And All The Gods and All the Cowboys- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah-Arizona

Monument Valley In March
Driving through Monument Valley
Thunderbird Mesa, Monument Valley
Buttes and Spires in Monument Valley, Utah
Monument Valley, Utah

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset


Monument Valley, Navajo Tribal Park, Utah

Driving out of Utah back into Arizona and then slightly back up into Utah on a road that was at times deserted and at times piled up with 7 cars in a rows staggered behind a slow trailer-truck, thats how we got here. But i’ll go more in depth with all these and the teeth clattering experience that was driving around the 17 mile dirt road loop in another post (the one i’ve been leaving till last because it’s the one that actually requires me to sit down and really dig deep with all the travel notes and tips, the one that requires me to surround myself with maps and receipts, and i’ll get there I promise) .

This post is just my ode of sorts to the way the red earth felt so alive everywhere you looked, like you could taste it behind your teeth if you stared out at the expanses for long enough. This post is about the feeling of wanting to yell out into the wind whipping across the flat lands and around the giant sandstone buttes rising hundreds of feet up into the swirling blue sky, but how I didn’t because being respectful of land that is not our own is a rather important part of visiting here.

I can honestly say being here was exactly what I had anticipated it would be like when I got it into my head head I needed to visit, though a big part of me kept asking myself “is this truly real?”   in a sort of hushed whisper because it was so hard for my brain to really comprehend that something so vast and majestic like this area actually existed outside of movie scenes, that the land stretching out-out-out and rising up in buttes and spires and mesas was not some CGI fevered dream.And I really do think that I could watch the light and skies change here for days and still not get the photo that would really do the monuments justice.

~m

The Colors In The Rocks- The Grand Canyon,East Rim, Arizona

east rim, Grand Canyon view East Rim, afternoon light deep in the valley of stone, Grand Canyon East Rim the sky above the stone, east rim M watches the sunlight fade at the east rim, Grand Canyon

We left Texas at 5 in the morning on a slightly chilly Saturday.
Or well, me and the boyfriend left our house in North Texas at 5 in the morning and about 6 hours later we finally passed into The Land of Enchantment (also know more casually as New Mexico) because it takes what feels like an age and a day to just get out of Texas. Our goal was to make the 15+ hour drive in one day and arrive at the Grand Canyon by nightfall, ready to wake up bright and early and go trekking about.

We’d done more arduous drives before (aka that one time I convinced the boyfriend to do a roadtrip through 7 states in 3 days, something that to this day I don’t think he’s quite forgiven me for) and as long I had caffeine, I could drive for as long as needed. I was also pretty excited just to be away from work and the stress building there, plus i’d been sorely neglecting my podcasts listening habits and was eager to have hours of uninterrupted time to really delve into some new shows people had been raving about. There were 3 shows I especially wanted to listen to, Wolf 395, Limetown and The Black Tapes I had already gotten hooked on Limetown and convinced the bf to listen to the first two episodes with me again, after which he was reeled in too, and we listened to it well into our drive through New Mexico. Wolf 395 proved to be a major thumbs down for us after just the first episode, but then came the Black Tapes , which we started listening to as the sun began it’s downward decent in Arizona. It’s a very freaky and at time deeply disturbing show (though somehow still lightly humorous and engaging?) and perhaps it wasn’t the best pick for driving into the night but it kept us awake for that last leg of the drive and when the bright lights and suburban sprawl of Flagstaff came into sight, we knew we were almost there.

We arrived in the small not-actual-town of Tusayan, just outside of the South Rim entrance to the Grand Canyon just around 9:30 pm, about 16 hours after we’d left home and checked into our hotel to pass out for the night. I wish I could say we went with the  previous plan to wake up bright and early, but instead we slept in like kings and I ate Corn Nuts for breakfast while lazily planning out our next few days nestled in my beds quite comfy comforter. Finally, plans settled, maps purchased and ill-advised shoes laced up (more on that later), we headed out. The visitors center was packed, and we learned we had missed the cutoff dates for private cars in the park by only 2 days. If we had arrived later as we had originally been planning, only shuttle service would have been available on Hermit Road (the drive you take for almost all the scenic views on the South Rim) as road closure dates are March 1 through November 30. So, poor planning somehow worked in our favor and we got to drive around to our hearts content for the 2 days we were there. The North Rim however, which I had wanted to see and was planning on using most of the second day for, was closed, and is closed every year until May 15th. I would have liked to see a less developed part of the Grand Canyon, but more on that later.

