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1000 Canyons

(grand) We've been to that many canyons



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It is still the 30th. The day before Halloween. We're in Navajo country. Earlier in the trip I'd heard some racist comments and seen some racist bumper stickers against Native Americans. I was like, "Huh? Everyone is in love with the Native American culture. It's just like everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patty's". One bumper sticker said, "I'm a cowboy and I still hate Indians." Now, I know how they feel. There are definitely some issues here.

We rode through Navajo Nation and it looked pretty cool. They aren't as modern and westernized as I expected. They don't give in to much tourism and fake crap. The neclaces are now made with machined crap beads, but they still present it with authenticity.

At first look you might think they are poor, but I would say "simple" is the word that better describes them. They live in trailers, but it reminds me of the mobile teepees. They still live on wide open beautiful land in the middle of nowhere. I thought it was cool. What do you think of their lands?


However, when we met Indians, four out of five would stare and be totally unfriendly to outsiders. The fifth person, who always was a guy would be unbelievable friendly and jolly. It was weird.

We all need to remember what I remind myself about racism against black people in this country: We are not that far from our past. We are still connected to it today. There are people living today whose grandfathers were slaves. That...just blows my mind. Some people are raised by their grandparents. That is a really close connection.

The same is true with Indians. We took their grandfather's lands and there is still plenty of racism left over. Think on that you crazy white people (Ciani doesn't read our blog).

Whoa! We need gas. This is at least the tenth time we've almost run out of gas. There is a whole lot of nothing out here and gas stations are like Oasis' floating up out of the watery reflection in the asphalt. Not this one. This was a res. gas station; full of res dogs (literally full). There were about 20 somewhat mangy dogs running around this gas station. Some had humongous swollen teets for their little ones and that looked really weird coming from our pet owner society. Aaaand there was the one big jolly Indian who said hi and asked me about the trip amid the stares of everyone else.

These dogs kept annoying us while I was doing a little fix on the bike and our stuff. Vanessa was getting scared and I started to try and shoo the dogs away. Didn't work. One dog, with wide intense blue eyes kept coming close. Its face showed a combination of fear and loathing (and instead of Las Vegas it had some desperation). I keep shooing it away and it is really jumpy. Vanessa sees the dog messing with our stuff and finds a hole in one of the hanging plastic bags. We fly out of there like a bat out of hell (Swooping and screaming and getting tangled in people's hair).

In Cameron we stop at the nice motel, shop, art gallery. It looks touristy, but in the back there are gardens and sacred looking Indian statues and pottery. We go into the art gallery and an old American Indian, who is amazingly sweet, walks us around the whole four room gallery and gives us a tour and talks about his life and ours. He was amazing and softspoken long hair, a weathered sharp face, and a twinkle in his eye. He definitely looked like the real deal and just what you'd picture an old American Indian to be.

We ride in the cold nothingness and stop at the one other thing in Cameron. A Laundromat. It has Camping in the back so we think about some free camping, but Vanessa is nervous because of the Indians' attitudes.

We launder in the warmth and start to eat and blog when we realize that the damn dog ate our half loaf of bread. It must have been coming back for more. Jesus.

A super nice guy who I think is Indian and V thinks is white starts talking to us. He's the manager and he gets us some wheat bread and says, "Anyone who's crazy enough to ride in this weather and camp can camp for free."

We talk for an hour and we pass out in the camp:


A cop wakes us, but thank god it's not for us. Someone broke into the store that morning around four.

Time to go to the Grand Canyon!


We get to the first view called Desert view


and we hang for a couple hours going around the tower and looking at the Hopi art painted throughout.


The stuff looks lame at first glance, but it is all meticulous sand art done very traditionally and the straight lines and perfect curves are masterful when you think about it. American Indians were definitely about perfect simplicity.

I jump over a wall next to the tower and climb down into the canyon some.


I cut my hair with my knife and scatter it into the canyon. The climb up is tough because it is all loose rock and dirt.

I go on a lookout on the roof of the shop next to the tower and I see V down at another lookout, "Hey V!"

I do Tai Chi on a platform on the roof.


Vanessa carves a crystal rock that I found deep in the Grand canyon (100 yards down).


We are separate and fighting. It is a lonely time for both of us and V hates the view because she finds out she is nearsighted and can't see more than a couple miles. Everything else is a blur. I'm devastated. I can't imagine, but it certainly took away from the granduer for me. I sat and ate by myself.

We decide to ride along the canyon to the south entrance to get to Flagstaff (45 minutes farther that way) rather than going back to Cameron.

We see a forest still smoldering from a fire:


and more pretty views.


At one view point I imediately run right past the fenced platform where everyone stood and took pictures. I climbed down rocks and across jutting precipice' to get my views. They aren't really so much as views, but more of experiences. More like a feeling or connection to the Grand Canyon. DSCN4934.jpgDSCN4937.jpgDSCN4939.jpgDSCN4942.jpgDSCN4945.jpg

I climb to one last Jutting rock with a huge drop all around it. The gap is far. I can't remember how far, but it was a big jump. I prepared and centered myself, focused on the landing place. I rocked back and forth and catapulted across. My heart pounded and my whole body smiled as I stood in my horse stance where no one goes. Here's the gap, but it is hard to see:

We ride through the rest of the south rim and I'm amazed how unscenic it is.


The road winds through forest a couple hundred yards from the canyon and, like a tease, would every once in a while pop out for a pretty good view. We fly out of the south entrance and down the mountain of pine forests. It is getting cold and late.


V takes pics of the nearly full moon on Hallow's eve the 31st as we ride down the mountain and into Flagstaff.


God! Take forever! This was definitely the long way, and the cold mountain way. It was beginning to freeze. I thought the South entrance and flagstaff would be in the desert. This has been a rough day, soon to turn into a similar night.

Posted by - Rain 09:30

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Wow...Van I wish there was a way to temporarily send you Laurr's glasses...I remember seeing the canyon when I was a kid and loving it...but I know there are a lot of other pretty things...and I bet all that Hopi art was awesome...

...Joe I know that feeling of knowing you've been somewhere no one else has ever been...I'm sure the experience is quadrupled when it's the grand canyon and you jumped over a cravat to get there...it looked amazing...

by CoreyAnn

That sucks about not seeing all the way down the canyon. I still need to get better glasses. I had trouble reading the letters to get my new licence (man was that embarrassing). Its sad that racism is still going strong. The jump from high school/college to work seemed like a night and day in that regard. At least thats a sign that racism is slowly getting phased out. At least in the more progressive areas :-)

by buddy-JC

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