Sunday, September 14, 2014

Four Corners Monument

From Winslow, AZ, we rolled east on Interstate 40, looking for breakfast. It was Sunday, and nothing was open in Winslow. We found breakfast at a "hole-in-the-wall" restaurant in Holbrook, AZ. Good, standard fare - nothing to write home about. After breakfast, we headed north on Indian Route 6 into Navajo country. When we met up with State Highway 264, we headed east to US 191. From there, we headed north to connect with US 160 eastbound to the Four Corners Monument.

From Holbrook up to Four Corners, it was all semi-arid agricultural land, mostly given over to ranching. Houses were spread well apart in clusters of two or three. Most were modern homes. Occasionally, we saw a traditional Navajo hogan. We also noticed that street signs for the side roads were strangely lacking.

The Four Corners Monument is the only place in the United States where four states meet. These are Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Over the years, these has been some dispute as to whether the location is correct. Last year's bruhaha is described here. The reality is of little importance: this is where the monument is.

The photo above is from the National Traveler web site. The two below are ours.

The monument is first, a National Geodetic Survey (NGS) marker which marks the official location. Around this marker a large concrete plaza has been built. Surrounding the plaza is a circular brick structure which is divided into stalls for vendors. Outside of this structure is the parking lot and space for vendors to set up their portable stores and supply trailers. To be sucinct, this is a tourist trap operated as a Najavo Nation park. Yes, there is an entrance fee and currently, only cash is accepted. Still, it is worth the stop, at least once in a lifetime.

We spent much longer than we planned at the monument, wandering past the vendors' stalls and just plain people-watching. Tourists from several countries were there, most notably from Japan, Germany, England and Austria. As the sun started to lower in the West, we headed out with my daughter driving on a route that took her through all four states before we headed south toward Interstate 40 again.

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