- 23 September: final farewell to Las Vegas
- September 24: Survival Handbook in Las Vegas, St. George
- 25 settembre: Bryce Canyon, Kanab
- 26 settembre: Page, Colorado River, Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon
- September 27: Monument Valley, Kayenta
23 September: final farewell to Las Vegas
A city like Las Vegas caresses and pampers its guests, giving the best part of itself especially at night, when the Strip dresses up and begins to swarm with lights and colors, between fireworks and water games, performances. improvised and majestic spectacles.
But be careful to want to see everything traveling by car! You would risk paying an excessive price for this binge of fun. Our experience in this regard was adventurous and not to be repeated: every hotel, of course, has its own large parking lot, whether covered or outdoors, and ours too, but let's not forget that, as soon as the sun goes down, the rooms games fill up to gush, and everyone can try their luck in the hotel they prefer… not necessarily the one where they stay.
And here, at 24 o'clock the huge parking lot of our Excalibur was still full and, for a good half hour, not even a car leaving. Annoying moral of the story: if you leave the hotel by car for convenience, you will backfire on the inconvenience of having to find the parking lot three or four hotels away. Sin City cross and delight… if you want to avoid this unpleasant situation, read how it is best to get around in Las Vegas!
September 24: Survival Handbook in Las Vegas, St. George
Waking up very early a Las Vegas, in the immense king-size bed of the Excalibur and look out the window of the tower of the fake castle to see the sun which has just risen: perhaps the only moment of the day in which this city can seem normal, despite the impossible Egyptian pyramid of the Luxor Hotel. In the hall, at 7 in the morning, the roulette tables are already full, and some sturdy lady attached to the lever of the slot machines absent-mindedly chases dollars into the coin mechanism.
We can't wait to leave behind these crazy places, this bewitching playground atmosphere: after all, what awaits us is the second part of a journey into the most unpredictable nature between Utah and Arizona, and the expectation is great. Thus began ours Las Vegas to Monument Valley tour.A tour in the Walmart Before leaving, as has been done in every town that is a little larger and more served, we went to the supermarket Walmart. If you are on the road and you need to do some shopping to support yourself during your trip, the advice is to look for these large shopping centers, equipped with everything you can need and more.
Buy yourself a small fridge bag, if you haven't been able to bring it from home and, when you arrive in the city, go to these oasis of savings: it will be an opportunity to check the food and gastronomic culture (so to speak!) Of the Americans: surreal it is the pilgrimage along the corridors with endless varieties of chips, fizzy drinks and 5-kilo packs of mayonnaise or something they call ragù.
Our next stop is one of the most beautiful parks in Utah, the Bryce Canyon. Our advice, if you are leaving from Las Vegas, is to stop in St. George. From here, moreover, you could easily stop if you go to Zion National Park, which, however, was not planned for us in this case.
In this city you can take the opportunity to take a dip in the motel's swimming pool and have a nice meal at Chuck A'Rama (127 N. Red Cliffs Drive), an all-you-can-eat where, for a few dollars, you can make up for all the frugal meals consumed so far on your trip. In these parts, moreover, it is already possible to have a taste of the natural peculiarity of Bryce Canyon: the city is surrounded by fascinating red rock mining formations. In the article on what to see in St. George you will find many ideas and ideas for visiting its surroundings.
Where to sleep in St. George?
25 settembre: Bryce Canyon, Kanab
The distance from our St. George motel to the entrance to Bryce Canyon is not short: 141 miles, to be done in almost 3 hours; respecting the speed limits, of course. After paying the $ 25 required for admission (it is a ticket valid for one car, which is valid for one week, but the parks card is also accepted), we begin our journey inside this immense natural amphitheater.
In reality, the path of the park extends for about twenty kilometers: it is difficult to cover them all, if you consider the stops at each of the points of interest that are on the road. For this reason, it is advisable to limit yourself to visiting the first section, which goes from Sunrise Point up to Bryce Point.
From each of the four points of view you will come across, you can enjoy a wonderful view of this endless particular red canyon ("particular" as the valley was not carved by a river, but was shaped by the action of ice, that has crushed and shaped the rock over the centuries): it is the Bryce Amphitheater, which overlooks a colorful expanse of hoodos, tall and thin rock columns, sculpted with precision and capable of assuming the strangest shapes: arches, towers, palaces, castles, windows and gates.
You can also descend down into the valley, braving the 650 meters in altitude along the agile paths that wind between point and point, and which allow you to get close to these bizarre rock formations. Without a shadow of a doubt, theInspiration Point, which the guides, not wrongly, describe as a place capable of evoking artistic suggestions. Do not forget that, from the parking lot of each stop you will make, it may take a few minutes of easy walking to reach the panoramic terraces.
After an afternoon picnic on the shady tables of the Sunset Point, it's already time to get back on the road to Kanab, an adorable town surrounded by greenery, vital and well-kept, where the Treasure Trail Motel (150 W. Center), which we would like to recommend, starting with the pleasant hospitality of the elderly owner. Nobody will take a refreshing dip in the pool!
Other accommodation available in Kanab
26 settembre: Page, Colorado River, Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon
Our busy travel schedule takes us from Kanab a Page, not very far, just an hour's drive. We recommend choosing this type of itinerary substantially to gain some time: you will need it to enjoy as much as possible the spectacle offered by nature around the lucky Page, which rises above the Colorado River, and is caressed on its side by the Lake Powell.
