A few years ago when I lived in Colorado I remember looking up photos of the Colorado River and seeing this marvelous place. It took me two years of exploring the west before I got lost and ended up in Page, Arizona in the Navajo Indian territory and finally got to set my eyes on this bad boy! At the time I was taking photos with a cell phone so u had to revisit the Bend. 1,000 feet above the the Colorado River just a couple hours north of the Grand Canyon, this folks is the mighty Horseshoe Bend!
In the words of old time Western movie director John Ford.. “It’s five square miles have defined what moviegoers think of when they imagine the American West.” The John Wayne movie Stagecoach was filmed here. Navajo Indians consider this land to be sacred. The medicine men would come here and prey to the rain gods. -Navajo Nation, Utah
Built in 1939 the Smithsonian Magazine calls the Blue Swallow Motel “The last, best, and friendliest old time motel!” It was also in the movie Cars.
I pulled into town at sunset just in time for the neon lights to turn on. The motel reception was once a diner now turned into a gift shop. I bought a Blue Swallow stick pin and a sticker for my travel cooler and did a walk around the motel. All the rooms are outfitted with vintage furniture and appliances. Motel rooms even come complete with your own garage for your car! I thought that was pretty rad.
Tucumcari, New Mexico is just another of the many towns that has been all but abandoned after interstate 40 was built in the 60s and traffic on Ol Route 66 pretty much came to a halt. Most of the motels, drive ins, diners and shops are abandoned now but I do my best to support any that are still open when ever I travel West.
See more travel photos at https://www.instagram.com/michael.french.foto/
“Any ways like I was sayin. I had a lot of company. My momma always said you gotta put the past behind you, before you can move on.. And I think that’s what my runnin was all about. I had run for three years, two months and fourteen days and sixteen hours..”👟👨🏽🍫 So this was where Forrest Gump finally stopped running.
I had drove through the Navajo Reservation from Page AZ with no phone service literally using the sun as my compass until I eventually saw signs. Within 20 minutes of the monument I was pulled over by Navajo police and welcomed with a $50 ticket. The officer told me that no points are taken and that they do not report tickets to the bmv. So I may or may not have paid that ticket.. 😜
I haven’t had phone service in a few days other then stealing shitty hotel wifi when I can but the last two days have been nuts! Wandered the Grand Canyon, made jewelry with an 80 year old Navajo woman, maneuvered the Indian reservation for two days without a phone or map and got pulled over by Navajo police. And got wasted in a motel room that literally looks like a Tee pee on Route 66! The reservation is amazing! I had to stop my car for a few minutes at sunset so a dozen wild horses could cross the road. I don’t know that I have ever seen horses free like that before, to come or go as they please. It was a beautiful sight! The sky was unbelievable last night. The most stars I have seen probably ever in the states! This photo was taken yesterday 1000 feet above the Colorado River! Horse Shoe Bend- Page, Arizona.
Back for the third time to see the Grand Canyon. And to think all of this is from a little River! Mind blown! 😳💨
Construction of the San Xavier Mission began in the year 1700 and was destroyed by Apache Indians in 1770. This current structure was built 70 miles north of current Mexico in 1783. It is considered the finest example of Spanish colonial architecture in the United States! Most of the labor to build the new structure and its interior artwork was mostly done my local Indians. In 1822 the church fell jurisdiction under newly independent Mexican government. In 1828 they banned all Spanish priests. And in 1837 it was left vacant. In 1854 it was taken over under US rule after purchase of the Arizona Territory and in 1859 it was reopened. One of the coolest churches I have been anywhere in the world! ⛪
-San Xavier Del Bac
Woke up the other morning in the swamps of Louisiana. The gentlemen I met in line at the supermarket looked down at my pajama pants and told me “You must not have a job either huh.” I said No not really. He said “Don’t worry. Work is for people that don’t know how to fish” and invited me fishing. Instead we sat, two bums on a bench outside in the sun, pajamas and flip flops on eating fruit and talking about traveling. I told him I was on my way to Texas and he said I must see the pool! A once underground river that’s roof collapsed now surrounded with waterfalls and a beach. The Hamilton Pool! -Austin, Texas
The Devils Den- An underground river that’s roof had collapsed. In passages under water explorers have found the remains from sloths, camels, bears and saber toothed tigers! They have also found human remains from 7,500 BC! -Williston, Florida
The Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone Arizona was a theater, saloon, gambling parlor and brothel that opened in 1881. The New York Times called it the wildest, wickedest night spot in the US! The longest poker game in history was held in the basement that played 24 hours a day for over 8 years! Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson took part. Many famous musicians played this stage wile prostitutes entertained in the “bird cages” up top. The original piano shipped around Cape Horn to the West coast in 1881 still sits here! There are over 140 bullet holes in these walls. Everything still sits original from 135 years ago! It is said to be one of the most haunted places in the Wild West! I toured the Bird Cage on Christmas Eve and was the only one in the building. 😳