A tale of two Garths. Chapter 48. “I’m sorry, but I don’t see a hat.”
Monument Valley. *Cue the sound of Angels* Monument Valley is one of the most majestic, and most photographed places on earth and took 50 million years to create. Leaving sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet! That my friends, is a LOT of sandstone. And all of this beauty sits on 91,696 acres. It really is something to see. If you’ve never had the chance to stop by Monument Valley, I highly recommend it. Cause that’s exactly what we did, we stopped by. After all that driving, we pulled over to the side of the highway and took a couple of pictures and then left. Just like that! Oh hi Monument Valley. I know it only took you 50 million years to build. But you see, we’ve got cold beers in the car and we’re on a timetable. So, I guess this is goodbye.
“That’s it? We’re leaving?” I said to Garth and he tried to hurry us back into the car.
“We’ve got to go. These beers aren’t getting any colder,” he replied. So that was it. The only pictures I got were taken from route 163 along the highway. Spectacular! I’m guessing I won’t be the next Ansel Adams. Oh well, there goes yet another dream of mine.
We timed how long before we got to our next National Monument and we estimated it would be a little over a half hour. I could do a half hour. I mean how cool was this going to be? Just think about it, nature had carved a giant sombrero shaped rock out of a 60-foot by 12-foot rock. This was going to be AWESOME!
As we continued down scenic route 163, I sat in anticipation of the mind-blowing view that my eyes were about to take in.
“There it is!” Garth shouted out.
“There what is?” I said looking in the direction he was pointing.
“Mexican Hat!” he exclaimed.
“Right there. Don’t you see it?”
“Stacy, it’s right there.”
“Oh yea, I can see it,” Jonathon added from the passenger seat in the front of the car. Now I was just getting pissed. I was pretty sure these three little fuckers were just messing with me.
“Whatever you guys,” I said, as I tried not to act irritated. They’re not going to get the best of me. No sir.
“Pull over,” Jonathon told Adam. “I want to get a picture.” And once again we all piled out of the car. I watched Jonathon act all interested and take out his camera and start taking pictures of rock formations.
“Stacy, don’t you want to get a picture of this?” Garth asked me.
“OF WHAT?” I exclaimed.
“Of the damn hat!” he countered.
*Sigh* “I’m sorry but I don’t see a hat.”
“Oh for Christ’s sakes, Stacy it’s right there,” Adam said while pointing to a large oval shaped boulder sitting on top of a bunch of other boulders. “THAT’S Mexican Hat!” Adam reiterated.
“I’m sorry….but that doesn’t look anything like a hat.” But I took a picture of it anyway. Just to appease the masses. “Doesn’t look like a fucking hat to me,” I mumbled on my way back to the car. But we were done. That was it. We were all so tired that if we didn’t stop soon, one of us was going to kill another one of us, and we would end up having to bury the dead under a National Monument that is supposed to look like a hat. Lucky for us The San Juan Inn was only 2 miles down the road from Mexican Hat. Even luckier, they had two rooms available.
The San Juan Inn is one of my very favorite hotels. Is it the nicest I’ve ever stayed in? No. Does it have the best food? No. Does it rest on the side of a cliff looking over the San Juan River? Yes. And watching the sun set over the San Juan river while smoking a joint and drinking a cold beer is more relaxing and more enjoyable to me than any luxury hotel. Plus, no spiders over the bed like the last hotel we stayed in. As far as I was concerned, The San Juan Inn was perfect.
“Foooooood. Fooooooooood,” Adam moaned like a hungry zombie. “I need food.” We had bought snacks while we were in Parker, but it was definitely time for some real grub.
“There’s a restaurant downstairs,” Garth informed us. He only had to tell us once. All four of us took off in a mad dash once we heard the word restaurant. I was so hungry I could’ve eaten an entire rock formation.
The restaurant itself was a quaint little place. Nothing much to look at, but I don’t think anyone cared. It went perfectly with the outside scenery. The four of us sat down at one of the wooden tables and waited for service. That’s when we were greeted by a young Navajo woman. Now I don’t know if you know this or not, but the rumor surrounding the American Indians is that they are not a smiling people. This is because back in the day they were often depicted as “savages,” and photographers didn’t want to take a picture of a smiling Indian because it didn’t fit the stereotype. Apparently smiling Indians aren’t good for photo sales. And who wouldn’t want a picture of a savage? I know I’ve been looking on E-bay for a Fred Savage picture for some time now, and I always get outbid. Bummer. ANYHOW, Indians were often asked to NOT smile by photographers. Obviously that was not only a very archaic way of thinking, but ignorant as well. This way of photography is out of vogue now. Thank God. Our waitress however didn’t get the memo. She was a young Navajo; I would say maybe fifteen or sixteen. And no matter how many times I tried to smile at her I got nothing in return. Nada. She wasn’t having it. Come on lady, don’t you recognize a homie when you see one? I thought to myself while flashing her the pearly whites. But alas she was unimpressed. She doesn’t know I’m one of the tribe. Here I am, part Navajo, trapped in the body of a white girl. I scoured the menu. Hummm…beef stew and…beef stew. Wow! The options are endless.
“We’ll have four stews,” I told her with a straight face. She gave me nothing. If this girl ever decides to become a poker player she is going to make bank. She has no tells.
Before long our beef stew came accompanied by some authentic Navajo fry bread. I felt like I was bonding with my people. That was until I realized I didn’t really like fry bread. And I wasn’t all that hip on the stew either. Maybe the other ¾’s of me were inside my stomach causing some kind of revolt. And that’s when I remembered I wasn’t just Navajo after all. I’m also English, French, and Norwegian. Let’s face it: I’m a tea sipping, cheese eating, Indian killing, Viking fighting surrender monkey. More or less, I’m a mutt… who doesn’t like stew.
After dinner was over we all went back to our rooms to literally fall into bed. We were all exhausted. I took the cooler that we didn’t spend any money on and put it down on the floor near the TV stand. I grabbed myself one last beer, and did my best to get some good reception on the TV. Apparently the cooler was a sore subject to Garth. That and a personal prize possession because he thought it deserved a place of respect. So he put it up on the side of the TV stand next to the TV. Maybe the cooler needed some entertainment. I’ll never know. All I do know is, before I could even take a second sip of my beer….I was fast asleep.
To be continued…..