Ceremonial Bicycle trip into Dineh (aka Navajo/Hopi) Rez, beginnin May 27, '03 (Tues.) From Flagstaff, AZ and about 210 miles around (note: bike is a mtn bike without anyfancy touring equipment that i got for $50)

Some images from the ride:
The bike i rode on, fully loaded; a look at the area where the storm came through.

on the Dineh/Hopi Rez
Taking care to be safe
First night
on the Hopi Rez
into Kykotsmovi
onward up steep and down scary
Ten miles at a time
Manyspirited storm rises
Back to the 21st Century illusion
Stormspirits Dance me
Humans finally approach
Gray Mountain
Well, lesee, Gray Mtn to Flagstaff
the summit and creatures of the dark
last day

Rather spontaneously chose not to ride down to Sedona, et al, even tho i've never visited such.

Major physical and psychological challenge overall. Very intense. Am writing from my 3rd day, in Kykotsmovi, done about 35 miles so far this morn. Got up at the very crack of dawn two morns in a row, with strategy to do at least 25 miles before sun is too hot.

Didn't know what i was getting into. i wanted adventure, well i've gotten something. Very good for excercizing the ol' endurance thang as well as my knowledge of desert riding. Avoided major heat exhaustion so far & have known when to stop & take it easy.

As i left Flagstaff i wore my "Trickster" dawgspirit masque and was early-on enthusiastically greeted by a Native woman; that totally helped keep my spirits high. i sure did not wish to offend! Yet my intention was to celebrate the value of Trickster.

On the Navajo Rez
Rode into the Navajo rez near Leupp. Looked and felt like another country, the way people parked, the look of the one small convenience-type store in town, & the people speaking Navajo.

i actually dared to wear my Moofiecoyotecrazydog masque for about 45 miles altogether, and partially into the rez (about 15 desolate miles). Took it off before i got to Leupp but still was wearing my arte shirt with various arte and a bit of text pinned on it. Wore that into Leupp and at the store but no one commented. i figure their way is to let me be.

One man (of mid age or so) started speaking with me, but didn't mention the masque. Tho when i rode in, originally, a white guy hangin with some Natives joked that it was a scalp. i didn't talk with him as he didn't continue. That was 49 miles, there to Leupp. Mostly downhill and easy ridin.

Went North towards Kykotsmovi from there. Got challenging with hills and hot. (Early on, a pickup stopped that was full of Native people, and they offered me a ride; seemed friendly enough, with an elder who seemed to be hitching himself smiling in the back; had they offered later on, i might have accepted)

Taking care to be safe
Took a long, careful rest at about mile 62, in the splendid shade of a horse tunnel, under the road (very rare to find shade, and most of my rests were in the open). Nice, cool concrete and sand ground. Ahh! NO shade to speak of except that. Rested, watched the clouds, noted the Magical Mystery Moths hangin out and attempting to fly into the cool breeze billowing thru.

Thought: Would be nice to have a sandy floor for an underground house! Nice, cool, comfy on feet.

Once the sun was down good enough to be cooler, rode another 10 miles to a quite special place that i didn't expect. Well, a coyote crossed quite a ways in front of me, going east, at that place (good omen and time to stop say Navajo!) and i found an underpass that was no longer used (i didn't want to sleep at a used one and have to deal with horses or cattle wanting to come through in the night!).

First night
So this one i found was well-hidden, quite close to an exquisite bunch of red cliffs, on the edge of the Hopi rez, AND happened to have two still soft COUCH CUSHIONS (which i found in an old fold-out couch down there on the opposite side)!!!!!! So i slept quite comfortably on them, even tho the sounds, bats flying in, and my fears of the unknown kept me from sleeping "really good". The space was about 5'8" high, had been 1/4 filled up with water awhile back and about 35 feet long.

on the Hopi Rez
Well, up before sun-up next morn, started ride as sun came up, and a few miles down i see a place called "Begays" (a ranch) down the road which looked like a gay thing (arrow looked phallic the way it was designed). Heh!

Further along, saw the first wild rattle snake i've seen alive on the road. Gave it a wide berth. Before that, a Jack Rabbit seemed to race me and i thought, sheesh, it's going to use up too much water!

i am carrying a 5-gallon collapsible water container. i put 1-2 gallons in. No water at all between towns which are few and far between. (Some "towns" don't even have water for sale, but that could be good, since it would be good for someone like me to talk to locals!)

Coming close to Kykotsmovi at about 8AM. Passed a local overweight lady who was bikin herself quite a few miles, even tho she didn't have any water. She cried out a bit when i pedalled up behind her; guess she wasn't expectin me...sorry about that!

into Kykotsmovi
Coming into the somewhat sparse town, i found local kids just coming out of their homes to wait for a bus or something to go to school. They were friendly enough, waving when i did.

