Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And Stay Off! (The Rez, that is)

It's a bit of a run across the Rez. Sometimes, when traveling on Interstate 40 I'll sleep a few hours in a rest area. But I learned my lesson about camping on The Rez last Spring (2011)  when I was enroute to The Canyon of the Ancients.

I'm getting olde and my stamina isn't what it once was. I try and limit my driving to around twelve and half (12.5) miles (20.11 km) a day. The Navajo Reservation is around 200 miles wide and almost that tall. At 12.5 miles per day it can take me a while tuh git acrost.

Ute Mountain Utes - Unequivocally

So there I was in the first week of March wending my way through das hinterlands somewhere near Ganado. I'd had a long day at a pow-wow, bobbing my head (think aging hippie with a white-boy's sense of rhythm) to great dance tunes. I pulled off onto what I thought was a dirt road into the wilds. Darkness came early and it was cold. I put up the window covers to help retain the heat.

As the evening progressed, I began to suspect a faux pas; there was WAY too much traffic. Sure enough, just after sunup the Navajo Tribal Police confirmed it -- the dirt road was an entrance to a sub-division. The officer was very polite, but asked me to leave...immediately. He added, "You've upset alot of people."

On my way out I pulled over to let an incoming go by.  The driver, a man about my age (I was 58), stopped, rolled down his window and read me the riot act. "And furthermore," he said, "You're lucky that the young men didn't beat you up. That's what they did to the last person who camped there." So ya'll take heed: incursions, no matter HOW unintentional, are not tolerated.

So you get the picture....they got me under pressure. But it's New Mexico and the manana syndrome rules (I whined piteously). I was slow getting out of Gallup. And when in Gallup one MUST stop at nearby T & R Market  for mutton. It's six miles North on highway 491, but I rationalized that it was on the way. Fact iz, hit's wurth hit enny uhther tyme too. People come from miles aroun' jus' tuh gaze at the mutton display. It's piled in a large, refrigerated case and on a good day the crowd is three deep....all eyeing up each other's adornments and chekin' tuh see who has the latest sneakers. They'll cut to order too.

Safe Haven Outside Bluff, Utah

It's a beautiful drive up highway 666, especially at sunset. One HAS to stop every mile or so to take pictures. But the Southern Ute Indians' reservation parallels the Utah border so yuh gotta press on a ways before you can camp.

I guess word's gotten around about us boondockers though 'cuz there are signs everywhere. But thanks to Diana at Cadiallac Ranch R.V. Park I had a safe haven ahead. As mentioned above (first paragraph of this post), I came exploring in March and having read about Cadillac Ranch R.V Park online I stopped in to see how much they charge for a shower. It was then that Diana clued me to a great spot. I arrived at the gate at 10:00 p.m. Four and a half hours of driving takes it out of me.

The next morning I hiked up a canyon and found a "hole in the wall," a small passage through the rim rock into the next level. I could see into it but the brush was too thick to get through. Besides, it was getting hot. I spent the rest of the day under the tarp reading. It must have been in the nineties. I'd hoped to get up here before this happened (it got hot), but you know how life gets in the way? 


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