Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  One of the things I give thanks for is that OH (other half) and I did so much travelling last year. Because, who knows if or when any of us will be able to travel with such freedom in the future?

In March and April 2019 OH and I drove 2000 miles. Along the coast and then inland through the desert from San Francisco to Vegas, stopping at ten different destinations en route.

We stayed at tiny fishing resorts with quaint names like Half Moon Bay. The views we saw driving along the Big Sur were stunning. One of our most enjoyable experiences was being able to eat freshly caught fish and seeing seals and sea otters at close hand.

The real highlight of our trip was spending a day in Monument Valley, 91,696 acres of land on the Arzona-Utah border owned by the Navajo Indians.

We were driving a hired car so were not permitted, as US citizens are, to drive ourselves around.  Instead we took an hour and a half hour jeep ride with a member of the Navajo tribe.

Monument Valley, with its iconic rock and sandstone structures, has often been used as a movie location. Only last night OH was watching the film, Stagecoach and immediately recognised the stunning landscape of Monument Valley.  How the West Was Won, Easy Rider, Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and 2001 A Space Odyssey are just some of the many Hollywood blockbusters that were filmed there.

Our Navajo guide pointed out landmarks from films we have all seen. He also told us about his life. It was fascinating learning about the burial customs of the Navajo. He even pointed out the site where his grandmother was buried. On our return journey he asked our permission to sing us a Navajo lullaby. Not much chance of our falling asleep as we were bounced and thrown around over the uneven makeshift roads. Seatbelts? What seatbelts?

The sights and scenery were just out of this world. In fact, it was like being on a lunar landscape but in the desert. Just talking about it does not do it justice. I’ve posted some photos so you can get an idea of the breath-taking scenery.  

On our way to Monument Valley we had one of those unexpected experiences that end up making a holiday extra memorable. We stopped off at a gas station for petrol. When we walked inside we saw that the whole place was filled with memorabilia and wall to wall photos of James Dean. It turned out that his last purchase of an apple and crisps – had been at a gas station on that very site just minutes before he crashed his brand new Porsche car into a Ford Sedan at an intersection just down the road. He was 24.

The ultimate purpose of our trip was to meet up in Vegas on my birthday with my cousins who had travelled there from Phoenix and also to see my 95 year old cousin, the last surviving member of that generation of my father’s family.

For my Phoenix cousins a trip to Vegas is what for us would be a trip to Brent Cross or our local shopping mall.  It’s where they go for shopping and to see shows. They knew their way around and introduced us not only to one of the best (and also probably one of the most expensive) steak meals we have ever eaten but also demonstrated to us their knowledge of the Vegas casinos enabling us to gamble successfully for the first time in our lives!

I’m so pleased we did this trip when we did. These memories will have to last because we may not be able to have a holiday like that for many years to come – or possibly even ever again.








© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


  1. I enjoyed reading your travel blog. It reminded me of the time Barbara & I went to the USA back in 1978. One particular memory was driving down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles via San Simeon where we stopped to see Hearst Castle, built by William Randolph Hearst. It was so large that you could not visit all of it in one day. It was either upstairs or downstairs but not both! We then went on to the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas. I thought the best job in America would be a light bulb salesman in Las Vegas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Andrea. I enjoyed reading your travel experiences. We were in Monument Valley with our son in 2018. I agree such stunning and wonderful scenery.
    Irene X

    Liked by 1 person

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