If you read Part 1 of my 4-part post, you know that we had quite a day of exploration in Arizona. We ate breakfast in Sedona, spent the afternoon at the Grand Canyon, took some great photos in Antelope Canyon, and finally soaked in the sunset at Horseshoe Bend. If you missed Part 1, I included a link for you below!
In my last post, I mentioned that it is a great idea to round up when budgeting just in case. Well, this is the part of our trip where my advice comes in handy…
Tipi Resort or Resue?
While planning our trip, we found a luxury tipi resort online that sat on the Navajo land and looked like a fantastic experience. The website gave us great information regarding accommodations, and we couldn’t wait to sleep in real tipis under the stars. Well, when we arrived that evening to check-in, we realized that the resort was actually a person’s back yard with only 2 small tipis and no shower. When trying to check-in, we realized we had to knock on the door of a trailer with blackout shades and a real tarantula sitting by the doorknob (you can’t make this stuff up)…our time here had come to an end.
By this time, it was dark out, and we were in the middle of nowhere. We managed to make it to the nearest town, Kayenta, AZ. Kayenta was a small town, but quite the hot spot as every hotel was sold out! While considering sleeping in our car and wondering what we did to get on Keyenta’s bad side, we found a Motel that had a few rooms left. The Motel ended up costing us more than the tipi resort. Hence, we were all thankful that we prepared ourselves for any extra costs (and tarantulas) getting in our way!
On the Road Again
After things settled down for the night, we decided to wake up early the next morning as we had a long day ahead of us. Today, we would begin our journey to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to attend the Hot Air Balloon Festival. However, we wouldn’t get the most out of our short trip if we didn’t plan a few stops along the way…first on the list, Monument Valley, Utah.
About 20 minutes away from Kayenta, Az, Monument Valley is a widespread land and sand buttes right on the Arizona-Utah border. Many visitors come here for the photos as the open road and rock formations make for a great backdrop. You will have to pay an access fee to ride down the 17-mile dirt road ($20 per car), but this is worth the money and drive.
After shooting our Album Covers in Monument Valley, we continued our journey to Albuquerque. Our next stop was Four Corners, a National Monument where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. You will have to pay a fee of $5/person during the Fall and Winter and $10/person during Spring and Summer (cash only) to experience the monument. This is a top-rated tourist attraction, so be prepared for a crowd and to wait in line to take photos. Once your photos are taken, you can enjoy shopping with the local Navajo artists set up around the area selling souvenirs and food!
Despite a rocky start to our second night on this trip, we were extremely grateful that we were able to see everything on our checklist and more. Since we were pretty satisfied with our stops today, we decided to continue on to Albuquerque while only stopping for state signs and beautiful landscapes. Although we ended up spending more than expected on our night’s stay, Day 2 of our trip was extremely easy on the wallet. The attractions were very cheap and kept it simple when it came to food (usually stopping for something quick).
One thing that I love about road trips is that it gives you time to bond with friends and appreciate this beautiful home of ours: Earth. We saw natural formations that took our breath away. So far, this trip has made each one of us grateful to be alive, to have great friends and family, and the willingness to take the time to plan such a fantastic trip. Each time I look at our photos, it takes me back to great memories made by merely driving down the open road, windows down, and Mother Nature riding shotgun.
We put an “Infiniti” amount of miles on this car…
We arrived in Albuquerque just in time for our planned night session of the Hot Air Balloon Festival….be sure you are subscribed to my blog, so you don’t miss Part III of this series to learn best tips for managing over 500 balloons, food, drinks, and a possible heart attack over the pure excitement from it all!