Home » 2009 Cross Country Camping Trip

Monument Valley, UT

Monday, July 13, 2009 - 10:30am by Tommy
160 miles and 4 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Day 13

Best Campsite View YetBest Campsite View YetWe left the heat of the Grand Canyon to arrive in the heat of Monument Valley.

It again was a bit of a “slow” day. When we got there we went to check into our campground and when we asked where it was we were directed to a gravel parking lot that was empty except for one other RV. That was home for the day. The only real shade for miles, to get out of the 100 degree heat, was created by an overhang above a picnic table on the other side of the “campground.”

There weren’t any hikes to do so the major attraction was the scenic drive through the park to see the different rock formations. The drive took a couple hours and brought us into mid-afternoon. We hung around in the shade for a while and then proceeded to start cooking dinner. We were just about finished cooking when we were politely interrupted by a young guy with an accent who asked where we had to pay for the campground. We then realized that we didn’t pay so we told him that we think it’s free.

Van Parked For the NightVan Parked For the NightTo ruin the suspense I’ll just say it now. We, brace yourselves parents, picked up a hitchhiker. The kid who interrupted us turned out to be, Nils, a German and was on vacation alone in the US for 3 months. He didn’t have much of a plan except for the fact that he landed in SD and had to be in New York three months from then to catch his flight home. He started taking busses around but his luck with seat partners was not good and his funds were running low, so he started hitching rides.

We shared our dinner and he told us that he was planning to go over to the hotel early in the morning and “beg all the rich people for a ride to Moab.” It just turned out that the next morning we were going to Arches National Park which is located in Moab, Utah. We told him that we were headed there and so we were going to squeeze him in. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen someone more appreciative of anything in my life.

Group Picture Along DriveGroup Picture Along DriveEarlier in the day he was brought into the park by a French family and then made friends with the executive chef of the restaurant at the Monument Valley Hotel who instructed him what he should buy to “eat a cowboy dinner.” The result was a $1.50 steak, beans and a pepper. Nils told us that the chef told him when he got out of work he was going to come by the campground to find him and hang out for a little. At around eleven o’clock the chef came by and we and Nils were up talking. We ended up hanging out with Nils and McNeal, the chef, who was a Navajo. It was a great night learning about the differences between German, American and Navajo culture.

- Jake


Sunset Over the MittensSunset Over the MittensMonument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park that is famous for its red sandstone towers and buttes. The park has a Visitor Center and a 17-mile scenic drive. The self-guided drive begins at the Visitor Center and loops through the valley on a dirt road with many breathtaking overlooks. The road is definitely not meant for RVs. Jeep tours are also available, but quite expensive. There is a campground in the park, as well as one 2 miles away at Goulding Trading Post.

Herb on July 16, 2009

Great job guys! Your "Best Campsite View Yet" is probably the best campsite view that I have seen in my life! It seems that leaving the tent stakes in Jersey has improved your camping views immeasurably. Maybe I'll try leaving mine at home next time. Keep it up. I'm with you in spirit.

Helen Stretton on November 9, 2010

I have found your site in the last 5 minutes, clicked on 'best view from a campsite in the world' read the little feature and thought WOW that's exactly what we are looking to experience! My hubbie and I are hoping to travel around USA in 2012 in a 5th wheel on his retirement after 35yrs in the Royal Navy. This is just the sort of information we have been looking for! I look forward to reading the rest of your site and sharing what seem to be magical trips across the USA!

Herb on November 9, 2010

Hi Helen,
I'm glad that our efforts are appreciated. This trip was actually one Tommy took, but he's busy away a College so I thought I would respond. Please let us know how what you think of the other trips, and be sure to comment when you visit some of the same places we did.
Safe Travels,

Nomad on June 19, 2011

That is awesome! Planning to leave North Carolina this July with our three boys heading west. I am overwhelmed by all of our options. In a perfect world, what would be your ideal route and highlights. We have at least a month and have a tent (with stakes) and a roadtrek adventurous camper. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks!

Herb on June 23, 2011

Hi Nomad,

I'm afraid I really can't offer any constructive suggestions without knowing a bit more about your interests and capabilities. For a first time trip west, if you haven't made reservations yet, you will probably be limited to State Parks, with maybe a few day trips into the National Parks. This is OK, but you need to be flexible. At this point, I would suggest you pack a few guidebooks, and just head out. Sometimes the most memorable trips happen without too much planning.

Good luck, Herb

Monument Valley location map

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