Gary Fillmore Sandstone formation Lucachukai Mountains

Where the Streets Have No Name Part 2

In my May 24, 2015 entry, I described the trials and tribulations of my search for the famed “Northeast Passage” -otherwise known as a shortcut from Phoenix to Farmington for business purposes.

As noted in the entry, after two failed attempts I finally succeeded on my third try.  However, as one can see from the photos in the May 2015 entry, the weather conditions were less than ideal.

Not so on my recent trip. The videos and pictures shown below offer proof.

Junction Overlook

I departed from the Thunderbird Lodge on a beautiful late summer’s day at about 10:30 AM. My first stop was at the Junction Overlook where Canyon del Muerto and Canyon De Chelly merge.

In the parking lot I encountered a local who claimed to have been an employee of the  Monument for over twenty years. He was friendly enough, but proceeded to give me an unsolicited history lesson about Kit Carson’s campaign (all of which I knew anyway), bent my ear for over ten minutes about how much better it was for employees when the Federal Government was running things instead of the Navajo Nation (according to him the U.S. Government threw much better Christmas parties), then gave me a dirty look and walked off when I declined to buy his artwork which was nothing more than hokey looking kokopellis in white paint on a sandstone slab that made the tourist art sold in Gallup look like top grade stuff.

(For those of you who don’t know Kokopellis are an Anasazi, aka Ancestral Pueblo, figure. Now maybe if he had painted a Yei dancer on sandstone…nah…I don’t think so. It really was that bad.)

Almost three full years after my brain surgery I still have not regained full movement on the right side of my body. Therefore I was very cautious as I made my way down the trail to the overlook. I stopped when the trail turned from dirt to slick rock. I figured if took a hard spill and started screaming for help the only one who could come to my assistance was my artist friend I had ticked off in the parking lot. Not good.

After calculating the risks (which included the Kokopelli painter giving me a good hard kick that would send me tumbling over the edge) I stopped and shot the video from about fifty yards above the overlook.

As you can see from the clip above even this viewpoint is impressive.


After skirting the north rim and making a left in Tsaile my next stop was at the mini mart at the southeast corner of BIA Route 12 and BIA Service Road 13.  There I shot the video above. (No complaints please. The dog barking in the background is NOT mine.)

Gary Fillmore Sandstone formation Lucachukai Mountains
Starting the climb…
Gary Fillmore Chuska Mountains
Lucachukai pass through the far northern part of the Chuska Mountains.
Gary Fillmore Shiprock
And finally…Shiprock!

Here’s one of the many things I was not able to realize on my first trip. The total driving time  from the Thunderbird Lodge to the location where I shot the photo above: 2 hours and 45 minutes.

That’s all!   Red rock canyon to alpine environment to high desert plateau in less than three hours.

I can’t think of anywhere else in America where that can be done.

Needless to say it was well worth the time. I recommend it highly.


For more photos and videos check out my Instagram page Gary Fillmore-Looking4Jimmy.


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