Road Trip to Colorado, Day 5

Today was the day we start our journey back home. Stumpy's sister and her family met us at 8:00am for breakfast. We were supposed to g...

Today was the day we start our journey back home. Stumpy's sister and her family met us at 8:00am for breakfast. We were supposed to go to place called "Nero's", located in downtown Cortez, but she said it was closed. We ended up at one of those local places where only the locals go to, and where all the customers know each other.

One of the waitresses told us that she was disappointed that the City of Cortez didn't make an effort to host the Rally. She felt that bikers were mostly good people who were willing to spend lots of money, but that she was the only one who had such an opinion, and that everyone else hated bikers. I got the feeling that all the other customers didn't want us around.

After breakfast we said goodbye to Stumpy's sister, and headed out. Our first stop was the Four Corners National Monument. I wanted to get a photo of myself standing on the Four Corners platform. I ended up buying a t-shirt, while Bob got some t-shirts and other stuff, and Stumpy bought earrings for Tammy, and Lewis didn't buy anything.

The Four Corners National Monument is located within the Najavo Indian Reservation, or what the Najavos refer to as the Navajo Nation. The reservation covers three states, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, and is the largest reservation in the USA. It's larger than many of our states. Stumpy noted that the Navajos today look just like those depicted in old photographs dating back into the 1800s. This is probably because the reservation is so large, that most Navajos never breed with people outside their race. They don't have any casinos, which may be due to their own choice, or not, I don't know.

From here, the plan was to take Highway 160 into Arizona, to Mexican Water and get gas. From there, take Highway 191 south to Ganado, and then take Highway 15 to Flagstaff.

When we got into Mexican Water, Stumpy met a couple of other bikers from Kentucky. They were on their 23rd day of riding all over the country. They had just spent the night at a motel in Kayenta, AZ, where they had spent $100.00 for one night. One of them mentioned the closest thing to sex he's had all month was getting screwed in Kayenta.

We turned down Highway 191 on our way to Chinle. The road is mostly straight, taking a turn only in a few places. It eventually ran past the town of Rock Point, a place where towering columns of rock shoot out from the ground and reach up to the sky. Past Point of Rocks, the scenery looked something like Monument Valley, Utah.

About halfway down highway 191, we rolled into the City of Chinle, which appeared to be the largest city in the entire Navajo Indian Reservation. Next to the city was Canyon de Chelly National Monument, a deep canyon where indians once lived. We went in, and found that it didn't require any fees to enter. Canyon de Chelly offered two roads, the north rim, and the south rim. We took the south rim. The road provides some breathtaking views of the canyon. The canyon itself was about as spectacular as the Grand Canyon. You could see some old cliff dwellings, and evidence that people were still living in the canyon.

At the Canyon de Chelly visitor center, we met an indian man who's claim to fame was that the famous photographer, Ansel Adams, had photographed his mother back in the 1940's. Adams apparently visited Canyon de Chelly back then and took several photographs, many of which were reproduced on posters and published in books. He apparently had taken a photo of his mother holding a baby. The indian man said that his mother, now 97 years old, was looking at one of Adams' photography books, and saw that photo of her. She told her son that was a photo of her holding one of his older brothers. That is now the story he tells.

Also at the visitor center, Stumpy saw a Honda 1100 Sabre, Touring Edition. He couldn't believe his eyes, because so few of the Touring Editions were made, let alone still existing. When we rode around the park, and stopped at one of the viewing areas, he saw the same motorcycle again. This time, he managed to meet its owners, a couple travelling from Sacramento to Mexico. He probably spent a good 20 minutes talking to them, and asked if he could hear the pipes. The bike had a set of Vance & Hines duallies that made a deep rumbling sound. Stumpy cracked the throttle a bit and was pretty impressed.

We left Canyon de Chelly, got gas in Chinle, and continued down highway 191. The road from here offered views of mostly open plain. It looked like we were in the middle of the plain, with hundreds of miles of open range all around us. The skies were partially cloudly, and in some of the clouds you could streaks of rain falling in the distance.

Rolling into Ganado, we got gas and rested a short bit. We were about to leave, when the couple riding the Honda 1100 Sabre Touring Edition pulled up into the same gas station. They were going to keep going south, and we were going to take a left turn into the town of Ganado to visit the Hubbell Trading Post.

The Hubbell Trading Post was a place where Navajo indians used to bring their handiwork and trade them for American made goods. It was built by a guy named John Lorenzo Hubbell, who suprisingly looked just like Stumpy, but with a more weathered face. The trading post is still a store selling western products, though I don't think they accept any other form of trade other than currency. Bob bought some tomatillo salsa, and explained to Stumpy how good it was on enchiladas. Stumpy bought some too.

We got back on the bikes, and headed west to highway 15. Highway 15 is a two lane road, running from Ganado to Leupp, and is administered by the Najavo Nation. On MapQuest, it is shown, but not marked with any number. In fact, none of the roads administered by the Navajo Nation are identified on MapQuest. The Rand McNally US Atlas that I keep in my saddlebags doesn't depict any of their highways. The first 30 miles of highway 15 is pock-marked with holes and cracks and made for some rough riding. The next 40 miles appears to have been recently repaved and is smooth. Then, it goes back to rough riding for another 20 miles, until you leave the indian reservation. Highway 15 has very few curves. There are stretches where you drive for 10 or 20 miles of straight road, and very little traffic. The scenery is mostly grassy plain, with a few hills here and there.

We rolled into Leupp, and got gas at the only gas station. The station had four pumps, but only one worked. Plus, there were other cars ahead of us in line, and so it took awhile for all of us to get back on our way.

The town of Leupp is on the western-edge of the Navajo Nation. Leaving town we returned to the world of the whiteman. We were only about 20 miles out of Flagstaff.

We got our motel around 5:30pm, and Stumpy dropped his bike taking too sharp of a turn in the parking lot. He pretty much stopped rolling by then, and didn't really hurt anything. For dinner, we walked across the street to a Fazoli's, for some cheap italian grub.


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