The next day
We wake up, pack up. Goodbye Utah hide out. These two nefarious drifters will miss you.
My plan is going off without a hitch. On my normal trips I would have a knot in my stomach by now and nothing but Missouri and Illinois to look forward to but as we are headed into the great glorious unknown. My state of excited play continues to be on 11. I did my loose mileage cipherin’ and naught carryin’ before we left and reckoned that today was a movin’ day.
Look mom no hygiene.
We had run through and soiled all our store bought cloths so if we were going to be encountering humans we had better practice some hygiene. So we loaded up, strapped on all our provisions and headed into town.
We hung out down town and did laundry in the laundry mat it was a nice mellow morning nobody in the laundry spoke English mainly a German couple and some Mexican based lady folding a big pile of napkins. Nice enough people.
I didn’t realize how funky I had become until I took a little bird bath with paper towel in the laundries bathroom and put on a clean set of socks and drawers. God they felt good.
I told Drifter, the worse a situation gets on the road the better it feels when it stops. I am afraid that this discomfort/relief cycle is missing in today’s children’s lives. The phrase “it’s all good “ cropped up recently and it bothered me. I think my main problem with that state of mind is that it robs the kids of the chance to grow through conquering adversity. It’s not all good, and in order to be great you have to understand how bad it can be. Having said that I have run Drifter through the paces and I haven’t heard one complaint yet, this boy is made of good stuff.
Anyway, cleaned up, packed up and rollin. For the first time we are going South in a serious fashion. We head down the highway and get sucked in to a tourist trap. It’s ok as we haven’t really gotten any souvenirs for the loved ones.
This joint was low maintenance
As with any tourist trap they are proud of their fiberglass animals
This place upped the ante and had a scrap iron bull
And a jeep with scrap iron tires
There aren’t too many roads out here so if you are curious get out a map.
We blow by signs to the canyonlands national park and I realize that the little planning I did as far as returning from San Diego was a mistake as the entire rest of the trip should have been investigating this area. I rationalize that they are just red rocks and canyons and we have seen plenty of the former and are headed toward the mack daddy of the latter, so I manage to justify my decision.
The scenery on the main highway is nothing to sneeze at.
You can’t throw a dead cat around here without hitting a scenic erosion.
We move on South into another high plateau
Somewhere up here I notice Shiprock N.M. to the southeast, which is pretty amazing since it is I don’t know how far away. Maybe as far as a hundred miles. If one of you local GPS heads wouldn’t mind running up that road apiece and tell me how far you can get away from Shiprock and still see it. I may have been as far north as Monticello.
We keep cruising down a long stretch and my mind starts to wander. How did my drifting get started? I remember as a preteen scouring local maps for cool looking adventures and then executing the trip on my ten speed “English Racer” with a couple of buddies. My passion for travel immediately rekindled the drifting gene in my dad and we spent many days on bicycles seeing what is over there. He carries on to this day. The first thing he did upon retirement was ride his bicycle from Seattle to Detroit. I’m calling that Titanium Butt Association. A lot of these Iron Butt Assoc. boys are keen on a thousand mile day on a Goldwing but that is breakfast at tiffany’s compared to a hundred mile North Dakota August day with a headwind on a bicycle.
Anyway I like to share this time with my children the same way my father shared his with me. The lessons I learned on those trips, guided me through some turbulent times and are ones I carry with me today. Thanks Pops.
That was a time when people did not live in mortal fear of their neighbors. Around that time the Motorcity (Murdercity) was still smouldering from the race riots, the Oakland County child killer was on the loose, John Norman Collins was stacking coeds up like fire wood in Ann Arbor, we even had a local serial killer killing lovers parked on back roads. These were all real threats but a practical precaution was to go with a buddy. The risk to life and limb has remained constant but the fear has exploded at an exponential rate. Who is profiting from our fear?
The rest of the day is uneventful just some casual very hot traveling. We met a nice guy on a GS in Blanding he was a busy boy, 2 jobs, he was cruising from Rapid City to Flagstaff for a stress reliever. The type of people on GS’s also seem to be the types that work so much they don’t get to use them. A little advice from the Vermin, work less, buy a 1985 Honda Nighthawk, bungee on some Samsonite, and spend the remaining money on campsites in Belize.
Mexican Hat Rock
The rest of the day is unremarkable. We hole up in the Tuba City Taco Bell to cool off from the heat of the day. It is near 110deg not lethal but when you are from the arctic circle you have to make adjustments. This is pretty much an 100% impoverished Native town, Hopi, Navaho? One really pretty woman in professional attire came in with her twelve year old daughter. The little girl had a Pantera shirt on, I guess Dimebag Daryls appeal was universal he didn’t deserve to die that way.
The little girls subdivision
I have a fair amount of anxiety about my childrens chances in this evolving world I can’t imagine the early despair that must come in when you are raised in Gods cat litter box with few prospects. These are exactly the images I want burned in my boys mind.
We dodge thunderstorms across the desolate land and end up at the Grand Canyon at dusk.
It was surreal at the east entrance lookout almost no one spoke English they were all Europeans, Asians and South Americans on vacation very few from the U.S.A.. I guess the one benefit of having your currency loose value is it makes it affordable for people from other countries to vacation here even though you can’t.
Scenic horned varmints
We pull into the campground and set up the tent.