“The book American Gods wishes it was.” --Despina Durand

Thursday, October 15, 2020

PANDEMIC VACATION: PART THREE

 

Next stop Bluff. Mike, who travels all over the country selling his wooden drum boxes at craft fairs, told us that the route Emily has planned was kind of boring, and suggested a more scenic path. We went for it. 


Along the U.S. 64, we passed some of Earthship Biotecture’s fanciful/futuristic houses--another place that would be great for low-budget sci-fi filmmaking. Next time, we’ll take time to stop and do some photos. According to their website they do nightly rentals. Hmm . . .



Later, we passed a house that had a dummy, all in white, hanging from a noose on its gate. We kept moving.


Chama triggered some of Margaret’s memories. She talked about a car accident she was in there back in the Fifties. 


When we got onto the 84, there was a sign: CARNIVORES CUSTOM MEAT PROCESSING.


And then, Colorado. Mike was right. It was pretty scenic.



Emily pulled over at Pagosa Springs (WORLD’S DEEPEST HOT SPRINGS --ESTABLISHED 1891), because she wanted to fill our tank, but Mike warned that cheaper gas could be found further on. The water in the river was clear, so he stopped to do some fishing. 


Past Durango, there was a TRUMP/PENCE sign; the lower half was a stenciled message about bulls and cows for sale.


In Cortez, there was a Colorado zen road sign: CAUTION VARIOUS STREETS.



Finally we reached Utah, where oil pumps sucked on the surrealistic landscape.


Emily slowed down to let a scraggly-looking horse cross the road. There were others. Was this a wild herd?


In Bluff, we were the only guests at the Kokopelli Inn. The town seemed dead.



The Twin Rocks Cafe was a different experience. COVID rules apply.  Plexiglass shields have been installed. It seems to be mutating into a Native burrito bar. The Navajo tacos are still wonderful, though.


After Mike caught up with us, I got a message from Blaze Ward, inspired by a photo I posted from this trip. He asked if I’d be interested in writing about “postapocalyptic tacos” for an anthology that’s in the planning stages. Just what I need, another project. Then I started getting ideas . . .


The next morning I saw a guy who looked like the ghost of William Gaines, the creator of Mad Magazine, at the Sinclair station.


 

Then it was back through the Rez. A big, fat, flowing datura bush was growing by the side of the road. Actually, lots of them. 2020 was a good year for datura.


It was overcast. The colors of the fantastic geology were richer.


We kept seeing a sign:


STAY HOME

BE SAFE

SAVE LIVES


Navajo guerrilla muralists have been busy decorating abandoned buildings. Fresh paint glowed. Usually in places where there was no easy place to park and take a picture.


We passed a car labeled: NON-EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION.


Wonderful country. You go over a hill, and it’s another world.



Signs reminded: FACE MASKS REQUIRED ON THE NAVAJO NATION.


At a Flagstaff gas station I filled up next to a guy with a camouflage Trump cap, while Trump’s face smiled from a sticker captioned MADE OF MONEY AND BRAIN DEAD NO FUTURE AT ALL.


Margaret was quiet. A week on the road left her tired. But she talked about wanting to do it again next year.


As we got closer to Phoenix we ran into rain.“I’m not even going to bother with the windshield wipers,” said Emily. “The only places we got rain were in Arizona.”


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