Once again a trip must come to an end. I woke up for the last time, at least until the next trip, in Durango. I heard the plaintive moan of the 486 as she left town, bound for Silverton. I was bound for home, and I was packing my bike. We left early, for us, at 8:40, into cool weather, an overcast sky, and dark gray clouds building to the north.
I put on an Under Armour shirt because I thought I’d be cold as we went up over the summit at Hesperus. I would have been, the temperatures were in the 60s F. We turned south, away from the dark clouds, and left rain behind. We continued toward La Plata, where we had fueled up on the way in. It seemed like a blink of an eye. Didn’t we just get here??
I took off the extra layer at the gas station because I didn’t want to make another stop just because of me. Besides, I looked at the sky, and a rift in the clouds made me think we were going to rapidly descend into “sun hell,” and Farmington. I was afraid I was going to be too warm. Once we leave Colorado, everything changes. The landscape, the road, even the air. It is not a good change. I wanted to go back to Durango, but that was not possible, at least not this morning. To my surprise, the cloud cover held, and it stayed cool. Farmington and then Shiprock looked dirtier than ever under the lowering clouds. Luckily, we turned south on 491. At least we were able to travel quickly. I kept thinking, “Get me out of here!!”
I think the thing that bothers me the most about riding through the reservations is my thought of couldn’t we have done better for these people? We took their country from them and shoved them into reservations on shitty land, forced them to accept a culture (ours) that is not compatible with their lifestyle or heritage, and then act like we are entitled to be superior for some reason. I can’t think what that reason might be. Judging by our behavior, there is no reason. It makes me embarrassed to think about what our ancestors have done to theirs. And yet when I went to Mesa Verde NP yesterday, the native American ancestors are held in high regard, their artifacts lovingly and carefully preserved. What about the descendants of those people, the people that are alive today? Why don’t we hold them in high regard and treat them better? There is a major disconnect there, and I wish it would be made right.
Before we knew it, we were in Gallup, and we rode through a small shower, and left it behind quickly. On the I-40, we watched thunderstorm cells building in the distance and I was reminded of another trip a few years ago when we rode in heavy rain from the Ganado exit to Holbrook . It was a scary ride. I remember counting down the mileage to Holbrook as we held onto the bikes through the blinding rainstorm, and then being relieved when we got there.
Today as we approached our Holbrook exit, a big thunderstorm was building to the east, but like all the others we had seen, we skirted it. We rode through another shower, which was enough to wash away the “Gallup-ness” of the last shower. I didn’t want to return home with dirt from there on my bike.
We rode to Heber for a late lunch at the Red Onion, and then returned to the Valley. A very strange sight greeted us as we dropped into the Valley. Instead of leaving the dark clouds behind and riding into a ring of light, the sky above the Phoenix area was overcast and colored an eerie orange-purple blend. The storm clouds “boofed” up (made-up term!) into tall columns of cumulus, some catching the orange rays of sun. I waited for the rain, but it never came. I rode through dust and wind, and finally made it home without getting wet.
In Fountain Hills:
Another trip is over too soon. The fortunate thing is, though, that I leave for another short trip on Thursday! Woo hoo! Destination unknown as of now, but who cares? Wherever I go it will be great as long as I am on a bike.