Burning Gas-A GPS Gift

English: Another Shot of Kayenta, AZ.

English: Another Shot of Kayenta, AZ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, at the end of April, I built up enough courage to drive from the Valley of the Sun northward toward  snow and cold. Only I made damned sure there would be no snow and that it would be cool, not cold. The plan took us through the north-east corner of Arizona. There are not many roads in this sector. If you don’t believe me search Google maps for Tuba City, Arizona. Our goal was to visit Arches National Park in Utah. Going home by way of Arches has been on my bucket list since 2004 when I first ventured to Arizona for a long respite in the desert. My reasoning was simple, visiting Arches adds only a few miles more than going directly home. The venture adds another day. In years past, the weather forecast always showed rain and forty degrees. Forty degrees and rain don’t agree with me, so I opted for the fast way home. This time, however, the forecast was seventy degrees and sunny, I went for it.

The atlas is correct, there are very few roads in that sector of Arizona. There are miles and miles of Navaho Indian reservations with some very good two lane highways crossing them. The scenery is very like the Painted Desert, flat open vistas streaked with orange,  rusty red, pink, soft pale green, brown, and all shades between. Although the views could be considered boring, I drove slow ( 65 mph) because I enjoyed soaking up those color striations.

Toward mid-afternoon we stopped in the small town of Kayenta, Arizona. The atlas shows Kayenta in bold black letters indicating that it is a large town, but believe me it is a small place, blink as you pass through and you miss it. We gassed up and enjoyed a pit stop at the Golden Arches. The GPS led us out-of-town and onto U.S. Highway 163. All along, I thought we would take a faster route and turn northward on 191. It didn’t matter, highway 163 was a sound road.

A few miles north we began to see huge monoliths protruding from Mother Earth. I’ve seen these views before, but where? The stately rock formations increased in number as we continued. “Oh my God, we are in Monument Valley,” I said to Peg. I’ve seen pictures of this place many times. I took photos from the car window and stopped at several places to get better views.

Monument Valley Near Kayenta, Arizona

Monument Valley Near Kayenta, Arizona

Further along the road we came upon a Navaho strip mall. In years past, the Indians sold jewelry and pottery along the roadsides at crudely made wooden stands, but these were all vacant. It seems that too many tourists had car crashes pulling on the highway from these primitive sales areas. To eliminate fatalities, the tribal council built a modern strip mall with a very safe entrance to a large parking area to replace the ancient stalls. I bought a dozen souvenir necklaces from Monica and a decorator pot for the house from Charlene. Both of the women were Navaho, and both had hard to pronounce indian names, so they went by their American names.

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View from an old Navaho Road Side Stand

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Navaho Necklaces, Hand Made By Monica

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Monica the jewelry craftsman with Peggy

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Dream Catchers

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Bracelets

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Charlene wraps our pottery buy in bubble wrap.

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Charlene swipes my credit card on a hand-held wireless device thus integrating the ancient art symbology of the pot with modern technology. Her two kids watch TV as she sells her native wares.

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The views of Monument Valley were breathtaking for the rest of the day. Notice the bug splat on the upper right side monument.

Monument Valley was the highlight of this day. The scenery is breathtaking and got me to pondering about how many years it takes to erode a mountain into these rock formations. I learned the answer to that question later at Arches National Park. Had it not been for the GPS, I would have missed seeing this fantastic area of our country.

Death is Like the Flying of a Great Plane

I rarely post other people’s work, but today I had the pleasure of doing a reading at my buddy’s funeral.

The piece is absolutely mind-boggling in that it is simple, yet loaded with meaning. I had to read it several times before I understood it fully. Time takes a toll on an aged mind.

Death is like the flying of a great plane.

by Anon Ymous

As the plane prepared to depart,

friends and loved ones call out

tearful goodbyes, waving

and throwing kisses.

And, at the exact moment

they are saying, “Look there he goes!”

another group of family and

loved ones takes up the glad shout.

“Look here he comes!”

As he lands into a new city –

the city of God – that is more beautiful

than can be imagined.

He knows immediately

that he is truly home.

The 2011 Monet Vision. Is This Heaven?

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