16,000,000 acres and mostly in Arizona.
The Navajo People call themselves “Dine” (Di-nay), which means “The People”.  The Navajo came to the southwest around 1400 AD.  They may have originally came across the land bridge that used to exist between Russia and Alaska, around 1200 BC.  When they reached the southwest the Anasazi  or Pueblo people taught them to farm corn and beans.  Spanish settlers later brought sheep (around the 1600’s).  They got wool from the sheep to make clothing, blankets and rugs.  They also used the meat from the lamb and mutton.  They used all the products from the sheep to trade for other goods.  Today they still harvest corn and beans, and raise sheep.  At the Cameron Trading Post you can see a woman making a very large rug on a loom.  We talked to the lady, she said it takes one year to make one large rug.



Our Wonderful Guides

 

 

These are our guides.  They were awesome!  We could not have asked for more. Valerie Dee grew up in Monument Valley and she arranged for us to stay at her family’s place in Monument Valley at the Hub.  Her Mom and Dad were our guides around the valley.

Day 1
The trip was at least 9 hours from Tucson, AZ to Monument Valley. As we were driving, the desert started to change.  It started by getting sandier, rockier(sandstone), then the color of our surroundings became a deep red rust color.  There was lots and lots of red sand on the ground.  There were a few trees and bushes scattered about, and finally we saw our first Monument it was sooooo pretty!!!!

From a distance the buttes and monuments looked purple but as we got closer they turned out to be red, orange, brown, and rust!  When we first got there we were still on the main loop when we stopped to get some awesome pictures of the divas at the 2 mittens!  Like always if Jäger is in a picture it is mighty adorable!

The Three Sisters – This is on the way to the campsite.
The Campsite was at the Hub.
We had two female hogans, one male hogan, and a sweatlodge and spectacular views on all side! 

When we first got to the campground we saw 3 Hogans 2 large ones and 1 medium and a tiny one!!!  We were all going to sleep in the largest one, the one in the middle, but we were all to tired, so we decided to sleep with our parents instead.

This is our group from the AZLRO

Hogans are made of wood, bark and mud.  The hogan has log wood walls and a dome ceiling.  They cover the wood with mud.  It makes the Hogan look round.  The hogans have dirt floors, and only one room.  The door to the Hogan face east, so they can get sun in the morning, and help them wake up.  There is a woman’s hogan and a man’s hogan.  The woman’s Hogan is bigger and more decorated then the man’s hogan.

Female Hogan


Male Hogan

 

Sweatlodge or Dog Hogan?

Here we are playing at the campsite!
Three Divas on the Dormobile at camp


Izabella and Sydney’s Pop-up camper at camp
Sydney and Grace went to bed earlier than I did so they did not get a chance to see the moon come out. I had to stay up late so that I could work on my moon journal, how cool is that?!!!  The moon looked as if it was going to be huge from the size of it’s glare, but it was just normal size.  We had marshmallows but no skewers so I took a fork and knife and put them together with a hair tie.  I broke off the two middle spikes,too.  The marshmallows were delicious!!!! Then I had finished up about 4-5 marshmallows.   It was time for bed!!!

 

 

A  Little Geology

 

Monument Valley used to be a 100 foot piece of sandstone.  Most of the sandstone has eroded away but some still stands, and is beautiful.
An arch is formed in four steps:
1. It starts as a sandstone block.
2. Then some of  the stone erodes away from rain.
3. The wind blows the rock.
4. The wind breaks the rock and you have a arch.
Monument Valley is great for this because there is a lot of wind.

 

Day 2 

In the morning we saw the free roaming horses. They were so close that they could hear us whistle. When we whistled they perked up their heads.

After we saw the horses, the rover divas went to the middle Hogan and played UNO for a little while. Then all of a sudden in the middle of our game my mom called me out to  see the horses, again. They were so close to our campsite.  I almost got to pet the foal, but didn’t since he  was too mouthy like Jäger. The mother was a dark brown with a black mane and tail; the father(stallion)was white with a white mane and tail.  His mane and tail were actually  orange because of the red dirt in monument valley. The foal was a red roan (a red/orange color)with a orange mane and tail. They were the perfect family!!!!! We finished up our UNO game quickly and then we set off with the group to go on a 4wd trip to see more of Monument Valley.

