We hit it off after breakfast, leaving Monument Valley behind us and going towards Mogi Dugway. We passed a place on the highway famous for a scene from Forrest Gump, and all the tours hanging around in the middle of the road made it a safety hazard for everyone.
Forrest Gump — the protagonist of the 1994 Oscar-winning movie of the same name starring Tom Hanks — had run for three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours when he reached the hill that looks toward Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. After crossing the country several times, Forrest figured out why he was running so much, and that it was something that his mama had told him, “Put the past behind you before you move on.”
Realization struck around mile marker 13 on U.S. 163, and Forrest proclaimed to his followers that he was done running. Now known as “Forrest Gump Point,” this spot offers a most spectacular view, and is visited by gobs of movie fans and tourists on their own trek to the iconic Mittens formations — those conspicuous 1,000-foot buttes — and tours within Monument Valley.
For fans of the movie who are driving this road, realization will sneak in that you’re in a familiar place. It’s fair to theorize that something intrinsic to this vast, iconic and sacred place, enabled Forrest Gump to finally come to terms with his past and find a way forward. It is a land that invites quiet introspection.
Pull over and take a selfie on Forrest Gump Point. Even if you’re not a movie buff, taking in the landscape here is worth every second of your time. It’s fairly easy to find the point, because there will likely be a dozen cars parked at the pullout by the sign. People will surely be standing in the middle of the road taking photos, so drive slow and watch out.
Then we headed off Highway 261 for the scenic road towards Natural Bridges National Park.
We stopped at the Gooseneck State National park to see the mighty Colorado River.
One of the highlights was passing through Mogi Dugway – 5 miles of dirt road winding and climbing up the mountain. I’m sure they keep it to the
road and prevent people from travelling quickly along the road.
After spending a little time walking around and seeing various parts of the national park, we made our way to Monticello. This is genuinely a tiny desert town. Coming up to the motel, we were a little concerned, given the recent experience with motorcycles, but it was a charming motel to stay at.
We decided to stay in Monticello as it’s a little more affordable than Moab. In some ways, it was a good decision because I was tired when we arrived and didn’t feel like driving for another hour.
But there were limited facilities around there. We couldn’t find a coffee place anywhere but did settle for a nice Mexican dinner.
I will say this for Monticello. What they lack in personalities, they make up for twice over with hospitality.