Intuited where i might find a grocery in the interesting and scenic village (not on the main road). Gas $1.72/gal (not horrid at that time). Hung out a good while, stocked up on supplies, fed a local stray-looking nice dog and soon word got around i guess and more such dogs showed up (or were only doing their morning rounds). Also saved a drowning moth caught in a puddle.

Spoke a good time with a few local folks, too. Aged about 50 and up, i suppose. An elderly man, maybe in 80s, told me about travellin to Ohio once with a "White Boy" (i found it curious that he said that to me; did he think i was Indian?). A Hopi cop talked towards me for awhile but his vibe seemed intent on the same old routine interrorgatioin shit. Luckily, a lady came up and brought the conversation away from that vibe.

She and the cop were the first to ask me about my mask (which was strapped in the open on the front of my bike). i'd told the cop that it was "trickster", tho the good spirit of the often il-spoken icon. i was going to put it on and show the lady but she declined. The cop first thought it was some animal, what with the blond and brown wigs i used for hair! Maybe he thought he'd have himself a bust for poaching?

Also noted a local a little ways away sitting watching me, and i got into thinking of living as he; a small-looking place appearing not to have any conveniences of a more domesticated life.

My being there as i was must've appeared highly irregular for them to say the least (unless they get a regular stream of "eccentric" White people; dat wouldn't surprise me!). Noted cop didn't leave til i did.

onward up steep and down scary
Big hill out of town. Maybe 3-6 miles altogether. Rested awhile at a shady, minature "canyon" cut fro the road i gather. One local walked through while i rested, and she seemed "out of place"; we greeted each other, at least with our eyes, if i recall right. Up top i find very scenic villages of Bacavi and Hotevilla (6 miles up from Kykotsmovi). Looked just as interesting as Kykotsmovi. Reminded me of parts of New Mexico with adobe homes and high bushes dotting the area (no trees).

Down giant scary hill from there. Worried that my bike would fall apart, since a lot of my tied and strapped-on stuff wasn't exactly "really" secure.

Ten miles at a time
About 10 miles later, i'm too hot, needing rest, and no shade anywhere. So i improvize something via my bike parked at a metal post with my tent tarp and bed sheet! Broke a big sandstone rock over a larger one because i couldn't find anything smaller, and made weights to hold my tarp-sheet down in the gusts of wind (was situated at top of a small hill, so cooler, yet treacherously hot still). Draped "covers" over bike and made lean-to!

In about a half-hour or so i'm sitting there doing myself real fine by staying out of the glaring Sun and here comes another cop (Hopi), and he's all business, asking for my ID,"if you have one." Not even a pretense of friendliness when i sought to explain what i was doing (i half-expected more thought from a HOPI cop; but maybe his method was at least more honest?).

He said i was too close to the highway and "crazy drivers" might hit me (funny, cuz there i was, RIDING many days on the side, IN the road; but i didn't challenge him); so he tells me to move further from road, and if i didn't, he mumbled something about how the court would get involved...struck me as far out, but not as shitty as so many cops these daze (re: an earlier experience with a Flagstaff cop who was way out of line in making threats to arrest me, when he could have just as easily been cordial; i certainly gave him no reason to be an asshole...!) I felt a 'police state' vibe.

Well, i moved twice before finding a suitable locale to wait out the hot for another hour or two. Shoulda brought a book. Instead, i just slept a bit, looked at clouds and the grass life. Wasn't perfect, but better than being in direct sunlight and that non-humid heat (80-90 degrees F at least). Avoiding heat exhaustion it's called.

Manyspirited storm rises
Noted an approaching storm way off about 30 miles in the North but didn't think it would come where i was, the way the clouds looked to be moving. Watched repeatedly, and noted that they seemed quite kept in one pattern.

Got the intuition to leave and rode another 10 or so miles 'til resting in shade of a bush on Howell Mesa and noted that the storm (with rain falling in sheets way off) had suddenly shifted South (as if forming out of nowhere) and figured it must've been getting Kykotsmovi wet at least (a welcome wet i figured)!

Oh, by the way, i was thinking about riding 30 or so miles North on dirt to Pinon to try to locate a Navajo dude i'd met, in a very indepth few days, earlier in another city; all i had was a p.o. box tho. So dry that i decided against it. Shoulda probably at least tried to locate/phone him (if he even had a phone). Oh well.

Storm kept looking more troublesome but i kept well ahead of it as i rode. Noted lightning too. No place to deal with lightning there, except to stretch out on the ground and...!

