Monument Valley Part 1

Goulding’s Campground

That’s us! I like how the rock formations are reflected on the windshield. They surround our little “RV spirit guide” pot head I bought in 2013 in Madras, NM when Jen and Brian lived in Albuquerque. He sits below our alien “RV spirit guide” I purchased in Roswell on the same trip.

Ah, 2013… the year Jeff and I conceived of our plan to full-time RV when I retired. AND 2013 is the year that the Center for Natural Land Management completed its purchase of the 880 acres of Thousand Palms Oasis!

Yes, we miss the Preserve and our friends. Yes, I still have posts to finish writing. Yes, we will return.

So, back to the campground…

We are located about a half mile uphill from the Lodge. Several short trails surround us but we take the road downhill before discovering a trail that leads down to the Lodge, Stagecoach Dining Room, Gift Shop, Museum, and Theater. (Shuttles run from 5 pm – 10 pm.) At 5500 feet above sea level, the morning sun beats down on us.

We arrive at the upper level of the Lodge and enjoy some spectacular rock formations.

I don’t know what this building is all about, except that it’s built into the hillside.

We check out the amenities (did that, done…) before heading back along one of the trails leading back to our RV. Of course I take some pics along the way…

What a beautiful place! Who knew we were walking parallel to the road!

Through the Navajo Reservation

On to Monument Valley…

Leaving Kingman On I-40 East, we still have a pretty clear windshield and scenic views.

In Flagstaff we head north on US-89. The scenery changes as we travel through the Painted Desert and the Navajo Nation.

Off the highway dirt roads lead to scattered clusters of trailer homes, hogans, sweat lodges, and 3-sided shade dwellings (upright logs with a roof of dried tree branches.) Colorful horses roam freely.

The windshield is starting to collect insect specimens that mar the marvelous views from the front seats when seen through the lens of a camera. But that doesn’t stop me from capturing images of the flavor of our drive.

Check out this series of 3 photos I quickly took out Jeff’s side of the RV:

Outside Tuba City we pick up US-160 as we head northeast toward Utah. I start opening my window to get better pics.

But sometimes a cool sight catches our eye and I have to sacrifice quality.

Below a cloud shadows part of the sandstone hills.

And these rocky mesas start appearing above the hills while hoodas start rising.

Finally we reach the last 25 mile stretch in Kayenta, Arizona as US-163 takes us across the border into Utah and the heart of Monument Valley.

We are staying 2 nights at Goulding’s Monument Valley Trading Post and Lodge Campground.

Harry and Leone, aka Mike, Goulding purchased land and started Goulding’s Trading Post in the 1920s. During the Great Depression they saw an opportunity to bolster the local Navajo economy by bringing in movie production companies. Harry met with director John Ford and soon after the film, Stagecoach, started production in Monument Valley.

Since then Goulding’s has hosted film crews, photographers, artists, and tourists from around the world. The Trading Post has expanded to include a lodge, campsite, tour operations, restaurant, convenience store, and a private airstrip. In 1981 the LaFont family bought Goulding’s Lodge. (

Not too shabby!