As we left Moab clouds gathered on the horizon and and it was very windy. We were headed back to Arizona and going through the beautiful Monument Valley deep in Navajo country and, as we neared, could barely see those famous peaks.

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Here it was in the distance like a hazy scene in Wizard of Oz. notice the bad looking highway. We weren’t on a interstate all day and some of those small highways can be really bumpy.

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A little closer.

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Here is the scene from the tourist center. Imagine it in clear air. I was thinking that maybe the sunset would be incredible with the dust in the air but we didn’t wait to see. When we arrived at the center we had to park quite a distance away and run through the strong wind and dust then back to the car. I had dust in my mouth, hair and ears. We went through lots of blowing dust back on the road but, luckily, not one of those storms that totally obscure vision and lead to wrecks. We did end up with a huge tumble weed on our front bumper but it eventually blew off.

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There was a really nice gift shop inside the tourist center with all sort of Indian objects for sale-I saw a guy in line to buy what looked like a real arrow-and I sort of like these figures in the window with part of Monument Valley in the background.

I visited an old friend and her husband, in fact, my room mate in college, in the town of Red Lodge, Montana north of Yellowstone Park. They live in a beautiful house in a beautiful region.

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This was just one view from their place early one morning.

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I liked this metal sign at the entrance of a ranch near them.

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There were some great shops in the town. This shop was called Twice Touched and was full of interesting pieces and wonderfully decorated.

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Lots of old quilts and other objects.

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This was for sale in another shop.

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An old movie theater had been made into a candy shop. It was a very long area and also full of antique things.

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Of course, I had to take a photo of this store window. It was full of a lot of clothing made by the owner including lacy chaps.

We next headed to Yellowstone Park. The last time I was there I was a little girl and Maurice has been there before too but, then, he has been to most places in the US. He has only missed North and South Dakota-more than I’ve seen.

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There are beautiful scenes of water and rivers as you enter the park from the West.

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Our first visit was to Old Faithful, a geyser which used to be more on time but is now about one hour and twenty five minutes between eruptions, plus or minus ten minutes.

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Here it is going off. It was almost ten minutes late. From old photos that I saw, I think it used to be higher too.

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Another geyser area. It’s so unusual to have all of that heat and power so close to the crust of the earth.

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The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

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The top of a waterfall.

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The waterfall from a distance.

Of course, Yellowstone Park is famous for animal sightings and we were lucky enough to see quite a few. I even saw a black bear with three Cubs. I managed one photo but they were far away plus in the shade so I’m not sure if my photo-on my other camera and not yet downloaded-will even come out. We saw a lot of bison but mostly they were either by themselves or there were often two together. As we were leaving the park on the northeast side, we finally saw larger herds.

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Here is a bison in its natural habitat.

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It later decided to cross the road, stopping traffic of course. The traffic really backed up if a bear was seen.

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A little further on a mother came onto the road with her baby. A photo shot into the sun and through my windshield.

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A little better shot of the baby after they went off the road.

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A bunch of photographers with huge lenses photographing antelope which were amazingly calm and came very near to anyone standing there.

While freeways can be great for getting you quickly from one place to another, they leave out a lot of interesting places and give you the impression that most of America is composed of shopping malls, gas stations and fast food places. We were heading through Utah and then Idaho to get to Yellowstone zooming along at 80 miles an hour along with everyone else when Maurice started looking for a motel as it was after five and we were tired. He found, via his IPhone, a place in a little town off of the Interstate, called, found they had a room free and we exited with relief off of the highway onto a local road. The town was McCammon, Idaho and the name of the hotel was The Harkness. We had some doubts as we arrived but they disappeared when we entered the lobby which was large, modern and very well decorated. There was a young man behind the desk who turned out to be the owner, decorator, and craftsman who did all of the carpentry, electrical, etc.
He was amazing and very proud of his place and he gave me a tour of all of the rooms some of which had kitchens. The hotel wasn’t totally finished. Our room still needed baseboards and more furniture and the bathroom sink base still needed finishing but our room was still very elegant and restful with wallpaper from England and Italian tile in the bathroom along with the original wood floors.

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The Harkness Hotel in a building that has been several businesses including a bank-there is still a vault in the lobby that is going to become a gift shop. The hotel was named after Mr. Harkness, a very successful business man in the town. The hotel is near some hot springs which is a big draw here and I wish I had time to check them out.

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When the building, now the hotel, was built. It is a boutique hotel really as there are only eight rooms on the second floor but each room is very large.

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The Idaho license plate. Maurice noticed that they said, “Famous Potatoes”. I saw a potato museum off the highway at one point and on the local news it was reported that since there had been a lot of rain two days were being added to the harvest time for potatoes.

We had dinner and then breakfast here, a place out of the 60’s reminded me of my childhood called Little Rock Cafe. The food was okay, the breakfast being the best thing. I enjoyed watching the locals come in to eat, drink and talk. Most of the men must have been farmers or ranchers all dressed in jeans and baseball hats, older men, some with their wives. We were in a very rural area.

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A nice sunrise to start our day with. A nice break in our trip, a look at life in a part of America easy to miss.

Millions of years ago there was an enormous sand dune which covered five states and which formed into rock layers over time. Southern Utah and Northern Arizona has many areas full of interesting and beautiful rock formations left from this time. The Wave is probably the most popular and most beautiful. There are only twenty people a day are allowed to visit it to keep it as well preserved as possible. Two years ago we went in person to one of the daily drawings but didn’t get chosen but Maurice really wanted to go so kept applying on the Internet three months before when we would be in the Staes and we were finally chosen.
Luckily, we went in early October as it usually over 100 degrees (you are advised to carry a gallon of water each which, as you might expect, is very heavy. We had divided it into smaller bottles stuffed in our backpacks) in the summer. It was in the 70’s when we went and that seemed hot to me as we went up and down rock hills and trudged though deep sand. It is very easy to lose your way as there is only one marker and everything looks the same. Maurice used his GPS and we had photos the Bureau of Land Management had sent us with directions. Even then it was difficult until we could see a dark crevice in a white cliff wall far away under which was The Wave. It was nice when we came upon sand with footprints on it so we knew others had gone the same way. It was a 2 1/2 hour hike of three miles and I found I wasn’t in near enough good shape to be doing it. The last third was the hardest as it was uphill up big steps of stone and sand and I wasn’t sure if I could make it but, finally, there was The Wave in front of us and it was worth the hard work. The curving lines and striking colors were just fantastic. We had started our hike just after dawn and were the first there but were soon joined by others, the first being a French couple. Everyone had cameras. We walked around taking photos and just taking it in. Then we sat and ate sandwiches which we had brought and finally headed back. On the way we came upon a rather strange man with a hat, at least and a walking stick but he carried a bottle of Coke and he wore street shoes. He had a bewildered, lost look and seemed rather fragile. We really worried about him but found out that another couple who had done the hike had also come upon him and found a ranger who said she would check on him. Last year three people died doing this hike due to heat exhaustion and it isn’t unusual for searches to be done for lost people.
We were exhausted when we finally got back to our car. It was almost too much for us but we are very glad we did it.

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Probably the best and most popular view.

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Look at those lines!

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There was water there from a rain and I tried to get the reflection. I needed direct sun but didn’t stay for an extra hour to get it.

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