On day 2 we bought from inside the hogan.  Valerie’s Family sells to tourists they have made.


Hogan Repair Shop in the morning of Day 2


Then we drove around one of the buttes and saw a flowing river, approximately a foot deep, and muddy.  It was so muddy that our leader got stuck so we had to go a different way.



We drove some more to a rock with a large window called “Ear of the Wind”.

Ear of the Wind Arch

I tried to make a sand angel, but I just got dirty!!

Sand dunes are steep, but lots of fun to run down!

 

This is the Big Hogan!

 

Aren’t we cute!!
Day 3
Mystery Valley
Two Divas at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park sign

 

We stopped at a ruin in Mystery Valley, and my dad and I climbed up the steep, steep rock hill.  On top was 3 pools of water.  The water was from rain and was very clean.  I touched the water and it was too cold to swim.  Maybe it could be used to take a bath in the summer.  We did not stay on top too long, it was way too windy.  I felt like I would blow away!

 

Anasazi Ruins in Mystery Valley
Checking out shards of pottery and we found some old corn cobs.
Bighorn Petroglyph
Divas in arch
This is in the arch and there are two circular rooms.  Probably for storage in the old’n days.  There was a bunch of packrat evidence.
Girls with Pictographs
Free roaming horses galloping through the canyon.  Awesome!!
On the way home we had fun playing Uno in the car.
Sydney cleaning up the red dirt!

 


Grace's Fall Break – Trip to Chaco Canyon

Grace’s Fall Break – Trip to Chaco Canyon – Days 1 – 3

Part 1: Trip data

Destination: El Malpais National Conservation Area and Monument & El Morro National Monument
Traveled with: Mom and Dad
Traveled from: Tucson
Maps: Arizona and New Mexico Gazetteer, GPS, Maps my Dad printed from internet
During Fall Break I went to El Morro National Monument, El Malpais National Monument, Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Aztec Ruins, and Hubble Trading Post. I also went to one place that wasn’t part of the National Park system, Four Corners Tribal Park Monument.
I became a Junior Ranger at all of the National Park places. That is SIX Junior Rangers badges.
The first park I got a Junior Ranger badge at was El Morro which means in Spanish a butte or rock. At El Morro, you take a trail called, Inscription Trail.
On the trail there is a pool. We saw cliff swallows nests which are made of mud.
There are tons of inscriptions and petroglyphs. Inscriptions are carvings in rocks that are done by the Spanish and English explorers. Petroglyphs are carvings done by Ancient Indians. Graffiti is modern day inscriptions and is illegal.
The first English inscription was inscribed by a man named Lt. JHSimpson who copied down all the inscriptions by hand. He was an amazing artist, because his drawings were as good as any photograph today. At the time the inscriptions where in Spanish. The funny thing is his inscription read:
Lt. JHSimpson, USA u RH.Kern Artist
visited and copied these insciptions,
September 18th 1849.
So, the first English inscription has a miss spelled word.
To bad he didn’t have a spell checker.
At El Morro it was interesting to see the inscriptions.

 

El Malpais is a lava flow. There are five layers of flow. The layers are McCartys Crater, Bandera Crater, Cerro Hoya, El Calderon, Twin Craters.
We drove through “The Narrows.” It is where the lava just stops right next to the cliffs. There is only enough room for a two lane road, between the flow and cliffs.

 

 

We stopped at La Ventana Arch.
It was really cool. They made a big deal out of the me becoming a Junior Ranger.
Both rangers came outside and one swore me in. It was AWESOME!!!
Days 3 – 6

 

Chaco Culture was the main stop on our trip.

On the first day we went to Una Vida. It is one of the first great houses built in Chaco Canyon. Now it looks small, but in the 900’s it was very big!!

