USA – South West

by | North & Central America

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Following 2 art workshops in California, we met in Denver and drove a trip which ended in Vancouver. This was via Durango, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemite, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, over 3 months. We will be brief in words just try to give an impression from few words and lots of photos.

Colorado – Denver to Durango

Began in Denver. Spent time and did some daubin in the various towns – Ouray, Silverton, Telluride – along the way. We really enjoyed the smaller town experiences and ,in particular, the buildings and old Railway stuff. Of course the views of the Rockies, the towns, the ranches, etc., were spectacular.

A real highlight was the Black Canyon of Gunnison, a fantastic 2000ft chasm. Another experience, not for the faint hearted, is the million dollar highway, from Ouray, through Silverton to Telluride, one of the best in the US. This road clings to the side of crumbly mountains and can be a bit scary in places. Durango is very nice, typical old mining town, hotels, saloons, etc., as far as the eye can see (and vintage railways).

Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon

Mesa Verde

A sort of magical place with a definite aura. The adobe cave dwellings were built by the Pueblo Indians. It contains over 600 dwellings. It occupied for over 700 years, was abandoned in 1300’s leaving behind these protected cliff dwellings and moving to the wider area. It was the kind of place that makes you reflect that you don’t want to leave.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

One of the most stunning scenes in America!
I have been very familiar with this place since seeing the early John Ford films. As we travelled through, we expected to see a stage coach come racing, pursued by God knows who! The scenes speak for themselves, dramatic red spires and buttes and mesas burst from the red landscape. We really enjoyed stay here on the Navajo Reservation and the early morning painting.

Grand Canyon

On the way, we passed over the dramatic Marble Canyon Gorge and the Vermillion Cliffs. We chose the less busy North Rim where we were able to view and be awestruck in peace. There is a narrow finger overlook which allows viewing. You have to be taken by the sheer scale – you could barely see the opposite cliffs through the mist. The dramatic shapes and colour were also wondrous.

Las Vegas and Death Valley – some contrast!

Driving through the desert on the way from Grand Canyon, the metropolis suddenly appeared! I have to admit it was a bit fascinating driving along the boulevard and seeing all the well known names – casinos and performers. The casinos all have very good hotels which are very cheap (to attract you in) we stayed at the Aladdin. We wouldn’t have a great interest in the gambling – you were given a roll of coins for the slots to “get you started” – didn’t last long! But really impressive was the vast array of high quality shows of all types – including music, dance and acrobatics, including some very big stars – this is the real attraction.

Death Valley
We did this drive through a truly desolate place in the early morning. No one about in a very arid landscape. By 8am temp was nearly 40C.

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