It has been a busy week on the road. Just before I left the Navajo/Hopi Indian Reservation, I met a Navajo man named Gilbert, who pulled his pick up over to talk when he saw me wandering in a field with Dellie, about three miles from his home. Gilbert welcomed me to take a photo of one of the painted mesas he looks at every day. As I did, he smiled. “We call this place the Five Buttes. I get to look at this every day.”
I was deeply moved by the beauty and spirit of the Indian Reservation. Thank you Gilbert for your generous stories of Coyote, corn pollen and the Edgewater People to whom you belong.
The next day, I entered one of the most magical landscapes I have ever encountered: the Petrified National Forest. Here, long-buried geological formations have been unearthed by the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau. Voila: ancient petrified conifers from a temperate rainforest that grew here 225 million years ago.
I spent two exhilarating days at the park: walking among the blue mesas, observing countless petrified specimens lying about in heaps, and watching clouds scud freely across the endless sky. Early one morning from inside La Tortue, I woke to watch the sun rising through one window just as the full moon set outside the other.
Driving east on I-40, I crossed the Continental Divide near Grants, New Mexico. As I descended the lip of the great Plateau, I decided to blast past Albuquerque and head straight for my sister’s farm in western Missouri. La Tortue had other plans, blowing out a tire 70 miles west of the city I intended to snub. I have been waiting here ever since for new tires to arrive on the 29th. Meanwhile, I discovered the Georgia O’Keefe Museum a train-ride away in Santa Fe. I’ve been eating green chilis stirred in everything, except my morning coffee.