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Monument Valley advisory

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    Posted: 15 April 2019 at 01:31

Monument Valley
by /photos/purple-bullet/Coast

OK, this is a tip for any people coming out to photograph here
its about those vans, they are a popular way to photograph on the loop w someone who is knowledgable
The vans in the picture have formed a caravan and are heading out on a "Full Moon in Monument Valley" expedition. It was the night of the Full Moon
That was our mission too. To get one of those beautiful Full Moon photos. It cost $75 per person to go in a van that night
we didn't take the vans, but did the loop in my buddies 4WD air conditioned Jeep

3 things you need to know about the van rides
1, they are open air, it was in the 90's. You will probably be sweating
2 they go on a dirt road that kicks up a lot of dust. You will probably be eating a lot of dust
3 You will be bouncing around like your on a bucking Bronco

that's it folks, see you out here ______Coast

BTW: Yes, that is my shadow on the bottom left taking this photo
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Dopol View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dopol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 06:59
Feels like serious considerations.
I have to find me a friend with airconditioned 4WD when I get there,
No plans yet, but I'll add it to my checklist.
And a nice shot with all the vans on it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 07:09
One of the great things about Dyxum is the sharing of knowledge and advice by members, and this is just one such example.
Thanks Joe for the information - certainly worth knowing about for anyone venturing into that part of the world.
And I echo @Dopol's comment about your photo - nice one.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 09:29
Ah; yes. Monument Valley and the 'Tour Buses'

If we took anything back from our recent trip it was the increasingly over-commercialization of various locations (I'll touch on those in thread when I get round to them) and this is certainly one of the more obvious examples.

These tour buses are very common and operate at all times of the day (and, by all accounts. the night as well). There are many of them and they are 'corralled' in the parking lot at the View Hotel touting for business.

As Joseph says, they are completely open to the elements and this comprises, for the most part, lots of dust and plenty of heat. How one is supposed to take sufficient water along is beyond me so you would have to be prepared to 'suffer for your experience'. From an ethical point of view, one can't blame the local Navajo population from trying to make some money - there's precious little else for them to raise it from out there - but I looked at a couple of these as they jolted past and wondered what their safety program was as they are also somewhat old and, in some cases, relatively poorly maintained.

I guess if that is your only option then you have to go with it. However, we encountered no issues driving round the Monument Valley Loop in our hire vehicle. We hired through Budget in Las Vegas and had a Chevrolet Equinox which was 2/4WD and didn't miss a beat the whole time we were there. The Loop road is a combination of compacted hard core and sand (surprise!) but we only felt it really needed the 4WD in one section in Monument and one in Valley of the Gods nearby where soft sand had built up in one section and it sailed through.

As for the photo - I think I know where that spot is ( ) and it's a nice example of the vista and an anonymous 'Selfie' all in one!

Take care out there Joseph and keep on posting the images!

I hope the above is useful and best regards, Neil.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 09:32
Oh - one small additional comment; we find hiring in the UK for a vehicle to be collected from a US airport etc. to be significantly cheaper than hiring from the 'native' US site itself. Anyone else found that in the EU?

Best regards, Neil.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Coast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 18:25
Domien and Joe;
Thanks Guy's I'm just trying to give anyone who might be contemplating a trip out here a "heads up"
thanks both for the photo compliments. I should be posting my Monument Valley shoot shortly, since I'm going back out there again soon

Neil;
I'm going to have to dig a little deeper to talk on your knowledgable reply

thanks guys____Joe
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Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 20:29
Try going to Yellowstone. Tour busses are like roaches filled with the pushiest tourists Iíve ever seen. Iím not going to name the predominant nationality but theirs one group of peopleís in this world with poor manners almost across the board.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 22:44
It's a bit of a business out there. We went a long time back, when we were still a honeymoon couple! The locals refuse to let regular cars on those dirt roads.
Luckily we had an SUV (or 4x4 or whatever else they're also known as) and we could tour at our own leisure, stop at spots just as long as we wanted etc.
That freedom is invaluable at such places that we might only visit once in a very long while.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2019 at 22:46
Hi Chris,

that's an interesting comment about our #1 location in the USA - Yellowstone. I must admit I've never experienced that level of tourist 'density' but, there again, we've largely kept out of the heavy tourist seasons I suspect.