 

On the second day, I hiked 8 miles to see the Supernova pictograph.
On the way there was a Petroglyph side trail. We took it and here are some of the Petroglyphs.

 

The square is a Kachina. I think this is really cool!!

 

 

Under the Supernova Pictograph there was a petroglyph of Halley’s comet. The hike was long, and my mom got lots of blisters on her feet to prove it.

 

On the bluff above there were ruins called Penasco Blanco.
On the third day, we went to Hungo Pavi, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo de Arroyo, and Casa Rinconada.
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito is the town square. It is Huge!!! It was first to be built and the last to be completed. On January 22, 1941 a rock face fell on an 8th of Pueblo Bonito. Here are some pictures of Pueblo Bonito!

 

 

This is a drawing of the different stages of building at Pueblo Bonito.

 

 

The famous curving doors of Pueblo Bonito. Awesome!!
This is the original wood ceiling beams in this one room of Pueblo Bonito. The room has original plaster, but the park service plastered over it, because people were vandalizing it. There was a lot of that kind of stuff here. It made me sad.
This is a rare corner door.
Chetro Ketl

 

Here is the “Great Wall” at Chetro Ketl. Which is another great house about 1/2 mile from Pueblo Bonito.

 

These are original mosaics that are blocked off, but a nice park service ranger came by and opened the door to the room, so we could get a better look. He told us there were several other examples in the park, but they have closed them off to visitors for safe keeping.
Casa Rinconada
My favorite of all the ruins!!!

 

Casa Rinconada is a Great Kiva. On the summer solstice a light shines on a niche on the wall. A Great Kiva is a ceremony room sort of like a church.

 

Pueblo de Arroyo

 

This a “tri-wall” or triple walled kiva. They are rare and only a dozen have been found in the four corners area. This is the only one at Chaco.
These mealing bins have metate’s in them. The women would sit down with feet against the wall and knees against the mealing bin and grind corn.
Chacoan Stairway
Chacoan stairways were carved into rocks. They have found many stairways around Chaco Canyon.
Chaco was Awesome!!!
Days 7 – 9

On Friday morning we

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packed up and left Chaco Canyon.

 

Here are Felicty and Gracie dressed for a Land Rover Safari Adventure.

 

We headed toward Farmingtion, NM, when my parents realized that Aztec ruins was just another 10 miles up the road.

This is kind of weird. The band of blackish/greenish rocks. I have never seen this before. It is especially interesting because they plastered over it. So, why did they do it?

The people of Aztec had two Great Kivas. One of the Great Kivas was reconstructed and we were able to go into the kiva. It might have been what kivas looked like a 1000 years ago. There are three types of Kivas. Great Kivas, Keyhole Kivas, and Housed Kivas. Great Kivas are really big.

This is an original ladder from Aztec ruins. I always thought of the Sante Fe ladder, but these were very common in both Aztec and Chaco. In Chaco there were no ladders left, because they were scavenged for firewood. Another thing that makes me sad.

After visiting Aztec Ruins we went to Four Corners Monument. Four Corners is where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico all meet in one place.

It was really fun. You can say “I’m in AZ, no wait, NM, no wait, CO, no wait, UT, no wait, I am in them all.

After Four Corners we headed to Canyon de Chelly. We got there after dark and camped at the campground.

 

 

We drove the south rim of Canyon de Chelly the next morning and I heard all about the time my parent’s got to camp at the base of Spider Rock. Maybe someday I will get to do that.

Our next and last stop was Hubble Trading Post.

We were lucky enough to get to go inside the Hubble House. Here I am in the entrance way.

This is bread oven. I think they said they baked 250 loaves of bread a week in this oven.

Cool Barn!! Sometimes they had up to 10,000 sheep here! I bet that was stinky!!

Here I am with my 6 Junior Ranger Badges and patches.

The last night we spent at our friend’s cabin in Show Low, AZ. We are so glad we could stay there in comfort and hot showers after 8 long days in the Dormobile. Thanks Tom and Jane.

I had an awesome time. On to our next adventure!!!

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