Family, Friends. and Touring

An All American Transcontinental (almost) Road Trip - Part Three

June 24 - July 24, 2009

Monument Valley and Arches National Park

Moab, Utah

(David, Bruce, Janie, and Bobbie)

After leaving the Grand Canyon, Dave, Janie, Bobbie, and of course the Senex (Old Man); proceeded onto Moab, Utah to see both Monument Valley (Navajo Land) and Arches National Park. It was quite different from what we had seen at the Grand Canyon. How can one describe it without overstating what is there? It was hot, dusty, and more desolate than one could imagine or much less dream existed. Yet, the place possessed a beauty in the midst of a desolation that created a uniqueness which is difficult for me to describe. Nevertheless it does have a beauty of its own.

We spent our first day in Moab at Monument Valley which is a part of the Navajo Nation.

You can't help but be struck by the poverty among these Native Americans. Just another example of an ill-conceived and misguided legacy of our ancestors which Contemporary America still seems more than capable of perpetuating in a global world where we don't belong and at times don't even seem to understand. Yet, we are still one and the same people.

(It appears that the dust and the wind have turned the Hoocher Mobile into a fine example of Burgundy and Gold.)

I have already spoken about the unique beauty of this valley which many would turn their eyes from as being a lonely and barren place. However, there is an attraction for this place which is, at least, difficult to explain and describe. Then, what could it be that draws and has drawn so many people here? When I see these rocks spiraling toward Heaven, it makes me pause to consider the relationship between man his environment and how his belief in the Divine impacts on how he views the Universe. This is a personal perception and opinion on the spirituality that can be found in such a symmetry.

For those of you who are Hollywood fans may find it interesting that Monument Valley was one of John Ford's favorite locations to film a movie. It held the same interest for John Ford as it does for many others today.

(John Ford's Monument Valley)

(Movie Poster from 'The Serchers' filmed in Monument Valley)

(Movie Clip from 'The Searchers')

(Movie Poster from 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon')

(Movie Poster from 'Stagecoach')

(Henry Fonda in 'My Darling Clementine' - also filmed in Monument Valley)

Back to the Johnson's Sojourn of Monument Valley

(I think he is beginning to look a little tired. What do you think?)

Our second day in Moab was Dave and Janie's last day with us. We went to Arches National Park in the morning before Dave and Janie left for Denver that afternoon to visit friends of theirs as we did the following day. They would eventually go to Minneapolis to see their daughter before returning home. We couldn't have asked for better traveling companions and an excellent opportunity to spend some relaxing time with them. Bobbie and I would make our trip to Denver and then onto Chicago before returnimg to Virginia.

Arches National Park

(Senex Magister)

(The Group)

We had two more stops to make before returning to NOVA - one in Denver and the other in Chicago. Both of these visits were with friends from my youth that have endured for one reason or the other for more than forty years. It has been eighteen years since I had visited John in Denver, so you might easily assume 'what kind of friendship could this be with such separation in time'. Men, it seems to me, too often have difficulty talking about friendship and presenting an openness that is at the crux of such a relationhip. John goes back to Ball State and that friendship which began so many years ago still endures.

We may be victims of modern living where distance and time become apparent unavoidable obstacles. Yet, our friendship has endured and moments like these give us an opportunity to reconnect and vitalize what has always been there.

Our first evening we had a pleasant dinner with John and his gracious wife, Kate. Day One we went to the Art Museum of Denver, the next day took us to the History Museum of Denver and Colorado, and our last day we took a very pleasant drive in the mountains right outside of Denver. Hanging Out with a friend was the best part of the visit.

(John and Bruce)

The Art Museum of Denver

Views of Denver from the Museum

Museum of Colorado History

(John and Bruce)

(Me Again)




Time for a Libation at a Local Pub

A Mountain Drive Outside of Denver

(Bruce and Bobbie)

We bid our farewell to John and Kate and began a two day drive to Chicago where we visited Michael. Michael and I met in 1965 during our Sophomore Year in high school. He is one of my oldest and closest friends who has always had a meaningful presence in my life though time and distance has haunted us at times but 'RETIREMENT' and electronics can be a cure to many obstacles in life. Michael is a friend whom I have never had to doubt because I know that, if I ever need him in whatever circumstance I might find myself, he will be there. That is the kind of man he is and I am proud to call him friend.

Our first day in Chicago was spent at Milleneum Park - Hanging Out and Enjoying the Beautiful Weather

(Bobbie and Bruce)

(Bruce and Michael)

(Bobbie taking a picture of Michael and Bruce)


(Bruce and Michael)

(Bobbie and Bruce)

(Bruce and Michael)


(What do you think Michael is watching?)



(Bruce Michael)

Our last day in Chicago we went to the newly opened East Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago featuring 'Modern Art'. We then went back to the hotel and just hung out together.

After leaving Chicago and Michael behind us, we drove to Youngstown, Ohio the next day which gave us a short drive on our last day arriving home early afternoon. We were both tired and very happy to be home but at the same time found it a little hard (but really not too much) to believe we were home. It was quite a trip especially for a Senex.

(Back on Rosses Point Ct.)

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