Mind you - walk more than 500 yards from the parking lot or the trail heads and, generally, you have the place to yourself pretty much 😎

Best regards. Neil.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2019 at 00:08
Been four times. Itís dense with tour busses.why I go off-season to. First two weeks itís open or last three or four weeks.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Coast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2019 at 22:45
Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:

Ah; yes. Monument Valley and the 'Tour Buses'

If we took anything back from our recent trip it was the increasingly over-commercialization of various locations (I'll touch on those in thread when I get round to them) and this is certainly one of the more obvious examples.

I hope the above is useful and best regards, Neil.


Originally posted by C_N_RED_AGAIN C_N_RED_AGAIN wrote:

Try going to Yellowstone. Tour busses are like roaches filled with the pushiest tourists Iíve ever seen. Iím not going to name the predominant nationality but theirs one group of peopleís in this world with poor manners almost across the board.


Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:

It's a bit of a business out there. We went a long time back, when we were still a honeymoon couple! The locals refuse to let regular cars on those dirt roads.
Luckily we had an SUV (or 4x4 or whatever else they're also known as) and we could tour at our own leisure, stop at spots just as long as we wanted etc.
That freedom is invaluable at such places that we might only visit once in a very long while.



OK guys, so what are we to do?🤷‍♂️ The most beautiful and interesting places 🎬~ attract the most people! 🚌
For me, the places are Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. These are National Parks, one form or other, designated areas for people to visit, but also to preserve. Are we to forgo going to these, the Best places, and only go where we won't encounter these nuances, or make the Best of being in the Best?

I've been to Yosemite countless times and one always hears how crowded the place is and I have only one or twice found it, what I consider crowded. This is in the heart of California. Most of the time I'm just in company of folks enjoying their surrounding as I am.
As far as people being rude, I encounter that and it does stay w you to a point, but far more, you can meet w really nice gentle people. Even start up conversations, where appropriate, or as Neil points out, go a few yards and find a solitude.

Making the best of your situation and being grateful for being fortunate enough to be where you are in the first place, might be a good strategy

Neil, I haven't posted my Monument Valley photos or my Grand Canyon's because I didn't want to "step on" your monumental Utah vacation photos, but also I'm still struggling w my photography while you have totally perfected your craft and honestly I'm afraid of the comparisons

I'll keep trying and enjoying 100% doing it. I'm driving back out there soon in the "Purple Bullet". Just Love driving it out there on those long wide open roads and try to get the pictures I missed this last time. Its also an excuse to drive the Bullet out there💜💜👍

thanks guys______Joe

Edited by Coast - 16 April 2019 at 22:59
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kefkafloyd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2019 at 23:04
Yellowstone (when I visited) seemed much easier to manage in terms of density because it's so big and has an extensive road network. I also wasn't tour-bussing (just driving in a car with friends) so that might color my view a bit. Of course everyone wants to see thermal features and old faithful. However, if I do go again, I'd want to go during the wintertime. I'd enjoy the challenge.

Yosemite was a different story, and it's because there's only one way in or out (generally) and the circulating road in the valley floor can get very jammed. It felt way busier/more dense to me because of this, though it didn't affect any of the places I wanted to see. Plus, Yosemite has a lot of "off the main trails" areas to explore, if you're willing to hike and put in some effort.

Banning cars in the heart of Zion National Park was 100% the correct move.

Part of the problem (Maybe) is the group commercialization. Trips and guides make it easier for the less experienced (for the park) to get in on the action, whereas in the past you had to put in more effort to plan your own trip individually. That acted as something of a deterrent, but having a guide group takes a lot of that burden off of the average photographer.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waleskeg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2019 at 01:12
https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2018/12/08/crisis-our-national-parks/ is an interesting piece about the overcrowding. It will continue to get worse. My first visit to the 4 corners, AZ, NM, CO & Utah and their parks was about 15 yrs ago and I've been back numerous times. It takes some thought on just when to visit if you want to be there with less of the 2 legged animals. One of my bucket list items was to visit that area when there's snow on the red rocks of Bryce, Arches etc and I crossed that off a couple of years ago. There were a whole lot less people out there in the freezing cold but it sure was worth it. In reading this Salt Lake Tribune piece it talks about the increasing overcrowding and then notes the increase of the parks installing cell phone towers and WIFI spots. Someone wasn't thinking on that one. Kind of like the cell phone being actively used during the sermon at church on Sunday.

