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John Wayne Territory

37°0' 15" N 110°10' 25" W Monument Valley

Nov 24, 2014  –  by Maeva

We arrived in the Monument Valley area at night time, only perceiving dark shapes in the horizon. We picked the closest campground in Gouldings in order to catch Monument Valley at sunrise. Waking up at 6 was really hard. As we drove out of Gouldings, Steph suddenly screamed and pulled at the side of the road by a trailer that read “Breakfast Burritos”. Of course! Honestly, it was probably the BEST breakfast of the trip: a HUGE burrito of thick tortilla filled with a potato omelet, two eggs and bacon. Plus spicy sauce for the crazy ones (=Steph.)

Steph and crazy huge burrito
Steph and crazy huge burrito
Maeva and huge breakfast burrito
Maeva and huge breakfast burrito

We then arrived at the visitor centre of Monument Valley and accepted the fee of $20 to drive through the monuments. After all, we weren’t going to be here everyday! We took the dirt road that loops around the famous rock formations immersing ourselves in the Western feeling of the park. Driving through the orange colours of the desert under a warm sun completely immersed us in the Western environment. But something was missing. As soon as we spotted horses by the side of the road, we knew what it was. If we were going to play our own John Wayne movie, we had to gallop through the valley! We therefore agreed to go on a little horse riding tour with one of the locals. It was so much fun to move through the valley on horses and even though it had been a while since we’d done it, Steph and I picked it up quickly! Plus, he got the white horse named Mustang, it helped a lot. He would gallop in front and yell “Yihaaaa!” Our guide was also very nice, though his thing was to gallop sideways and lose his hat every time – we would find out later why.

Monument Valley
Monument Valley
Horseriding in Monument Valley
Horseriding in Monument Valley
Maeva on horse in Monument Valley
Maeva on horse in Monument Valley
Maeva and Steph horseback riding in Monument Valley
Maeva and Steph horseback riding in Monument Valley
Steph on horse in Monument Valley
Steph on horse in Monument Valley
Monument valley horse ride
Monument valley horse ride

As we got back to the ranch, he and his friend asked if we could give them a ride as we had to go to the visitor centre to the ATM to be able to pay them for the ride. We explained that we only had 2 seats in front as it was a bed behind. But they were done with their day of work as it was veterans day and they were going to have to leave anyway. So they both got in the front next to Steph (picture two big guys on the passenger’s seat) while I sat on the bed at the back. Now this was a pretty insane couple of minutes to the visitor centre, and when we realized both were completely drunk! They would ask: “So where are you from?” and a minute later ask it again. I was at the back and they kept on moving, I was wondering what the hell they were doing. In all honesty I was a little worried! As we stepped out of the car at the visitor centre, Steph told me they were trying to “discreetly” pass each other a huge bottle of beer. Riiiiight. After Steph had to drive to Gouldings and back to an ATM since both of the ones at the Visitor Centre were out of service (wtf?), he payed them while they attempted to negotiate between themselves who would get what percentage. After a good laugh about it, we went back down the dirt road to take some touristy pictures of the three famous monuments before heading out.

Three famous monuments of Monument Valley
Three famous monuments of Monument Valley
Steph and Maeva selfie in Monument Valley
Steph and Maeva selfie in Monument Valley
Maeva channelling Janis Joplin in Monument Valley
Maeva channelling Janis Joplin in Monument Valley

Monument Valley was definitely one of the top stops on our trip, both for the amazing views as for the crazy experience. And to finish it beautifully, as we drove on the scenic road with the skyline of the rock formations at the back, we stopped to longboard down the empty and incredible road. PERFECT!

Steph longboarding on scenic road in Monument Valley
Steph longboarding on scenic road in Monument Valley
Maeva longboarding on scenic road in Monument Valley
Maeva longboarding on scenic road in Monument Valley

Grand Canyon

36°1' 39" N 112°11' 6" W Grand Canyon

Nov 21, 2014  –  by Maeva

We drove to Grand Canyon at night time in order to be ready to visit early in the morning. The road was completely empty except for deers… So in an unlit road at night, we were carefully scrutinizing the road to check for animals crossing the way. Even in the dark, the canyon revealed itself by the side of the road, thanks to a strong moonlight. As we reached the first viewpoint, we stepped out and almost flew away with the crazy wind! Still, Steph braved the elements to find the tripod and take a night shot of the canyon under the stars.

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We found a great campground in the forest and allowed ourselves to have a well deserved good night’s sleep with no alarm clock! In the morning, after struggling to make breakfast with such wind – picture glasses and bread spreads flying away – we passed by a deer on our way out. We might get used to this! We then chose the bus loop we’d go for. Yes, we were surprised to learn that we couldn’t simply drive or walk wherever we wanted. We had to park and then take the free shuttle towards different viewpoints. A bit of a disappointment to learn that after November 28th all roads would open and people wouldn’t need to take the bus. So close! We did the red loop, the Hermit’s Rest route. We stopped a the first viewpoint and walked towards the next few while contemplating the depth and size of the canyon, fighting the wind and getting some fun shots! The entire loop made it clearer and clearer just how gigantic and imposing the famous Grand Canyon is.

Steph and Maeva sitting in front of grand Canyon
Steph and Maeva sitting in front of grand Canyon
Maeva jumping in Grand Canyon
Maeva jumping in Grand Canyon
Steph jumping in Grand Canyon
Steph jumping in Grand Canyon
Steph and Maeva in Grand Canyon
Steph and Maeva in Grand Canyon

Pacific City

45°13' 4" N 123°58' 23" W Pacific City

Sep 29, 2014  –  by Maeva

We continued down the Oregon coast towards Pacific City (very fitting name). After a quick stop in Tillamook for some free cheese samples at the visitor centre, we were in this tiny town. It basically consists in one street, the ocean, a sea stack and a sand dune. So we kicked off our shoes and climbed up the sand dune for a pretty good work out. At the very top we got to enjoy a perfect end of the day sunlight so we spent most of our time exploring it and shooting videos. But even better, we got to run down the dune and roll over. Totally worth it!

The following day, Steph went for surf session in the freezing water while I treated myself to a delicious Chai Latte to continue reading my book #GirlBoss (Thanks Stephanie!) A few hours later, we were on the road towards hipster land, I mean Portland.

View from Pacific City Sand  Dune
View from Pacific City Sand Dune

Can you tell we’re camping pros or what?!

Steph at the campground by the fire
Steph at the campground by the fire
Maeva on the rocks by the sea
Maeva on the rocks by the sea