In this regard: our journey did not include a stop on the lake, but on the road, a few kilometers before Page, you can enjoy a breathtaking view from the Wahweap Overlook, which will allow you to have a look at the whole area bathed by the lake.
Then go back to the road, cross the vertiginous Glen Canyon Dam Bridge and scramble your car up the streets of Page, looking for a travel agency that can offer a guided tour of Upper Antelope Canyon. Yes, because, unlike all the parks traveled so far, this one cannot be visited independently, for various reasons, which we will mention later.
Here is the obligation to make the first recommendation: do not be like us! Book your guided tour well in advance, especially if you are in Page on the weekend. Of course, if you go early in the morning, you will have some chance to join the crowded tours of the day, but only if you are very lucky: the waiting lists are very long and it is not at all obvious that you will be able to slip in.
We went well: we went to the most famous agency, Roger Ekis' Antelope Canyon Tours (22 S. Lake Powell Boulevard), managed by Indians Navajo, who took our situation to heart and put us on the waiting list, despite the fact that the tours were full all weekend, and at all times.
You may ask why you can't go it alone… the answer is simple. Try to venture for the 10 miles of desert that, after exiting the paved road, are used to reach the entrance to the Canyon, avoiding the surveillance of the fierce Navajo, who offer a transport service on equipped vehicles.
Describe theAntelope Canyon it is a very difficult undertaking: perhaps a poetic language would be needed, but it would be equally unsatisfactory, because the itinerary on foot you will do will be an experience of natural mysticism that words cannot express. You will enter a very narrow canyon carved out, chiseled by the action of the wind and water: the warm colors that welcome you, the designs of light, the slight, impossible curves of the rock, the figures created by the shadow, the roughness and the sweetness . Is there a place, besides Antelope Canyon, where you can take so many beautiful photographs, without having to use filters or tricks of the trade?
After Antelope Canyon, you couldn't ask for more, yet the excitement of what you've seen won't fade that easily. So when you're back in Page, take the opportunity to take a drive along the Colorado River: there are numerous breathtaking viewpoints, among which theHorseshoe Bend, a fascinating, unmissable point of view of a meander of the Colorado River with a very particular shape, which brings to mind the clearest figures of an earthly paradise (a little less if you suffer from vertigo).
In the evening, on the main street of Page, go for a Mexican meal at the restaurant Mexican party (125 South Powell Boulevard), order one of the deadly Margarita cocktails and enjoy the enormous typical dishes that the menu offers: it will appear to you as the right epilogue to a memorable day.
Where to sleep in Page
September 27: Monument Valley, Kayenta
America never leaves you alone, ever. So after the Page adventure, another natural park awaits us: the Monument Valley, between Arizona and Utah. If you do the same route as us, have fun… find out what time it is: in the last three stages of our journey we have seen the time zone change several times. That will never be, you will say, but an hour of sleep more or less makes the difference, with these rhythms! For this reason, I refer you to our in-depth analysis on the time zone between Arizona and Utah.
We arrive at the entrance of the Monument, therefore, an hour earlier than we thought, but it is not a bad thing. Rather, we are more concerned about the menacing cloud cover that covers the valley, casting long shadows over the desert. But it won't rain, on the contrary the panorama we will see will benefit from these climatic conditions: the picture with the last hints of green at the foot of the monumental red rocks, and imposing clouds above, is incredible.
If you want to keep your car clean, you have to avoid this stage: Unless you take an organized tour in the Monument, the route you will take is on a very dusty dirt road, something like a stream bed covered with red sand. Moreover, the charm of this route lies precisely in the ultra-contemporary motorized simulation of a gallop on horseback, since already John Wayne and many other western film actors have trod these territories. After all, a scenario, by its nature, of great imaginative value, used for films even a little less western, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or the recent Transformers: Age of Extinction.
There are many points of interest to stop at: in front of Three Sisters or Totem Pole, in front of the mammoth Rain God Mesa, or on the terrace of theArtist Point Overlook, at the end of the road. From this vast natural square you can enjoy a truly unique panorama. When you're done taking your pictures, turn around and focus on the huge mesa on your right. You will identify the shape of a fat gentleman lying down, which you would never have noticed on your own: it is no coincidence that this suggestion came to us from a private Navajo guide we were overhearing. This can happen with many other massifs that are in the area: imagine, fantasize, shape!About Navajo Indians: at each of the points of interest, you will find stalls and markets, where you can buy Indian artifacts. An advice? Stop at the stalls you will find at the end of the journey: i prices are much lower.Before you leave, also visit the well-equipped Welcome Center & Navahjo Indian Market, and while you're at it, rinse your face to get the red sand off your back.
The most comfortable place to sleep after visiting Monument Valley is Kayenta, a very desolate town in Arizona, with mules grazing what's left of the roadside grass and little else. There is really nothing to see here, so the advice is to book a room at Wetherill Inn (163 Highway, Kayenta), a very hospitable motel, equipped with an indoor swimming pool and all the comforts, including excellent wi-fi, which is not at all obvious.
And then you won't give a damn if ̶ as it happened to us, with perfect timing when you think about it ̶ outside a storm of wind and rain will break out: the Monument Valley it has already settled permanently, sheltered from eyes and memory, and is still perfectly dry.
More tips on where to sleep in Monument Valley
Did you miss the first 2 episodes of this travel diary?
- New York in 4 days: the metropolis of American desire
- From San Francisco to Las Vegas: between advanced civilization and indomitable nature
- From Grand Canyon to Los Angeles: the race around beauty