Mitten talk

Last week, you were informed that I didn’t have a new column because I was “communing with the universe.” Indeed. In fact, I was fortunate enough to be universing at a place that is still one of the most breathtaking spots in the known universe—Monument Valley, Arizona.

I don’t have the space to blather as much as I’d like about what a truly awesome location this is. I’ll just try to sum up the MV experience by saying that the 17-mile drive through the valley floor is one of the best treats you will ever bestow upon your eyeballs. And easily nicer than that “other” 17-mile drive. Make sure you have a charger in your car for your camera, because you’ll wear the battery on that sucker out as you slowly proceed from wow point to wow point. And make sure you get your LUMPY ASS OUT OF THE BLEEPITY BLEEP CAR! Jesus, it’s unbelievable how many folks won’t/don’t do this. It’s simply incomprehensible. How can you not get out of the fucking car? To not walk for at least a couple of miles on the nice, gravel road on a clear, sunny day in Monument Valley in order to soak up the views and magnificence of the place is a lot like being on an Alaskan cruise ship and never leaving the bloody buffet. Every time I’ve been to MV, I’ve never seen anyone else besides my comrades actually get out of the car and walk for a ways. And we wonder why our national glutes are vanishing under globs of glucose.

Since I was last in MV, there’s been a major development. Where there once was a very nice campground, there’s now a hotel. And you know what? Good for the tribe, (Monument Valley is on Navajo land.) Yes, it was a positively cool campground. But this new hotel absolutely rocks. It’s called The View for reasons that are quickly obvious. Of the 96 rooms, 90 look directly upon The Mittens, those buttes you’ve seen in John Ford movies, perhaps the most photographed natural feature in North America (certainly top 10). Everything at the hotel—rooms, patio, restaurant, gift shop—is built for a full tilt whopper of those Mittens. Good move. Also a good move: no casino. At The View, it’s all about—the view! It’s well done, totally comfy, with a handsome lobby filled with stunning desert photos and lots of non-stop ambient Navajo flute music. And the off-season price we got was quite friendly—99 bucks. Safe to say, that won’t be the case in May or August.

Speaking of this summer, you can expect non-stop sellouts at The View beginning in April. It’s not just us gringos who flock there. Monument Valley is on the radar big time for Germans, Brits and Japanese tourists, and they’re already total suckers for the joint. So if you want to hang there in the near future, you better get online. Or go in February.