Sunday, September 07, 2014

Ride on a Rain Cloud

Cruising down the mountain to Chinle
Saturday was more like In-A-Funk Day.  After my Tucson trip, I had a ton of work at the office - and the eight hour drive back Monday evening was long and I was very tired.  Saturday I actually finished unpacking all the shit I brought down to Tucson - mostly tools and house-cleaning supplies.  I had tons of laundry to do, as I worked outside in the yard, had to dig a few holes for trees I planted.  I suppose I was just exhausted.

But as you can see, I'm flying down Hwy 64, the road that runs along the Park Boundary, and quickly will be rolling into the Park HQ at Canyon de Chelly.

Listening to "Sunday Morning Baroque" on the Public Radio out of Ignacio, CO
As it was only 45 degrees (actually felt colder) I waited for the Sun to come up and warm the air before I took off.  I made some coffee and got ready for my 50 mile ride down to the Visitor Center and back.

Really just a beautiful September morning.  Not hot and not cold - just right.

Pony on the road
There was no traffic at all, Gentle Readers of This Blog.  Only a few ponies, but not near the road which is where I like them!

I always see this Lizard every time I stop for water.
As I was coming down about 40 MPH the last few miles into Chinle and the Visitor Center, a cowboy in a truck came up behind me, but he slowed so I could take the whole lane.  That meant I could really stomp the pedals, and I flew into the Visitor Center like an arrow!

While I was riding down, I could smell hardy Navajo breakfast cooking on the fires in the houses and Hogans - I was getting super hungry!  I made a quick turn and went down to the Sacred Canyon Lodge to get breakfast at the Thunderbird.

But you know, I didn't pack my Debit Card - I only had a few bucks.  Really messed that up!  I just had a Cliff Bar and sat under the big Cottonwood Trees by the Trading Post.

The Navajo women working at the Cafeteria let me come in and fill my water bottles with ice!  I told them I had forgot my money, but I'd stop in next time!

Usually there's some traffic on the road right by the Park HQ and Visitor Center, and I usually don't ride down to the Thunderbird - but I did stop to take two quick photos for you.  The HQ you don't see because there's a sharp turn and it's tricky when you stop.  I know how the T in the road is but it always bewilders tourists.

I zoom over the bridge here on Chinle Creek as I'm coming down the last few miles into the Park.  Navajo friends told me they have seen water from the Canyon take out the bridge before!  It happens every so many years they say!

Hard to imagine the Chinle Creek raging with water from the Chuska Mountains up where I live, crashing through here and wiping out the bridge - that I'm riding over right now!

The Climb back up to 7200!

 I'm actually feeling pretty good - climbing and making quick work of the first five miles back up to Tsaile and The College.

Tsaile Peak appears about 20 mile North as I climb Hwy 64

Leaving Chinle's hot and dry sandy rocks, and now feeling the cool green of the Defiance Plateau, I'm done with the hard part, Gentle Readers.  Rain is forecast for today, and I feel a cool and strong tailwind, a tailwind that will help me up the road as I ride on the Boundary of the Park.

The Rain is Coming
As I was coming up the road, probably about five miles out from my descent down to The College, there was glass and chunks of plastic on the shoulder, and you could see up ahead where someone had gone off the road into the mud of the ditch.  Then the smell hit me - there was a dead pony.  It had been hit by the car.  A horrible smell - man o man!  I recognized the pony as well.  I hate to say it, but I think it was Star's mother.

I had seen just for a second, a small herd in the trees as I came down.  I looked for them coming up the road by never saw them.  Just the dead pony as I said.  I was sad.  But I sure hope the people in the car are okay.  I saw my friend Foster this week, and he's finally doing better after breaking his ankle when he hit a pony earlier this Summer.

I was starved!  I made some more coffee and fixed up a Randonneur's Breakfast for myself.  I am going to Haskell in few weeks to the new President's inauguration - I'll see Little Egypt and Rico, who is back from Germanland.

Cheers!  Bruce 

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