We left the Thunderbird Lodge around 8am. It was time for our next adventure, and a very long day.
Our bus took us out through Navajo country toward Monument Valley. But first we made a few interesting stops.
The first rest stop was the Cameron Trading Post. As Greg, our tour guide told us, "it is the Walmart of trading posts." It's quite large, and you can find a vast assortment of stuff there.
Of course we found lots of things to purchase - matching family tee shirts, jewelry for Rea, little things for Bud.
But I LOVED the Gallery next door. The Gallery houses the most beautiful handmade crafts, jewelry and Native American artifacts. And the price tags to go with them. Stu put his foot down and would not let me purchase a hand-crafted turquoise turtle ring (made by a local Hopi man). Something about the $800 price tag bothered him. Stinker.
Reagan found a pair of moccasins she liked. They could have been hers for the bargain price of $6500.
The second storey is off limits to regular shoppers and window shoppers... the sign said only the most discerning shopper would be escorted up. Wonder what's up there. If you go and flash your Black Amex, please write me and tell me what's on the second floor.
I was also intrigued by this 1890s headdress. It's not for sale, but it really spoke to me.
Burger King in Kayenta, Arizona
Our next stop was at a Burger King. Yep. This was our purposeful destination.
This is no ordinary Burger King. The BK in Kayenta, AZ is owned but the son of one of the Navajo Code Talkers. This Burger King has lots of interesting memorabilia inside. It is definitely worth the stop.
Outside there is a section of Navajo history, including a hogan (home), sweat lodge and shade room.
Riley thought the hogan was cool. I think he liked the size - it seemed to fit him.
Fun fact: hogan doors always open to the east.
We lucked out that day. Sitting in the shade room was one of the WWII Code Talkers. We purchased a book and had it autographed. The kids got their picture taken with Peter MacDonald, Sr. We thanked him for his service to our country. We explained to the kids that this man is a real hero.
Goulding's Restaurant and Museum
We arrived at Goulding's for lunch. The jeep tour to take us through Monument Valley met us there. The restaurant was jamming. No real surprise since it's literally in the middle of nowhere, and it's a hot spot for bus tours to stop. There is a runway there too, so you could fly in (two planes were there when we arrived, but they were gone before we returned from our jeep ride).
The food at Goulding's was ok. Just ok. For us. I was real excited about it. It all looked so delicious.
Stu and I like to order, split and share. So he ordered the tuna fish sandwich and I ordered the BLT. I was thrilled to see the sweet potato fries. They looked so golden brown and perfect. Unfortunately, they were cold. Ice cold. I would have sent them back, but our waitress didn't reappear until it was time for the check. Bummer.
The sandwiches were good. Nothing life changing, but good. I really wanted to order the Navajo taco (3 of the Nashville Stus did), but I was afraid of eating a giant taco then going on a 1.5 hour jeep ride followed by a 2+ hour bus ride. No thank you. And you are welcome fellow bus travelers.
Just outside of the restaurant, it's like time stopped. You can see John Wayne's cabin - where he stayed while filming in Monument Valley. There is a museum to the movies and history of the West. It's awesome.
And with that, it is time to climb into the back of a pickup truck (converted into a 'jeep') and head into the famed Monument Valley.
We love to travel. Although our roaming souls often come back to the same places.