My dad and husband are responsible for my extensive “Western movie” knowledge due to countless John Wayne reruns that continue to replay most days at our home. The redeeming feature on dozens of those Westerns is the 92,000 acres of Monument Valley filled with colossal sandstone formations and breathtaking views that is today the Navajo Reservation and on my bucket list to visit.
For those who don’t relate to Western films, Monument Valley has also been the setting for some of our favorite comedies. In the classic scene from Forrest Gump, Forrest stopped running across the country at the edge of Monument Valley. In fact, Forrest Gump Point is actually located just outside Monument Valley and you can type it in Google Maps to easily find it.
Even though there is no “Griswold” point to remember it, no one has forgotten the family cross-country trip of calamities in the 1983 National Lampoon’s Vacation as the Griswolds wrecked their station wagon in Monument Valley and then tied Aunt Edna’s deceased body to the roof of the car for the rest of the journey through the beautiful scenery.
My friends, John and Lori Overton, recently toured five national parks throughout Arizona, Colorado and Utah. They were fortunate enough to ride horses through the Navajo Reservation in Monument Valley and Lori said, “You have to see it in person to experience the depth of geological wonders of the Navajo Reservation.”
Even after touring Monument Valley, however, Lori’s favorite part of the trip was seeing the cliff dwellings. “I had always seen pictures in my school books and wanted to go see for myself someday,” she said. “The cliff dwellings show how skilled they were to live in such a difficult land. They had to carry and climb with all their supplies. I think Mesa Verde, Colorado, was my favorite stop.”
My bucket list is really getting long so I am glad to enjoy so many places through the eyes and stories of close friends.
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