The views were amazing all over Hermit Road on the south rim, but we headed to the east rim to check out the Watchtower and wait for the sun to start heading down so I could get better light. I’ve read the best place to watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon is over on almost any overlook on Hermits road, but I am a contrary kind of person and besides, I think I got a rather spectacular view of the way the light fades into the stones and rocky foundations on the canyon, even if I was on the East Rim. To tell you the truth, both me and the bf agree that while the drive is longer on the east rim, the views (and the crowds) are much better than on the south rim. And if your head is going in circles with all this talk of “rims” basically:

South Rim– Hermits Road, huge visitors center, Grand Canyon Village, loads of crowds and cars
East Rim– Watchtower and desert views, less crowds
North Rim– Underdeveloped compared to the above, closed half the year, a real pain in the butt to get to

After we watched most of the light fade, we headed back into town for pizza and an early night in,with solid plans this time to wake up early this time, so we could catch the sunrise on Hermits Road.

~m

Art Journal Monday- From The Road

maps and art journals
roadtrip art journal page
travel art journal
maps and art journal pages
Grand Canyon Sketch, Art journal
Roadtrip art journal

These pages were done while huddled in a car going 85 mph down a darkening highway, sitting on the rough blanket of a motel while sleep tugged at my eyes, at the table of a very not-so-great restaurant while sunlight streamed through the glass ceilings and finished up while sprawled on my office floor, maps and brochures scattered around me.

I still have my primary art journal to finish but this one…I can’t even tell you what prompted me to stuff this brand new journal into my suitcase instead of my usual one, except maybe i’m a sucker for blank pages and the cute little compass rose embossed on the cover couldn’t have been more cliche-perfect for a roadtripper like me. It was lovely to have new, perfectly clean pages to work on though, like a open map in front of me just begging for an adventure to be picked out, a route to be highlighted. Maybe this will be the one I take with me on whenever I renew my Texas adventures….I don’t know yet, we’ll see.

Song on Repeat:
The FearBen Howard

( Currently tired to the bone, haven’t yet even made the effort to edit a single photograph and while my hands itch to start type-type-typing out things for stories i’ve shined to a polish in my mind, i’m just taking it easy this week. I go back to work tomorrow and I don’t know if i’m quite ready to throw off that restless feeling of being on the road, the whole country laid out as a possibility and nothing to stop you from just driving till you can’t anymore. I’ll be exchanging my mudcaked shoes for sensible flats, my ripped and dirty jeans for bookish trousers and pushing up my glassed on my face not to get a better view at the vista laid out in front of me but to analyze numbers and dosages again. But….I think i’ll be ok and honestly, being back home isn’t the worst feeling, especially not when I burrow into my couch and queue up some episodes of X Files to watch with the boyfriend, thats a pretty great cozy feeling actually.)

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,

~m

On the Road- A Fury Of Color In the Southwest

Driving Through Arizona

No Art Journal Monday today folks.

I’m on the road and I wasn’t organized enough to get my shit together before I left to have one queued up ready to go. And if that isn’t the theme pretty much everytime I head out on the road, I’m not sure what is. Things like having an itinerary and even just knowing exactly where i’m headed are things I always leave till last minute but….I kinda get addicted to the feeling of throwing things at the wall and seeing something new and unexpected take shape.

The loose plan is currently (over several days obviously cause i’m not totally insane):
Texas —> Grand Canyon —> Zion National Park —> Bryce Canyon —> Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument–> Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park—> Four Corner Monument—> Santa Fe —> Texas

Rest Stop Poetry

the Grand Canyon, March weather

The drive out of Texas into New Mexico is one i’ve done before but this time the colors seemed to just burn even before I had left the flat lands of east Texas. At the first rest stop in New Mexico me and the boyfriend found words and lyrics (Car Radio- Twenty One Pilots) scribbled onto the red faux-adobe walls of the picnic seating area and as the sun set over Arizona as we neared Flagstaff, the sky just burst into cotton candy splendor that felt like the best kind of welcome.

Will be leaving the Grand Canyon sometime tomorrow to head towards Zion and i’m just extremely excited to explore all these new lands i’ve never been to before. I’ve been favored with clear skies, crisp winds and brilliant sunshine and i’m not gonna waste one second of it.

~m

P.s Yes all these photos were taken with my iPhone but I promise the rest are actually being shot with my camera in RAW and JPEG format so…idk, better photos to come.