Although I had visited the Grand Canyon a couple of times before, I never really appreciated in a personal way how it was formed until I rode there on my bicycle.
All the books (well, the scientific ones) say that eons ago, a plateau rose up in this area while a river cut through the rock. I always understood the erosion part, but I didn't get the rising plateau part until I realized I was climbing a big hill to get to the canyon.
After leaving Tuba City this morning, we passed the edge of the Painted Desert (above), an area whose colors change through the day. Because of the clear air and lack of reference points such as buildings, it's impossible to guess at the distances to the hills and ridges…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/08/1984-bike-tour-day-57-camping-on-the-edge-at-the-grand-canyon/
TUBA CITY, ARIZ. – We passed through the Hopi Reservation today, in an area where age-old conflicts and rituals still exist.
The Hopi generally live in settlements on three mesas, that look like three fingers jutting from a high plateau in the north. The road passes south of the First, but climbs over the Second (above) and Third. The Hopi have lived on these mesas for centuries…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/07/1984-bike-tour-day-56-ritual-and-conflict-in-hopi-and-navajo-lands/
KEAMS CANYON, ARIZ. – We started riding across the wide expanse of the Navajo Reservation this morning and added to our tribe.
Just a few miles outside of Window Rock, we overtook bicyclist Geraldine Onslow, a spunky Brit from south of London. Her's is a tale of tragedy and determination….
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/06/1984-bike-tour-day-55-our-cross-country-tribe-grows/
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZ. – Travelling cross-country by bicycle has put us in contact with many interesting folks we wouldn't have met ordinarily. Tonight we staying at the home of a World War II veteran; a member of a group of unsung heroes whose stories couldn't be told until recently.
Roy Hawthorne was a member of the cadre of Navajos who joined the Marines and became “codetalkers.”
They fashioned a code based on Navajo words that represented military information. The Japanese never broke the code, and the codetalkers couldn't talk about their exploits until the government declassified the code in the late 1960s. ….
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/05/1984-bike-tour-day-54-we-learn-about-navajo-code-talkers/
GALLUP, NM – I've seen fireworks shows at golf courses, football stadiums and along lakefronts. Never have I seen one at a rodeo grounds, where the announcer translated everything into English from Navajo, and where an errant flare set off a series of explosions that lit the scrubby undergrowth on a hillside.
We had read about the fireworks display at Gallup, so we got an early start at El Morro. We passed by the huge Inscription Rock and headed downhill into the Zuni Pueblo Reservation. A sign posted the rules: No pictures. No alcohol. We turned onto Route 32 and missed the Zuni Pueblo itself, one of the 7 Cities of Cibola sought by gold hungry Spanish conquistadors. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/04/day-53-celebrating-the-fourth-in-navajo-nation/
EL MORRO NATIONAL MONUMENT, N.M. – We passed through several nations today; those of the Isleta, Laguna, Acoma, and Canoncita. They're all pueblo tribes that thrived here before the Spanish Conquistadors and missionaries enslaved them. English is spoken here, but it's not the native tongue.
None of that mattered to us this morning. We awoke out in the desert while there were still a couple of stars in the sky and the sun was brightening the East. We walked back to our bicycles hidden under the railroad trestle …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/03/day-52-bicycling-through-reservation-lands/
SOMEWHERE IN ISLETA INDIAN RESERVATION, N.M. – When things are going well, I tend to leave things too much to chance … at least until I'm brought up short by lack of planning and bad decisions.
That's why Bruce and I spent the night in our sleeping bags on a dry wash under the stars next to a railroad trestle. Except for the occasional freight train, the only sound was a soft breeze and the startling yelps of coyotes. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/02/day-51-we-run-out-of-options-and-camp-in-the-desert/
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – We spent much of today riding on the Turquoise Highway. It looked like plain old blacktop to me.
We left Santa Fe in a light drizzle, which quickly burned off. It was such a mellow Sunday morning that Bruce wore his headphones as he pedalled along. He was spacing out near the center of the road when a car came up from behind and couldn't pass. I expect the driver was afraid of honking and scaring Bruce to death. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/01/day-50-bicycling-the-turquoise-highway/
SANTA FE, N.M. – I seem to keep repeating this in my journal — “this place reminds me of Annapolis.”
Of course Santa Fe doesn't really remind me of Annapolis, but there are aspects that are similar. Same with Taos, Ouray, Ste. Genevieve.
Santa Fe is steeped in the Hispanic culture, Annapolis isn't. Annapolis sits on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Santa Fe sits at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
The similarities? Neither are the largest cities in their states, but they are the state capitals. Both have campuses of the liberal arts St. John's College. A large part of their economies are based on eating and drinking and partying downtown …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/30/day-49-another-day-off-hanging-out-in-santa-fe/
SANTA FE, N.M. – Most of the day, I felt that I was no longer cycling through the US, but had slipped south of the border. The Hispanic culture here, mixed with the Native American, is very strong.
For instance, after Penasco, we followed a road that reminded me of cycling in the Alleghenies because it rose and fell like a rollercoaster. We passed through some towns, such as Las Trampas, that had a mission older than most of the Colonial era buildings back home in historic Annapolis. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/29/1984-bike-tour-day-48-like-being-south-of-the-border/