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Govern’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 23 Aug 2006

Location: Rusty's, Monument Valley, UT, USA

MapWith the sights of the Grand Canyon over with it was time once again to depart to our next destination via the use of our trusty sardine can on wheels. Everytime we get into the van it seems as though there is less and less room for us to sit down in, another factor is the fear of DVT, which although we joke around about it, is not an absurd possibility mainly due to the fact that we are spending about 5 hours a day in the van (minimum), in an effort to cover the 5000 mile distance in just 21 days.

Our fears were relieved when we stumbled upon our next destination of Monument Valley. Home for centuries to the native American Navajo tribe, which lived in the surrounding Utah desert until the arrival of European Settlers in the late 1800's. Ever since Monument Valley has been host to many a tourist not only for it being the only untouched Indian Tribe still in exsistance today but also for the backdrop in which they reside in, which has played host to many a setting for Movie Industry.

The first ever film recorded at Monument Valley was John Wayne's classic, 'The Searchers' and so the trend continued with Western Films constantly using the natural desert and rock formations that Monument Valley houses. This all changed however when the 'Snake Temple' scene in 'Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark' was filmed there in the 1980s closely followed by Back to the Future III.

Since the 80s however the only film worth any merit that used Monument Valley as a location was Mission Impossible II where Tom Cruise rockclimbed his way to the top of one of the table-top blocks located there.

After recieveing this very informative chronology of movie events, it was time for us to head out to Rusty's Cowboy Camp, approximately 30 minutes from Monument Valley itself.

Many have referred to Rusty as the Last Cowbou on Earth and you'll pretty much find his name or at least his picture in most Travel Brochures on Utah. He's approximately 90 years old but still rides horses and herds cattle. His other accolades also include a Cameo role in City Slickers 2 as one of Curly's helpers as well as the fact that he married his daughter's best friend, which we all thought was kind of creepy.

The end of the day saw us sleeping in a real hogan (or wigwam as we call it) which came complete with its own Scorpion, however having being used to these kinds of animals in Texas and knowing that if an Adult Scorpion bites you you have about 5 hours to get help which is nothing when you consider the fact of mobile phones etc meas that this is a huge amount of time, second of all it is state law (in Utah anyway) that all camps such as Rusty's keep a fresh supply of Anti-Venom on their medikit.

Even with all of these reassurances it was clear to see how scared some of the group was and so 10 out of 14 Trekkers (not including myself) decided to run to the van and spend the night there.