Mile-Melting Monuments

The RAAM route I am riding goes right through Monument Valley, an area in the Navajo Nation centered on the Arizona-Utah border that contains a collection of massive sandstone buttes – natural monuments. Monument Valley has appeared in many forms of media, including Westerns and the films, Easy Rider and Forrest Gump, and has provided many media consumers their image of what the West looks.

The monuments pulled me toward them, melting away the miles. The first time I glanced at my bike odometer, I had gone almost 20 miles! (In case the embedded video does not appear, here is the link: In regular life, when you have a clear and large goal, it will pull you toward it and the work to get there will melt away. 

Upon entering our third state, Utah, we took a planned detour of about four miles each way to The View Hotel where we had lunch and saw several famous buttes close up. 

Utah Border sign.jpg

The classic three buttes as seen from The View restaurant
Mitten Butte
Closeup of Mitten Butte – notice the bus for scale

Following two hallucinating 8% to 10% downhills and many more miles melted by the views, I crossed the San Juan River and entered the town of Mexican Hat.san-juan-river-by-susie


Mexican Hat is named for this rock formation on its outskirts.

In the early evening, we arrived at the Recapture Lodge in Bluff to a cheerful voice saying, “She made it!!” Jim Hook, owner of the lodge in Bluff has provided us with a free stay to support the venture and had spread the word with his staff before we got there!

Ride details

Start location: Kayenta AZ

End location: Bluff UT

Distance: 76.4 miles

Cumulative distance: 773.4 miles

Elevation gain: 3061.0 feet

Special feature: State crossing #3 – Arizona to Utah

Strava track:




11 thoughts on “Mile-Melting Monuments

  1. What a beautiful day! Thanks so much for your daily inspiration: “In regular life, when you have a clear and large goal, it will pull you toward it and the work to get there will melt away.” Love it!


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