And on the other side of the coin are the beautiful photos Neil has graciously shared to remind us to try and plan a time when we can see the beauty or explore slightly away from the beaten path.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2019 at 09:45
Well, this has initiated a very interesting and thought provoking thread, especially from someone who could, as an 'outsider (ie European), be seen as an 'outsider' in all of this. Albeit, in my defense, as someone with a valid interest in all of this.

What I can say is that this is not an isolated US NP issue; go to any of the UK National Parks from, generally, Spring through to Autumn (Fall) and you will hear the same views - it's overcrowded; there's too many people/cars/coaches etc. for the infrastructure. One of these is the Lake District in the NW of the UK - and that is where we are heading this year in June so perhaps I can revisit this page when we get back and confirm!

However, regarding the US situation there are some interesting comments buried amongst the above.

Yellowstone: Our #1 location so far and I would go back there in a heartbeat anytime. Yes; it's busy but we have been in the peak vacation season (July/August) and, other then the heat (!), we found no issues. I think the Group thing works in it's favour as it 'coral's' the Groups into specific places and in a defined physical group. If all you're interested in is ticking the 'big one's' off your list in terms of geysers etc. then I can see why that makes sense from both a personal and Park perspective - it does minimize traffic to a certain point. However, for the rest of us, I've never found it really unbearably busy and we are prepared to go hike and find something new (we have 'discovered' a few gem locations in Yellowstone and The Tetons during our time there - not telling....). So, it's size and Groups do work in it's favour I suppose.

Yosemite: Little experience other than a short stay in 2000 with the family. Even then it was busy and we looked in 2017 to go in 2018 rather than Utah and couldn't get in. Like anywhere. I suspect that speaks for itself. It also, like Yellowstone, has a compacted season due to weather etc. and if the higher pass isn't open then it squeezes everyone into a smaller location which is only going to make the situation worse. But kefkafloyd is correct - get out of the car, away from the parking lot and walk and you'll most likely have the place to yourself.

Zion: absolutely correct. Now that is a Park and external area that took a brave decision and did the right thing. It was really busy when we were there but the public transport (free please note the UK!) works exceptionally well with well informed drivers and regular services right out into Springdale.

Monument Valley: Packed, though once out on the trail the crowds disappeared. As I mentioned above, we took our hire SUV out on the Loop Trail and whilst there were cars on it these were few and far between; we didn't quite have the place to ourselves but, as you will shortly see, the further in one goes the less others are prepared to follow... It seems that even in a car, people don't want to go too far from a perceived 'civilization'! This was echoed in other locations as well - Bryce being a good example with most people swarming round the 'big attraction' amphitheaters etc.

However, during our stay we did experience the negative side of increasing success and the potential damage that has brought. You may (may not?) be disappointed to hear I will not be showing any images of Horseshoe Bend just south of Page. The reason? We visited on numerous occasions and each time we found no - and I mean NO - parking space anywhere around it. Full - cars; coaches; SUV's RV's - you name it, they were there. And it was packed - like a human chain meandering from the lot over the hill and beyond to the viewpoint. We asked our hosts the final evening we were there about this and he said the local authorities were aware of the issues and were putting in a Park and Ride facility starting, I think, in 2019. He said that 10 years ago, it had no more than 300,00 visitors in a year. In 2017, the last year they had numbers for, this had reached 4,500,000 visitors. The reason? A combination of accessibility and 'The Selfie'. Perhaps we should ban all mobile phones in the NP's - perhaps that might reduce the numbers somewhat...?

On that contentious note perhaps I should stop now!

@kefkafloyd - if you are interested in going to Yellowstone for a winter visit, let me know as we've done it as part of an organised group but I know there are strict limitations on accessibility etc. and I can share some experiences if that helps.

Best regards, Neil.
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