5432.1 miles in the prius!

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Irene's place

Flag of United States  , Colorado
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today was our last day with the mighty prius and we drove from Cameron back to Montrose, another long drive but interesting, fun and sad all the same.
What strikes me most about the lovely landscapes we have seen are the enormous electricity poles and lines everywhere. I am sure I mentioned this before - it reminds me of the anti-tsunami concrete blocks on the seaside in Japan. 
We drove back to Montrose through Navajo country but of course we first spent some time in the shop at Cameron. They must make a fortune there with the huge numbers of tourist buses that we saw. Also there was no discount at the trading post restaurant for hotel guests, probably because there is nowhere else to eat for miles and they have a monopoly. I am not sure where the money goes as the reservation ‘towns’ look quite run down.
At breakfast Irene asked for tea bags other than the plain old liptons (which is awful but seems to be the only black tea you can get in the US) and the waitress brought out a selection. However, she came back later and gathered up the remainders despite the fact that Irene was trying to keep some for later. The waitress said that she had been told to take them back - this is real penny pinching. 
There were occassional towns and small groups of houses but it is basically flat with very few animals. I did expect to see some ranches but although there were signs you really could not tell. We had a bit of a laugh because where there were signs warning of cattle on the road we only saw horses. Then there was a sign warning of horses with cows directly behind it. I think you had to be there but Irene and I found it quite amusing.
On the way we stopped to look at the Navajo National Monument which is basically a pueblo town in a natural cave in the cliffs. If you look closely at the photo (increase it in size) you may be able to see the buildings - check out the picture of the explanation board which may help. There were signs on the walk to the viewing platform explaining what all the trees were used for. It makes you realise that human are, for the most part, very good at staying alive even in the harshest of conditions. The landcape in the area looks like the outback of Australia despite the fact it is very high up and is cold and snowy in winter.
What we did not do (Irene mentioned it to me and I said no 'cos we had a long way to go) was the Navajo Code Talkers exhibit in the Burger King at Kayenta in Arizona. This is a small town in the middle of the state and you would not expect anything of substance - I have since googled this and am disappointed we did not stop. I expected it to be just a little thing but now realise that it is quite extensive. Apparently, the father of the guy who has the Burger King franchise was one of the code talkers. For those of you that don't know the code talkers were used extensively in WWII especially during the push on Iwo Jima - many credit them with the US victory there. 
We also tried to get to the Four Corners monument which is where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. Unfortunately, it is also on Navajo lands and we would have had to pay for the privilege of taking a photo - I think by that time we were sick of paying for everything and getting little in return so decided to forgo the pleasure. I have to admit this requirement to tip everywhere (Irene said that she even had to tip her hairdresser) even when the service was not that brilliant really began to get on my nerves especially when we were also paying up to three extra taxes on top of the base price. 
Basically the drive back was just more beautiful scenery plus an incredible thunderstorm and lightning display that we were following. Because we were so high the clouds were low and it was really lovely - I just could not get a good photo of it. Also we were hoping it would wash our car but we ended up handing it back quite dirty with 5432.1 (yes that is right - we checked it twice) miles or 8742.1 km on our odometer. 
And to top it all off we spent my last hours in Montrose shopping at Walmart and Target just as we did all that time and distance ago when we celebrated my arrival in Montrose doing exactly the same thing. The only difference was that there were less people in pyjamas!

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