Monday, October 06, 2014

Banana Cream

Cold weather and rain have swept through this part of the Reservation - I finally got out on the bike and put in some miles!  Now it's October and I can feel the change on the way.  Some of the ponies are looking healthy, like these guys up there - who watched me intently from the safety of the cliffs - others look thin.  I hope they can survive Winter!  Usually the wild ponies hide, but lately when they see me they want to get a closer look.  I envy their freedom, but they have a hard life - mostly people that own them can't afford to take care of them, so they release 'em into the Monument.  I've been told that they quickly multiply - let's say you have three and they go wild - in a short time there will be like ten or fifteen.

As I speed down the mountains from Tsaile, I can see Chile sprawled down below.

Just a few miles from the Canyon de Chelly Visitor Center HQ, I fly past Star and the group he's with.  I called out and so they started to slink away - I don't think they liked being spotted.  I turned around to try and get a picture of Star - he's the colt walking a few paces behind the white horse, and his mother is close behind.  She was not killed after all as I had thought.  She's the Roan with a white flank. Anyway, it was good to see Star.  This group looks in pretty good health.

This afternoon, I went down to the Thunderbird for lunch.  I sped past the mighty old Cottonwoods by the Trading Post, and then tucked my bike just inside the restaurant.  Really the Thunderbird Cafeteria isn't all that great, on the expensive side, and a tourist trap - but it's run by the Navajo Nation and well, why not?  The Banana Cream Pie looked good - I was hungry too.  And there was just enough chill in the air to make a cup of coffee go well with the pie.

As I sat down to dig in, a few bus loads of German tourists came in and the place was packed.  I got there just in time.

avec toothpick apres lunch
I rode up to the first pull-out just to get in an extra bit of climbing.  It was warmer and I know that being able to ride on warm days will more infrequent .  I was feeling petty good too.  Just nice to be out on the bike - the tourists are about gone so the road is quite - and the views of the Canyon incredible.

As you ride up, the canyon is much deeper.  Most of the local Navajo are hauling wood back and forth, getting ready for winter.  The corn has been harvested and the ponies seem to be getting that winter fuzz on their coat.

Heading back my friend the Tailwind shifted, and I had a tough crosswind this time.  Early October and there was a hint of chill in the air.  I needed my thin pair of arm warmers, and my longer knickers - so I was comfortable.  But I must tell you, Gentle Readers of This Blog - I started getting a bit tired as I climbed home back up to The College.

The pony on the side of the road is now just bones.  It was not Star's mom like I had thought.

The ride is almost done - this is Benally Hill going home.  Once I make this last climb, I get to sail back to The College - this is when and where I hit 40 MPH for the descent!  I am happy to report that I looked at my stats (from my Garmin and from Stava) and I had the best time on the segment going up.  That kind of surprised me as I felt kinda slow mes amis - but I'll take it!

If you look down at my handle bars, you'll see the "Blinder" I bought when I was back in Lawrence for a short trip mid-September.  After Cal was killed by a driver trying to pass a pickup truck, a lot of the local riders were thinking seriously about getting hit by passing cars on a two-lane hwy.  Some of my friends were there to pick up this little light that they had special ordered.  I bought one as well.  It's called a "Blinder" and it is BRIGHT -

But what I have to tell you is that fucking twice - TWICE on my ride back up from Canyon de Chelly, drivers passed and came right at me head-on - just fuckin speeding like bats outta hell!  Just reckless and high-speed driving.  I guess they just don't see me or don't care?  Unlike my friend Cal, I had three feet of shoulder, but it is unnerving to suddenly see a car pull out and pass the other car - especially when they are tailgating and then whip out and speed up to pass.  I didn't even see them, and they sure as hell did not see me.  Again, I don't think they care. The speed limit on Hwy 64, on the Monument Boundary is 55 but 80 to 85 is the norm.

Often what happens is that someone will slow down as they see cows or ponies by the road.  The speeder behind them will speed up and pass, not seeing the animals up ahead, and the plow into the horse or whatever as it's crossing the road.

Little Donkey that must belong to somebody - or did - wanders around and knows how to get around the cattle guards in the housing where I live.  She is very tame and you can pet her.  She likes to be around the little kids that live here and they play with her, and sometimes sit on her back.  She doesn't seem to mind their play and she enjoys watching over them like a Grandma.

Ride Safe!  Thanks for coming by the Blog!

Cheers!  Bruce

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