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Monument Valley
Who said you need a 4x4?
By: Ricardo   |  Email:

The wind and water literally spent millions of years sculpting the southern part of Utah. Today's rock formations are majestic sculptures done by nature itself. You have seen the photos, but to be in front of them is another experience. Monument Valley may seem monotonous in color, as the red soil predominates, but the contrast with the blue sky is unique.

The native Americans name a part of this area the valley of the Gods, and for good reason.  Today people compare it to Mars, but the giant red rock towers are not an imagination. They are majestic in their own right. Some formations are over 1,000 ft. in height. What you see today are the eroded remains of mountains. It is mind boggling to try to understand how much dirt and rocks has been taken away during millennia. The exposed areas date back to 160 million years ago.

The best way to experience this by traveling yourself and drive to the bluffs. You will have to take some dirt roads but nothing that requires a full 4x4 vehicle. I did it in comfort and luxury thanks to the new Hyundai Palisade. An SUV that is quickly becoming not just popular but one of the best. And if you travel with your family it has plenty of space with an excellent ride on the highway.

The Hyundai Palisade is powered by a 3.8 liter V6 with almost 300 horse power. The eight speed transmission is not just smooth, but is calibrated to maximize the engine torque and thus you can travel with the engine running at 2500 rpm. This saves a lot of fuel and makes it very quiet as well.  It has good power for passing and the brakes are big to the point that you just need about 180 feet to stop from 70 mph. I managed to get 26 mpg, although Hyundai says that you can average 24. The all wheel drive system is something that I strongly recommend since it gets the SUV to have good grip on any surface. I was impressed how well it work on the red dust trails near the rocky formations.

The Calligraphy model is the top of the line and as soon as you get in you can feel the higher quality.  With its 3 row seating arrangement there is room for 8, but unless you really needed I rather have more trunk space. I like that the second row seat moves with a touch of a button. You can fold the second and third row of seat to increase the cargo space. There is a storage under the load floor also. So for trips you won't be short of space. This deluxe model has a 10.3 inch touch screen display that can connect to Android Auto as well as to Apple CarPlay. What I like is that there are physical knobs to control de audio if you want to. For the tech crowd you can start the Palisade by talking to Alexa or Google Assistant before you get out of the hotel.

On the road the car moves effortless and once you set your smart cruise control it will maintain the speed and distance to the traffic to provide a safe trip. You can actually enjoy the audio system without second guessing the built in safety features that assist your driving (Lane departure, auto emergency braking, auto dim headlights, etc).  I was really happy with it and when is time to replace your own family I suggest you check it out.

Monument Valley extends over 90,000 acres and is within the Navajo territory. To get close to the sites you will approach this magic land by taking HWY 191 from Arizona.  The city of Bluff can be your base camp or, as I did, you can stay within the Indian Reservation. The best time to take in the area natural beauty is sunrise or sunset. And at night you will be amazed by the view of the stars and the milky way. 

Monument Valley
Who said you need a 4x4?

By: Ricardo

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