We couldn’t come out west and not stop into Monument Valley. So, after Mesa Verde, that was our next stop.
I had only scheduled 2 nights (one full day) to stay here, however. While the scenery is epic, truth is there isn’t a lot to do. There are some commercial tours if you like that kind of thing. But, we elected to do the drive through the valley in our own car as our main excursion.
The trip into the Valley was beautiful, although I did have a hiccup with the RV…
Climbing some long inclines on the way in, the engine started hesitating. While it seemed to be running smoothly, whenever I came to an incline it would hesitate up the hill. Finally, I pulled off to the side to unhook the car just to get the extra weight off the back. Malika drove the car the rest of the way and I took the rig.
We pulled into the Monument Valley KOA. This KOA is right smack in the middle of the expanse of the Valley so you have massive amounts of space around the entire campground. We got a great spot right at the end, so we had no neighbor on one side.
In terms of a KOA, the place was actually pretty basic. I mean, you’ve got nice full-hookup sites. But, there’s no pool, no amenities. The bathroom was an outside shed with only 4 bathrooms and showers. There were literally people waiting in lines to use them. Of course, having full hookups, we just did our business in the RV and sat there and wondered why others didn’t seem to be doing the same.
So, this KOA is just about plugging in and having a place to camp. You’re not going to get much entertainment at all. It does have a playground and a little soccer field, but that’s about it. No trees, either. They did plant some, but they’re still super small and it’ll be several years yet before they provide any shade.
Like Mesa Verde, our internet situation was crap. The campground wifi would work sporadically and Verizon was weak.
So, the morning of our only full day in the valley, we took the auto tour on our own. $20 to get the vehicle in there and then you drive the unpaved road on your own.
Just a spectacular drive… what can I say. It’s Monument Valley.
In terms of your vehicle, if you have a decent car or truck, you’ll be fine. Our Honda CRV did OK. We saw some cars out there. The road is unpaved and rough in spots. And you don’t want to take it fast. Even though I was driving pretty conservatively, I still think the road took a toll on my car’s alignment. I ended up having to take the car to a shop to have an alignment and balance when we got to Moab. More on that later.
After our valley drive, I took a trip down to the NAPA Auto Parts in Kayenta, Arizona in order to pick up an air filter for the motorhome as well as a can of CRC MAF Sensor Cleaner. Why?
Well, in my research after arrival to the KOA on why my engine was sputtering, many people seemed to talk about the simple act of cleaning the mass airflow sensor (MAF sensor) as a fairly easy thing that often fixes it. After reading, my theory was that it was the higher altitude combined with the hot summer temps that was affecting the way the engine was running.
So, after my trip to NAPA, I set out to change my air filter and clean the MAF sensor. An easy job for people who’ve done it before, but it took me close to 3 hours to get it done since I had to figure it all out as I went.
The hardest part was removing the MAF sensor. I finally figured it out, however. The actual cleaning of it was super fast. And the air filter was kinda dirty and I don’t think it had been done while I owned it, so it was good to do it and start from scratch.
Nothing like doing mechanical work in the middle of Monument Valley in the summer heat! But, actually, it wasn’t too bad. Once I got up under the rig to work (out of the sun), it was actually nice under there.
Did my little “fix” work?
Well, not totally. On the trip to Moab, it did have one little episode of hesitating on another long climb out of Blanding. But, it was a big improvement. The engine was running and sounding great except for that one little thing. Then it occurred to me that it could be the low octane fuel being sold around here. We started seeing 86 octane gas once we got into Texas. In some places out there, they sell 85 octane! So, my last fill up, I used higher grade fuel and the engine seemed to do much better that way. So, I think the fuel octane was a bigger deal than the sensor cleaning, but it was still good to clean it.
But, we’ll talk more about Moab and Arches National Park in the next post.
Overall, though, we really appreciated the beauty and space of Monument Valley. That said, 2 nights was plenty for us and we were ready to move onto Moab.
To get the full context of this KOA in the middle of Monument Valley, I’ll end off with this drone footage…