Day 1: Tuesday: My suitcase that I did not want to check, but had to because of the tiny ass plane, was left in Atlanta as the flight attendant said it would be transferred to my next plane.
After arranging to have my suitcase sent to Durango, Dan and I left Phoenix and took the old highways to Payson, where Fire in the Sky happened. Then we went through Snow Flake and um.... I forgot. Then we went up to Holbrook and I saw the dinosaur on the cover of my book, Roadside America, and it was awesome. There was a family of dinosaurs and dinosaurs eating dinosaurs.
Then we took that dreadful patch of I-40 to US-191 into the Navajo Rez (reservation) and saw what was probably a drunk, sort of ambling and meandering in what is almost to which Dan said, "Come on. Don't be a typical Reservation drunk." A little later we saw a dead dog on the side of the road to which I said, "Come on. Don't be a typical Rez dog."
We arrived at Canyon de Chelley around 7:00 and bought some food. At the Basha's supermarket I felt like a minority for only the third time in my life. It's somewhat disconcerting at first. Such is white privilege. There were many mutts roaming the parking lot.
I wanted some hot food that wasn't fast food, but it seems there are no restaurants there, so I had Burger King. Of course it was getting dark and the free campground was closed, so we drove into the growing darkness to what the sign referred to as Spider Rock campsite. On the sides of the roads were loose horses, many adults with babies.
We set up a fire and warmed ourselves. We had no tent so we set up blankets and what not in the back of Dan's Saturn View. We didn't have much firewood, so we bought some from the campsite owner, Harold. Then we made a nice fire and toasted some of the giant ass marshmallows we'd bought.
We went to sleep and some time later I awoke with the sweatiest of balls.
I have no idea what time it was, but it was dark and windy as fuck when I could no longer sleep through the diahrea pangs. In the ladies outhouse I had to let it rip while the cold winds ripped into me. It finally ended and I walked back to the car in the slight moonlight and got settled back in after waking Dan. Then the pangs began anew. This time I realized the men's outhouse was just on the other side.
At some point it began to rain. I did not sleep well.
Day 2: I reluctantly awoke a bunch more times and Dan stayed away at around 5:30 and walked some trailed while I attempted more sleep. We finally left the site at around 7:00 am and checked out some scenic overlooks before heading to the Four Corners.
The Four Corners costs $3.00 per person. It's not all that impressive, but since Tyrel and I never made it four years ago, I had to go for that symbolism and the fake four corners symbolism, as apparently the true four corners is elsewhere. I bought some fresh fry bread with honey from a cute old lady. I took two loperamide (anti-spasmodic) after my previous night's horror.
Then we drove on to Durango, about two hours away. Most of this part of southern Colorado is so lush. Since I'd heard nothing regarding my suitcase, we hung in Durango for a while at the Durango Coffee Company so Dan could do some homework or work. Fucking responsibilities.
Once he was done we walked down Main Ave. and found a sweet foot path along the Anima River. It was really beautiful and it sucked that I had no charged batteries because my car adapter was in my AWOL suitcase.
I checked out the fares on the narrow gage railroad, but it's expensive and an all day affair. We ended up eating at this funky taqueria. The tacos were decent.
Durango seems a lot nicer than Flagstaff, with huge green mountains on all sides and an awesome river with rafting trips. Perhaps we'll get a chance to do that on the way back through after the Great Sand Dunes and Gunnison, and perhaps Black Canyon National Park. But Durango is still small, probably gets a shit ton of snow, but might be nice to live in one of the river overlook apartments that probably cost an arm and a leg, and I'd only want to try it for six months. Colorado is so much better than Arizona.
Anyhow, about that time it was pouring ass rain and six, so if my suitcase didn't make it on the noon flight (which it probably did), it would be there in the six o'clock flight. And so it was. By time we arrived at the tiny airport the rain had ceased, but once we'd gotten back on US-160 it began raining like a mothafuck again, off and on.
The speed is normally 65, which is fine, but not when there's a deluge. When twilight began we came upon the impressive and snow-capped Rockies. It's a beautiful sight: clouds passing between mountain peaks, green trees everywhere, a river to the left. At this point it was not raining, so I pulled over and Dan took some photos. I don't know if they can capture the majesty.
Then we realized we'd have to drive into those snowy mountains.
Up we climbed at 30 miles per hour, slowly, slowly, crawling, the temperature dropping until it hit the mid-thirties. We finally crested in the darkness, snow and ice on the ground, water gushing from the mountain tops. Yeah.
The next signs said 8% downgrade and so I decided I needed to piss before committing to the downhill onslaught to the Death Proof soundtrack.
More to come regarding this night soon...