Got a few sprinkles on the hill approaching the ghost village of "Coal Mine Mesa". No lightning tho. Wind was with me, and i raced along, tho still noticing how long the road was there (i was looking forward to coming into the "big" town of Tuba City).

Giant downhill i named "Navaho Hill" about 7 miles outside of Tuba City. Probably 5 miles down on that rough two-lane road; steep, and quite dangerous, what with all the seemingly-overweight vehicles speeding 10 or 20 mph over the speed limit, passing by in packs.

Earlier, while resting in the shade of a small sand dune at its top, a young Native guy (who sounded gay) and companion stopped to offer a ride to Tuba City, but had first thought i was heading East into the storm with Much Lightning (he told me he thought i must have something wrong with me if such was so; pretty beautiful that he, of all people, chose to stop and ask!). i would've taken the ride if they'd also been going to Flagstaff. Glad i didn't (so far) cuz much good happened.

Back to the 21st Century illusion
There's a 'Bashas' grocery in Tuba City. That speaks loads right there. i was quite surprised at all the mainstream America suddenly in that town. Came over a hill and suddenly was "transported back to the 21st Century". i was really relieved (but my challenge was far from over! The night was to get VERY wild).

(Note: i saw beautiful water in creekriver and lowland made good use of in Moenkopi, the village next to Tuba City)

Got 2 gallons water for 50cents at Bashas, various drinks, etc. at gas station (closer than Bashas, which was up a slight hill; i was exhausted) Washed off. Nice to be around running water!!!

Stormspirits Dance me
Camped about 2 miles down, outside city, just as getting too dark. Found a place happily away from road and sight (feared pigs coming in night to fuck with me), but inside a barbed-wire fence. Storm appeared to be still coming and i prepared for the worst as best i could by tying my packs together and readying my thin tent tarp (to act as rain "protection"--tho i should have bought/brought a real tarp instead).

(One thing i like about out-of-sight "bush" camping is opportunity to lounge in the nude; bugs sometimes bit but nothing real bad, luckily)

Turned out only a fevered dustdevil or something like that messed with me for only a few minutes, as i scurried, in the dark (having no flashlight), to brace myself.

(((SEE a picture of the area in which i camped that night)))

Clouds of menacing look seemed to gather over me even after dusk and i silently (to myself) asked (or "prayed" if you like) to be able to see the stars (especially the "Barking Tuna" constellation that i'd first seen while camping the night previous to leaving my special near-Flagstaff camp; the "Barking Tuna" is a symbol from a radio station i once loved as a kid). To be fair, i had cursed the 'manyspirits' the previous afternoon before i'd even seen the storm, and felt like it was moving towards me to teach me some lessons in humbleness (what with my daring to art myself in such a "strange" way, i wondered if magix had been especially interested in *speaking* with me...(it's one thing to turn up your nose from the comfort of the city, and another to be in the middle of heavy UNKNOWNS like i put myself in the midst of; yOu try it for awhile and yOu might start speaking with cloudspirits too! ;)

Somehow, the stormspirits never chose to blast me (maybe they were just coming by to check me out, heh heh), and from what i heard the next morning, while in a town about 25 miles on, i WOULD have had a particularly harsh time out in the open like i was (note: i consciously left my 'trickster' masque far away on the road-side of the fence! Call it "superstition", but yOu weren't there!)

Humans finally approach
Rode about 25 miles arising before dawn and got to Cameron. Sat around nursing cold food at a grocery until a Native woman struck up a conversation with me and asked about my masque, and set me straight on the Yin/Yang value of "Trickster" in her people's culture. When we'd finished speaking, she even shook my hand. i smell depth which i was hoping to find!

Soon after, a local Native guy named George said hello and also struck up a conversation. He showed me where i could take a shower for $2 and he let me use his shampoo! (such showers ain't for truckers, as much as for locals who i learned often don't have running water) REAL NICE takin the shower! Had been at least two weeks!! Washed my socks too, even!

George wanted me to meet another bicyclist, and it was from him that i heard about how harsh the storm was in that town. The bicyclist, named Jeff, is a true mountain man-style-bicyclist (tho beardless and short hair) survivor-self-improvizer guy! He told me about how a very strong wind had whipped sand and gravel, and how it so blasted his dome tent with its hail (he called it *hail*!) that he physically had to hold it down! (i've never been in such a storm; the closest was a time in the praries of Canada where i had to also hold down the tent from flying away--with me in it--but that wasn't even a DOME tent...much less aerodynamic!)

i have indeed been thankful/humbled. (All along the ride i also thought about Don Miguel Ruiz' words from his book The Four Agreements which several people, including an Rainbow Gathering elder lady had suggested i read)

Jeff was definitely an authentic biking man; with improvizations of various parts of his bike and a trailer he said could carry up to 400 pounds!

