Where 4 states meet in breathtaking beauty

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RE: Field tested travel tip for 7/31

The Four Corners Monument is the only place in the U.S. where you can stand in four states at once; it's where the borders of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. For geography geeks like us - who spend way too many hours poring over maps - this cartographic quirk is a must-see. As an extra bonus, the scenery you'll pass through while driving there is spectacular; many car ads are filmed in the region.

Although the monument sits in four states, it is firmly within the Navajo Nation. The tribe controls the site at the remote location and charges a minimal admission fee (access for children 6 and younger is free). The monument consists of a pink granite platform with a round brass plaque that designates the actual spot where the states meet. It's a popular site for photos in which feet are the featured subjects.

GPS technology has created some recent doubts, indicating the actual spot could be up to 21/2 miles away. Ray Russell of the Navajo Nation said, "In 1868, GPS technology was not available to surveyors. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the current point is the legal location of the Four Corners."

The local Bureaus of Land Management agree. Thus, you can be confident when standing on the brass plaque that you are indeed at the four corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, at least as agreed to by the powers that be.

The Four Corners Monument provides a good reason to take a memorable road trip through some of the most awe-inspiring scenery America has to offer. It's only 230 miles east of Grand Canyon National park, a distance that's a mere hop over the endless horizon to Westerners. Nearby Monument Valley (at a relatively close 100 miles away) makes a good overnight stopping point. The epic landscape of ochre-tinted buttes and mesas has been featured in hundreds of old films, many of them starring John Wayne riding to the rescue, along with more recent fare, including Forrest Gump, Thelma & Louise, and even the latest version of The Lone Ranger.

Visitor information:

http://www.navajonationparks.org/htm/fourcorners.htm

Larissa and Michael Milne have been full-time global nomads since 2011. Follow their journey at www.ChangesInLongitude.com.