Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Flagstaff to Cameron AZ on the Navajo Reservation. June 11

Tuesday, June 11 69 miles in 4:48. It's been over a month since I have done any serious riding, and I knew I was going to be out if shape, and over 7000 ft in elevation. That is not a good combination. Time in Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Pittsburgh, has really slowed the biking part of the trip to a crawl. When I left Flagstaff, I had cool temps and a tailwind. Just what I needed! I also climbed 1500 ft, but my total descent was over 4000 ft, out of the mountains of Flagstaff, and down into the Painted Desert, and the Navajo Reservation. Now THAT's what I needed for my first day back! I got some great pictures of the very sociable prairie dogs that live near the end of town, then stopped in Flagstaff one final time, on the outskirts of town, at the Hatch Rafting office, and met Magnolia, the girl who was so helpful in setting up our trip.

Okay, a few months back I totally abused Mike about his Prairie Dog pictures.  Well!  He has made up for it with this series of pictures!  WELL DONE MIKE!

I swear this guy posed for the picture!

Just thought this was nifty

This is Magnolia, with the Hatch Rafting company.  She is the BEST!  She was so helpful  with setting up our trip.

Magnolia and Mike

Just a man and his bike

After a brief visit, I had my only serious climb of the day, to get out of the little valley where Flagstaff is. The scenery was great, and the tail wind pushed me up the hill, so it was all going pretty well. I was worried because I had heard that US 89, which is my new route, had lots of trucks and little shoulder. There were trucks, but there was also a pretty wide, clean shoulder, so my fear was taken care of. I had a great descent and rolling hills that always had longer downs, than ups, and the desert was beautiful, just like that tail wind, so I rolled into my destination pretty early, before Pam got there. I felt really good for my first day back, but the desert heat was beginning to cook up. I had stopped several times to talk to the natives at roadside jewelry stands, and had plenty to drink, so I decided to go 15 miles past our designated camp site, and get a jump on tomorrow's long, hot ride. Pam agreed to come and pick me up after she had set up, so off I went.
Soon after starting up, it hit me like a ton off bricks. I guess I should have eaten something because I hit a serious wall, out of the blue. At the same time, I had a long, very gradual grade, and the tail wind changed, and was sort of smacking me in the face. I made it to my destination, the intersection of US 160, and US 89, but my butt really got kicked in that last hour. It snuck up on me, even though I should have known it would, but my evening could have been more pleasant. Pam picked me up at a jewelry stand, it was 96 degrees, and I was hurting more than I wanted to. After we had a great meal in the Cameron Trading Post Restaurant, I started to rebound, so I can do it all again tomorrow. It's supposed to by ten degrees hotter, and I'm not going to start in the mountains, like yesterday, but in the desert. Yeehaw!
A few interesting things happened on my ride today that I should mention. When I stopped at my first roadside jewelry stand, I was speaking to a friendly Navajo lady, when John Denver came on the radio and played 'Country Roads'. I explained to her that I was from West Virginia and that was my anthem. We were listening when the Navajo version of the song got mixed in, and I discovered a very unique version of 'Take me home, country roads' was out there. One I may never hear again, but I'm going to try to find it on the Internet. The other noteworthy encounter came when I saw two Navajo kids skateboarding up ahead of me. A junior high aged girl, and a high school aged boy. The boy had his hair dyed a magenta color and he was skateboarding down the shoulder of the road with a high powered, scoped rifle hanging on his back. I don't think there are any laws on the reservation! One of the ladies who I had talked to at the jewelry stand told me that I should not stop on the reservation for anyone, because drugs ( meth, specifically) are a huge problem and you can't trust anyone, and I might not be safe. Then there are the packs of feral dogs that roam the reservation for food that I have to watch out for. Oh boy.

Our campsite is in Cameron, which is in the heart of the Navajo Nation.  We are at the Frontier RV, which is 10 sites behind the gas station!  We did wander over to the Native American jewelry and craft shop where I purchased handmade earrings, a beautiful copper bracelet and a handmade Christmas ornament.  I was told the name of every person who made my purchases!  The ornament has Native designs and was made by John Blackhorse.  How cool is that!?

Crossing the reservation, we saw alot of art work.  This was very interesting, but don't ask us what it represents!

Traveling through the desert, but there is still snow on the mountain!

One of the many jewelry stands that you see along the road.

More artwork

Another stand

This was near our campsite

Traveling up 89

The Little Colorado River - remember the picture of it flowing into the Colorado River?   Not much water up here!

There was an old road running alongside 89, and all the bridges were knocked down like this one.

Stand where I picked up Mike at the end of the day, and I returned him to here the next day.

We had dinner at the Cameron Trading Post and  I had Navajo stew and fry bread.  It's kind of like funnel cake but not as sweet.  But delicious!

This was on display in the restaurant.  I am seeing the most beautiful Navajo rugs, but they cost a fortune!  This one was about $3000!  Small 3X5 rugs go $400-$700!  Needless to say, I'm not buying one for the motor home!

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