A Road Trip Vacation

During September 2001, my wife and I took a driving vacation across the southwestern United States. This is my "virtual" photo album from that trip. My wife's is here.

Note that all photographs here are copyrighted, so please ask before you use them somewhere else, OK?

If these images seem dark on your PC, I apologize; I put them up in a hurry, and I used a Mac to create them. I will correct this if enough people complain. But hey, they looked good to me!

Mesa Verde National Park

The Cliff Palace

The largest of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.

Mesa Verde National Park, in far southwestern Colorado, is renowned for the cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi tribes, which they left several hundred years ago. Sadly, we didn't have much time to explore here.

Four Corners

The Four Corners monument

The survey monument at Four Corners is surrounded by flags of the US, the four states that meet there, and the two Native American tribes whose reservations meet there.

Four Corners is a curious excuse for a tourist trap, a place where two boundary lines cross, forming the only point in the US where four states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) meet. The current-day monument is surrounded by a virtual flea market of Native American crafts, as are many tourist destinations of note on the reservations.

As you can see in the picture above, the flags were all at half-staff in mourning for the victims of the terrorist attacks of the previous week.

Monument Valley

A view from the highway

Does this scene look familiar?

Monument Valley is a place of strange and scenic rock formations on either side of the Arizona/Utah border.

Mexican Hat Rock

Mexican Hat Rock, from which the nearby "town" of Mexican Hat, Utah, takes its name.

It is a desolate place with little water. The one thing it does have going for it is scenic beauty.

Buttes at dusk

A view from inside the park towards the north.

Of all the spectacular places we visited, few are as well-known as Monument Valley. We took a sunset truck tour of the Navajo-run park, and spent the night at the adjacent campground.

A large eagle-shaped rock

This was taken at Artist's Point. I don't recall the name of the rock, but at first glance, it looks like an eagle. No, it's not "Eagle Rock!"

The truck tour winds along bumpy dirt roads in the park, and makes frequent stops for photos. You can also drive the road for a nominal fee, but you don't get the benefit of the native tour guides, and the road is rough as hell!

Towers in the sunset

The rock formations are dramatic enough at any time, but the waning daylight and advancing shadows really brought out the drama in the landscape.

The view from John Ford's Point

John Ford directed many Westerns set in Monument Valley. He so loved the view from the location in the photo above, that the Navajos named it "John Ford's Point."

If you've ever watched a movie Western, you've seen this terrain. And dozens of other movies have been shot in this valley. Even the backgrounds in the Warner Brothers' Roadrunner cartoons were patterned after this surreal scenery.

Monuments in the sunset

The rock tower on the left is said to resemble John Wayne.

Crescent moon over a butte

I think this is my favorite image from Monument Valley.

If you do go, be sure to camp out! There is no better way to experience the grandeur of Monument Valley than to watch the sun set and rise amidst the towering rock.

Dawn in the valley

The sun rises between the buttes.


These images were taken with two Canon T90 cameras, using a variety of Canon lenses. Film was primarily Fuji Sensia II (ISO 100 slide film), and Fuji MS 100-1000 (shot at either 100 or 200). The Bryce Canyon photos were mostly shot on Kodak Portra 160VC print film, an excellent choice if I do say so myself. Most if not all exposures were hand-held. Yes, even the sunset and sunrise photos!

The resulting negatives were scanned on a Nikon Coolscan III (LS30) into my Power Mac G4 with the Nikon driver or VueScan, mildly touched up in Photoshop, and saved with Boxtop Software's ProJPEG plugin.


Photos, text and page layout copyright © 2001 Chuck Fry. See the full copyright notice for details.

Thanks to Foto Express in Sunnyvale, CA for an excellent job of processing this film.

Special thanks to my wife for her patience during 3500 miles on the road!

My 2001 Vacation / Chuck Fry / webmaster@chucko.com