1511 Kayenta

Trip Start Jan 06, 2007
Trip End Jan 11, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Monday, January 8, 2007

Upon leaving Pagosa Springs, we had wanted to make it all the way to just outside the Grand Canyon, but unfortunately I was getting tired and Randy was as well. Our goal was Tuba City, but we had to settle for Kayenta, which was the first city in Arizona that looked habitable. Leaving Pagosa Springs was a bit curious because it seemed like we were in an eternal descent that would never end. Then we Hwy 666 joined Hwy 160, so things were getting even more awkward. We had briefly contemplated stopping at the four corners since we were passing by on that highway, but unfortunately it was closed. And it looked small, and very poorly lit. It added to the horror scene that was beginning to develop. The shrubs on the side of the road made scary images when you're on very little sleep. And Randy began to think of The Hills Have Eyes and Jeepers Creepers, both of which are not settling to think about during the late night hours.

But Arizona was a bit interesting. We liked their naming scheme. Whereas Colorado definitely went for a Spanish-name schema, Arizona liked to name things just as they saw them. The first "town" we happened upon was named Mexican Water. Needless to say, we did not stop for food there. We didn't have enough Immodium for the both of us. So when we happened upon Kayenta, we saw a lot of lights, so we knew to stop there. We just kinda stopped at the first place and I was in no state to bargain, so Randy went in. But his bar was pretty low, so we just took the first place. Probably the best option in Kayenta anway. Because when we woke up, we found out that all the lights in Kayenta came from UFOs or something else, because the town was sparse.

When we woke up in Kayenta, we knew we were heading off to the Grand Canyon. We got a later start than we desired, but only thirty minutes behind. I had wanted to pick up some athletic shoes before going off to the Canyon because I didn't want to wreck my European street shoes. So when we inquired at the front desk if there was a Wal-Mart or a sporting goods store nearby, they directed us to the Arts and Crafts store across the street. They told us they might have shoes, but they warned us that they didn't know if they were open yet or not. Lately they had been opening up later because of the cold weather, they said. But oh, if you want a Wal-Mart or Target, you have to go 100 miles in the other direction or stop in Flagstaff. It appears that in Navajo Nation, people are fairly self-sufficient and don't need the megastores that we're so accustomed to. Then again, the area we were in was geared toward tourism, so I'm sure they don't want to compete with the discount megastores.

We ended up passing by a few other "towns" with quaint names like Cow Springs. These towns seemed to be more like random groupings of mobile homes. They just started up out of nowhere with no rhyme or reason. It's interesting to see how cities developed in the west. Much different than what we're used to in the Midwest.

Eventually we came up to Tuba City, and there was no fanfare or band waiting for us at the city entry. We were a bit disappointed with their chamber of commerce. Nonetheless, at the next "city" - named Tonolea - we got to see the inner working of how town government worked. We saw the big convenience store at the gas station. There were groceries, a small restaurant that served imitation McGriddles, there was a waiting bench for those waiting for rides and there was a sign for the town Planning Committee for Thursday at 7:30 pm. It was interesting to pass through Navajo Nation. It was a surprise because I don't think either of us knew we were actually passing through it. I liked it though. Very enlightening.

The ride over the Grand Canyon took longer than we desired though because we got stuck behind an oversized load on a two-laner. On the plus side, we did get to see some neat rock formations and some good scenery. However, we started seeing snow on the ground, but later we barely saw any.
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