Monday, August 4, 2014

Visions of the Southwest: Monument Valley ~ Movies, Maps, Memories and the Best Navajo Fry Bread Ever......

So, Monument Valley, you say?
Where's that
This kind of monument, you say?

These are the monuments.
Carved by forces of nature over millions of years.
Revered as hallowed by the native peoples.

 RUN Forrest!

Chances are,  you know Monument Valley,
but possibly  not by name.
If you've ever seen a John Wayne movie,
(of course, you have!) 
Forrest Gump, Thelma and Louise or even 
Back to the Future 3
you've been to Monument Valley
and you may not have known  it.

Other films set in the iconic western region are:
2001: A Space Odyssey
Once Upon a Time in the West
Easy Rider
The Eiger Sanction
National Lampoon’s Vacation
Mission Impossible: II

The Searchers 

Look/sound familiar?

Yeah, that was his John Wayne impression.....!
And one of their favorite lines in Stagecoach.

Here's the Duke 's cabin....
He played Capt Nathan Brittles 
in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
Some are classic; some, not so much.
But all are worth checking out,
simply  for the views .
And you won't even have to drive 2400 miles to get there,
as we did!

Hollywood filmmakers are  not alone in their love affair with The West,
with this inimitable landscape pf grandeur.
Travelers the world over flock to the
 Utah/Arizona border.
In fact, estimates at Gouldings Lodge and Museum suggest
 that only  10% ( ! ) of visitors to 
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park are American.
The other 90% hail from Europe and the Orient.

We found very few people, 
as we drove the Valley floor and took
in the beauty, who spoke English.
Amazing and inspiring that so many flock to our 
country's great sites!

In fact, here's a lovely family,
who flew from their native France to Las Vegas
 to tour the Southwest,
 whose rental car got stuck in the deep red sand of the valley floor!

We couldn't communicate at all, but they were all very appreciative.
And, as you can see,
ever the blogger/photographer,
I got out with the camera to capture it all, not to help push!

Some educational stuff for ya~
Those of  you  who homeschool know,
 even (especially! ) a trip cross country
is an  educational opportunity!

I'll share some maps of the area,
as well as other USA maps that we printed and picked and stuck in each 
of the kids' "fun folders."~~


USA states/capitals:

US Latitude/longitude:

USA interstate highway map:

USA physical map:

US time zone map:

All above US maps printed from
My boys are actually pretty darn good with their geography...
mainly all the travel, amp reading and living it
has been a huge boost.
We also pick up these Which Way USA books for each state
we visit or travel through.
that correlate with each state book are 
wonderful and really kid-friendly!
They are a bit juvenile for the age of our kids
at this point, but still enjoyed!

Now, I have to introduce those of you who are not
in the know
( I wasn't either, before my visits to The Valley)
to a delectable treat....
Navajo Fry Bread!
This lovely lady,
who was also showing her beautiful jewelry,
sold us a loaf 
AND offered me the recipe after my family 
enjoyed every morsel.

She had her adorable pups with her and 
of course,
my kids looooved playing with them. 
It was only about 110 degrees on the valley floor!!

It's a staple on the Najavo Reservation......
and extremely popular with tourists!
I must share...must!

Here you go Navajo Fry Bread recipe:
4 cups Blue Bird Flour

Yeah, I can't find this brand  any where, but I 
hear tell it is sold at Bashi's on the reservation.
So for all of us without access to a Bashi's.......
I guess just "regular" flour will  have to do!
1 teaspoon salt
2 Table spoon baking powder
1-2 cups very warm wate
1 tbsp lard

Mix the first 3 ingredients.
 There are a couple of  tricks to making fry bread, 
according to the lovely lady 
who shared her cooking expertise.......:
 Add just enough  warm water to moisten your dough.
It should  not be too sticky,
 yet not dry either. 
Kneed until smooth. Cover while you heat the oil.

Another traditional ingredient in 
the making of fry bread?
Can you add vegetable oil?
 Yes,  but it's just not the same. 
Heat your lard until it smokes.
Yes, you read that correctly.

Now take an egg size piece of dough and roll it out 
until about the size of a donut. 
Pick it up and pat it between your hands,
 stretching as you go until  it is  pretty thin.

Spread on your serving platter or foil.
Sprinkle with HONEY
or confectioner's sugar.
Enjoy warm!

Now, sadly, I've no pictures of this loaf...
as we left Monument Valley and headed to
 Arches National Park,
we stopped  at an adorable motel/restaurant which
was also advertising fry bread on its billboard.:

Cute lunch counter~

The Navajo have a sense of humor~~

And here's our yummy treat~~

Fry Bread up close~~ 

And THIS was right across the road:
~ Mexican Hat, Utah ~
Gorgeous, no?
Fry bread with a view!

and pppssstttt...
a  little bird told me that
THIS fry bread mix makes an amazing bread
AND it's oh-so-easy!
I've not tried it yet.....

But if you're pinched for time
and want to try authentic fry bread,
even the Navajo say Desert Gardens mix is true!

If you're into it, other posts in
my Visions of the Southwest series include:

Fun and Wacky Sign  Pictures:
2014 Edition



 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time here at my home on the web!

Don't forget to subscribe to Campfires and Cleats
 by scrolling to the subscribe button at the  top left sidebar.
I'd love to stay in touch regularly.

Until next time,


Post dividers courtesy of Sweetly Scrapped


  1. Wow gorgeous pictures!! I especially love the one of running on that desert road; amazing! This post is full of great info... Sharing. ��


    1. Jamie~~
      Thanks for your visit and kind words!!

      We did enjoy our time there in UT/AZ!

      Havea great day, Jaime

  2. Those photos are so striking. And so nice of you to lend a hand with that car! Thank you for linking at the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you again next week.

    1. Cynthia~

      Thanks, friend!! A,ways love your visits here!

      Enjoy your day~

  3. Wow! What lovely photos. Sounds like such a good trip. Thanks for linking up with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday." Would love if you could join us again this week.

    1. Thanks Lisa!! Will def join you with my circumference study and choc chip cookie recipe!

      Thank you for visiting, friend!!

  4. Beautiful pictures Chris, looks so wonderful here :)

    Thanks for linking up

    1. Thanks so much,'s my favorite place, ever!

      Thanks for stopping by!!

  5. Beautiful pictures! Makes me want to go back and visit. I fell in love with fry bread when I was visiting the Southwest. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Lisa
      SO great to hear from someone who knows of/loves fry bread too!!

      Yes, I'd love to get back there, even now, so soon after returning!

      Thanks for visiting, Lisa!


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