Bob Neuman and David Ruether
Trip to the South Western US
May - June 2005
GOOSE NECKS STATE PARK
The panorama and mountainside photos here say it all - this place is WEIRD! The earth is folded in thick layers that produce the colorful waves in the hillsides and the tight curves in the San Juan River's path.
Nearby was the Valley of the Gods. The most interesting features were furthest from the main road, on a smooth but dangerous dirt road - tight rises in the narrow road prevented visibility of oncoming traffic (the road should have been one-way). Near the beginning we passed the bed and breakfast which had been booked the night we wanted to stay, but a message we later found on our answering machine told us it had become available. It looked nice, and interestingly situated. Ah well…
Near here was also Monument Valley. For having the standard rock formation symbol of the southwest, we found this area surprisingly the most disappointing of the trip. The formations are widely spaced, with poor access, and with buildings near them.
A surprise and treat was next to and within the ordinary-looking Burger King that was next to our motel. Between the motel and Burger King was a collection of sample small Navajo structures. Inside the Burger King and occupying a fairly large proportion of the interior was a museum-quality display on the Navajo code talkers of WWII. It was riveting reading, finding out how important these people had been to our success in the war against Japan. There are a couple of links below, but these leave out some of the stupidity related in the Navajo version - like the code talkers being used as plain soldiers and simple message runners early on, before it finally became very obvious that their training, skills, and language provided a swift and unbreakable method of transferring coded messages for the US marines. For more, see these sites:
taken by Bob Neuman and edited and adjusted by David Ruether)
(All photographs Copyright 2005 Robert Neuman)
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