Gray Mountain
"Am now" writin just south of the Navajo Border in the shade of a tree on the compound of a motel whose staff was kind enough to let me hang out here: "Gray Mountain" is the name of the town. Am waitin til afternoon before riding off again and avoid the hottest part of the day. Cloud cover is pretty nice and wind appears to be "with" me at this time (it was really changing around yesterday near the stromfront).

Hoping to make it to some sort of treed cover for tonight and then a short ride tomorrow to the end of my ride. Gave a note to place i parked my rig at (a church) that i'd only be there 3 days, so 4th could be iffy. Hopefully at worst a ticket. (Background of this is that i tried in vain to find a legal place to park by talking to various city officials, and chose to risk parking where i did even tho the pig mentioned earlier had threatened me with arrest if he "caught" me "camping" another night in the city limits of Flagstaff again. Like i said earlier, he sure didn't need to be an ASSHOLE about it, and i certainly didn't act to fire him up! Unfortunately, i again was too intimidated to look at his badge number.)

Well, lesee, Gray Mtn to Flagstaff
Hung out in nice shady motel inner grounds probably a bit too long. Was going to ask to swim (for free) but a steady stream of kids and parents kept coming as soon as the previous left. Cloud cover had dispersed and so i thought, hmmm, i'll try making it the 10 or so miles to "Hanks" which my map calls a 'trading post'.

Got there none too soon as i was already havin heat exhaustion (despite all the water i fed myself). Coulda taken shelter in one o'them cattle underpasses but as soon as i saw a house complex miles off i figured i could do thoze and see if it was in fact a bar or anything with shade.

Good enough. Stayed without asking from about 1:30-4pm, buying a drink, a set of chili dogs and 2 dingdongs (ha). Poured water o'er me head and sat around watchin Native people who were comin and goin almost constantly (good priced gas there, better than Flagstaff). Talkin with the female attendant (native) who remained quite business-like, but i left her with a drawing she liked and said would put up in the bar. The message part said: "Have you arted yourself today?"

She said goodbye and spoke of my "going for the summit" and little did i know that it really was a major summit. Basically a 14-mile hill with the business on the last 4 and a half miles. Had to rest at least twice. At least i'd taken off the brake pad which was getting hit by my rear wheel's dry-rotting bulge (a tire i'd dumpstered that i thought would do well..). Wasn't sure if the thing would make it...Had two such bulges on an otherwise excellent tire.

Maybe all the bangin i'd given it on the previous day trips on gravel and dirt, up by the San Francisco Peaks brought such about?

Saw someone sleepin in the median near the summit and asked if he was thirsty. He was, and i knew why i wanted to lug the extra gallon of water from Tuba City. An interestin concoction he had was putting hot green peppers in his water. Far out!

When i introed myself he'd tried the urban handshake style on me but i was too exhaused to flow with him.

Soon after leaving him, i saw a big coyote. Maybe a wolf like the one i had gotten to know years previous?

the summit and creatures of the dark
Up from there about a mile to the top and i made camp in between 4 boulders a good short walk from the noise of the divided highway. Also was a place adept at escaping bright lights of vehicles at night.

Near dark i thought i saw a pack of coyotes towards the highway and instinctually took a confrontive action. Carrying two strong sticks and my punkass swiss blade, i asserted myself only to soon find they were a 'herd' of Elk! Five in all! And, as they crossed the road, one car almost hit them, with a screech of tires and another stark noise that sounded like one had been hit. But i couldn't see from my vantage point.

They were heading my way, so it would definitely be a lesson in good hunting spots. i saw em pretty close but not detailed due to the encroaching dark.

Nice, clear night and one real nice falling star which seemed to explode in fire slightly as it hit our atmosphere, and quite a long sparky tail! Only lasted a second.

Fog just before dark was surprising in such a dry clime, tho.

last day
Slept pretty good, tho later discovered that all manner of exoskeleton beings had somehow embedded themselves on or in me, and i scratched for weeks...

In early morn i arose to be surprised by an old, lone Pronghorn Antelope. It kind of looked a bit too wobbly as it walked quite close (maybe 40 yards) by!

Slept longer than previous 2 days, packed up and headed the 15 or so miles into Flagstaff. Abry's wasn't open so i had a choc. shake at B'King.

Back at my rig was s'prised to find it unmolested and not even a parking ticket! But the note i'd left at the liberal church was gone.

Another sudden storm proves excellent Oh, btw, another storm formed by afternoon, after i'd gotten into town and was all good and packed up.