It was a cool, sunny morning when I left Tuba City, AZ. The ride to Kayenta was going to be almost a mirror image of yesterday. Another 74 mile ride, but about 2000 ft of climbing, rather than a mostly downhill grade.
The high desert scenery slowed me down because I would stop to take pictures. Unfortunately, there was a slight headwind most of the day, so I welcomed any excuse to take a rest from the continuous climbing.
None of the grades were challenging, but they were just continuous. Between the uphill and the wind, if I wasn’t pedaling, I’d be going backwards. At one point I saw a discarded couch pillow as I came to a road sign. I stopped, leaned Hidalgo on the sign and walked back a few yards to retrieve the pillow. It was dry enough and I was saddle sore enough, that I used it to give me a break along the roadside. I just need a few minutes to sit on something besides the bike saddle.
I met up with a young man from the Netherlands, who was headed in the opposite direction, about 15 miles outside Tuba City. We waved at each other and then he crossed the road. Putting aside my antisocial nature for a bit, I stopped. He came over and we talked about our respective journeys. He had started in New Orleans and was eventually heading for Yellowstone. He talked about the steep hills in the Ozarks, the wind in Kansas, but he said he was not prepared for the cold and snow in Colorado. He had to wear all his layers and was still cold at night in his tent. I hope the snow is gone by the time I get there.
Fortunately for me, I had a warm showers host. She gave some interesting insights to life on the reservation. Although she was not Navajo, she grew up here in Kayenta and had married into the nation. As a teacher on the reservation she shared about the challenges for the community and her role as a special ed teacher in the system. She now heads a blended family. I was happy to have the couch and the warm shower. The conversation taught me so much I didn’t know before about a culture I’d only heard about.
The towns were far apart today and I was able to get some refreshments at about 20 to 30 miles intervals. Good thing I packed a lot of my own. I stopped a lot to get rest from the uphill and against the wind conditions. I also stopped to take a few pictures.
The Lone Rider