Monument Valley & the Arizona open road
I woke up on Saturday morning (4/3) pretty much dead to the world. Lauren was feeling a bit groggy from the night before as well, and we couldn’t even bring ourselves to get out of bed. The front office let us check out an hour late, thank god – and we spent that extra hour laying in bed, watching Nickelodeon in the dark. It doesn’t get any more pathetic than that! Whatever, let me tell you that Big Time Rush is quite an amusing show.
I ever-so-gingerly dragged myself to the car when it was time to check out, fortunately Lauren was feeling better and ready to drive. I couldn’t stomach any actual food, but I felt like I could handle fluids; so when we stopped at a cafe down the street for breakfast, I ordered a smoothie and sat at a picnic table with my head on my hand. And of course, at this very opportune time, some guy who goes by ‘Hippie’ kept trying to talk to us. How awesome.
After a night fraught with vomiting and a history of motion sickness, you can imagine how psyched I was to embark on a day-long drive across Arizona. I had my seat reclined as far back as it would go, and actually felt alright for most of the ride – more blah than sick, which I’ll take for sure. The scenery was gorgeous – so much orange! I’d have had my camera out the window the whole time if I’d been feeling ok. Even though I wasn’t well enough to fully enjoy it, I’d like to think that it helped make the long car ride a bit more bearable in my state. We did pull over a few times to snap some photos, and I was ok enough for that.
But, uh, once we approached Monument Valley (our final destination for the day), I started to feel it. I ended up dry heaving at a Navajo gas station just outside of the area. Thus, I wasn’t able to witness the pathetic little quickmart inside the gas station, with all its empty shelves and random scatterings of crappy junk food. It’s remarkable how different life must be for the people living on these Indian reservations.
The drive into Monument Valley was pretty neat. We could see these huge rock formations from a distance getting larger and larger by the minute. We entered the park, parked the car, and went into the museum to get our bearings and take in the view. All I could do was sit and attempt to keep my head up. I wanted SO BADLY to just snap my fingers and be better so I could enjoy this trip. For a lot of things in life, I’m easily able to just flip the metaphorical switch and make things right. I jokingly refer to myself as a robot for this, uh, blessing of mine. But I just could not shake the nausea. It’s been my achilles heel my whole life.
Since I’m writing this several months later, I now think that the cause of this particular bout of sickness is dehydration. Something similar happened to me at home a few weeks before this trip (as well as a few weeks after), where I did a lot of exercise during a day and drank barely anything. Just like on our very demanding hike in Zion Canyon, where I only consumed a bottle’s worth of water the whole day. The dehydration initially makes me feel nauseous, and then is followed by a slew of symptoms that has me knocked out for a few days. Since these 3 scary episodes, I’ve made a huge effort to drink more water on a daily basis (something I’ve never been good about). So, I guess the moral of the story is: STAY HYDRATED!!
/ end preaching
Not surprisingly, about 30 seconds after embarking on the loop road that would take us all around Monument Valley, I go ‘ok, I can’t do this’, and we immediately turned around and left the bumpy gravel road. It would have ended very badly had we continued, that I’m sure of. I felt so terrible for making Lauren put up with my crap, but I couldn’t do a damned thing by sleep it off. We left the park and crashed at the Weatheril inn down the street, where I layed in bed watching ‘Father of the Bride’ and waited for sleep to heal me.
The next day (Sunday 4/4), I woke up feeling pretty darn close to normal, and for that I was THRILLED. The weather was glorious, so we began the day with a redo of the Monument Valley loop drive. I am SO GLAD we went back because it’s a pretty incredible place to see in person. All of the rock formations have silly names like butte or mittens, so we poked some fun at that. We stopped every so often to pose for pictures, check out a little farm in the valley, and browse a jewelry stand (where we both bought necklaces with pretty blue stone). We could see people horseback riding down in the valley, which looked like fun but definitely not something I was interested in doing ever again (not after the traumatic experience I had in Italy, where my horse decided to go for a swim in the river and almost drowned my camera).
Being Easter Sunday, there was pretty much nothing open in town for lunch. Just a few fast food joints, really. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to experience a Sonic drive-in for the first time Their java chill drink was pretty delicious, I must say, though their chicken sandwich left much to be desired (blech). I really despise the concept of drive-thru windows – I know, I’m a shameful American. It just promotes laziness, which I am not at all about. But it was pretty funny having an employee skate out to our car with our order.
From there, we headed south toward the Grand Canyon!