Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Ride in the Nat'l Park

A warm Easter Sunday
Finally, Gentle Readers of This Blog - finally I get out on the Mighty Trek!  Saturday was a bust as it rained all day.  The forecast called for more rain Easter Sunday - however whatever it was that came through was gone, and now things were clear!  The temps were quickly climbing so with haste I got the bike ready and then set out right at 10 a.m. - 45 degrees - and I'm happy to report NO WIND!

On the Western Boundary of Canyon de Chelly
After the rain, and now with sunshine, the air is sweet-smelling - I can feel and taste the fragrance of sage in my lungs - it's a good healthy breathe to take, Gentle Readers of This Blog!  I'm dressed just right - there still is a bit of a head wind but it does not have that cold bite like back in February and March.

I really want to see if I can improve my time, so I'm only going down to the Mummy Cave Pullout at the Monument.  Round-trip should be right at 30 miles.  With no real heavy wind to ride into, I'm riding pretty fast (for me) and actually I'm not gasping for air as in the past.  Very slowly I think I'm getting used to the altitude of where I live.

Still, while climbing in a headwind, the heart rate on my Garmin goes up pretty high - but my chest isn't on fire like the other rides down this road.  Rain is forecast to come back later today, so I want to get out and home before the wind really starts to get going.  I can see the storm coming, but for now it is far away.

Spider Rock, and in the left top corner, Black Rock
I pulled this image out from when I drove out to Canyon de Chelly and did a hike.  Then I drove up to the Spider Rock Pullout.  You can see Black Rock up there on the left.  There has got to be a way to ride from there to where I am - one big loop.  I need to once again find that Park Ranger and see what he says.  I would only ride back on Indian 12 as last resort - it would be very dangerous.

While coming down to Mummy Cave Pullout, I was passed by some Buck driving about 100 mph - I kid you not!  It was unnerving!  Hwy 64 that runs from Tsaile to Chinle, and then to the Monument Visitor Center is a tough and rugged road - but is has a shoulder.  The speed limit is 55 and really if you drive faster than that you are inviting disaster.  You can lose control, but even as I rode, there were cows, horses, and sheep right on the shoulder.  I also passed a big deer carcass on the shoulder coming back - you can easily hit a deer and get hurt, lose control of your car, and crash and burn!

After a short rest at the Pullout, I headed back.  Normally I would have had a better tailwind, but this time it was more like a crosswind.  With about 8 or 9 miles to go, the road heads back up in a more Northeasterly direction.  That gave me my tailwind and a push up the last two big climbs before I start my fast four mile descent back to The College.

Allure Libre!
My average speed today was 14.6 MPH, which is much better than the 13.2 (or maybe it was 12. something) the first time I was out here.  This road, kind of straight and not too exciting, is a course I can ride after work - go out for an hour to the Pullout, and then return, and well before dark.

Happy Easter!  Cheers!  Bruce

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cowboy on a Bicycle

Black Rock is an ancient volcano high on the Defiance Plateau
With some warmer weather, but still a lot cold wind these days, I have not gone out on the road bike.  Warm days melted the snow and muddy roads began to dry out.  I need to be outside, Gentle Readers of This Blog - I planned to ride out to Black Rock this day, which I was told was about 5 or 7 miles ride.  It turned out to be more like 12.

Rain and wind now seem to always be planning something - I've done the ride down to Canyon de Chelly, and this trip I wanted to see if I might take the road bike on some of these very hard-packed dirt roads.  I figured I'd just go out a few miles and back - take my time.

Tsaile Lake, and Tsaile Peak
Pretty quick, even on the Desert San Campus Bike, once I leave my place and The College, the world is big and wide open!  I plan to ride out to the Peak, hide the bike, then hike and climb the Peak...

The Sun is bright and I need to protect my white skin these days.  I'm not riding fast - should be wearing my helmet - but the locals know me by my straw hat.  Little Egypt bought it for me, and well, it has become part of my persona I guess.  But it keeps the Sun's rays from burning me, even at 7200 feet in the mountains.  Anyway, back in Tucson, I got the worst sunburn in my life in February!  Plus, this way I don't feel like I got to race or hurry.

Most Northern Boundary of Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument
All the country is new and I want to know it - if I'm going to ride the road bike, I want to sense where I am by the feel and look of he mountains and trees, and the Sun and the feel and look of the road.  Each mile has a different color and hardness - sometimes as you reach the pines, the air smells of a cool earthy dryness.

With the Desert San, it's pretty slow-going mes amis.  I have to tell you I still have on the studded snow tires (from Lawrence, KS via Finland) and they roll heavy on the hard road.  Mostly the road is bumpy and dry.  I would not want to drive my car out here for sure as it would get beat all to Hell.

The few people that live out here probably drive as fast as they can without going out of control - probably just don't care.  From their big four-wheel drive monster type trucks - that thick peanut-butter sticky mud seems to have flung everywhere to the sides of the road.  Here's a sign asking to slow a bit going through here.  "SLOW: Cows on the Road!"

Going out, the headwind I have is fierce!  And I'm really sweating too because, I'm having to pretty much climb over a ridge.  But as was reported to me, Black Rock is only five or six miles from The College I should see it soon!

I finally get over the ridge - looking on, I see more open road and I must be on top of one of the mesas out here.  Road is mostly rough, but with the road bike and my 25 cm tires, I can probably roll pretty quick - the Desert San is heavy and like driving a tank.  And I've seen no cars - so I could probably ride on the best part of the grooves if I have too.

I'm riding along the boundary of the Nat'l Park.  

Old Hogans from times past start to appear out here.  Looks like was good grazing for herds of sheep.  But I have seen no sheep or cattle, and no people.  There are power lines, and they look recent.

The wind is howling, but it doesn't have the cold sting like before.

As always, there will be wind, I'm traveling a bit faster than what Navajo families would be on horseback and by wagon.  I know the tail wind will help me get back faster - and I'll be going downhill mostly.  Still, where is Black Rock?

Black Rock!  My but it still seems far away.   I saw it from about this distance from Spider Rock Pullout when I drove out there in early March.  I talked to a Park Ranger, who was Navajo and he told me that day that Black Rock was between where we were and The College.  Canyon de Chelly is all around but seems like ridges and mountains hide things.  Like it's secret somehow.

Navajo friends tell me you can get down to the canyon and Chinle, but other say you can't - nobody knows for sure but they think I would probably get lost or that riding a bike is just crazy.  One day I might find the road the locals use.  Or they might be right, there's really no way but driving around, all the way around to get to Chinle.

I start to see a few very nice ranches out here.  I believe there's a way to get down to Chinle because if you lived out here, you would have to drive more than 60 miles out of your way to just get gas or groceries.  Best to go by car sometime but that would really tear things up.  I think I'd take the road bike (now I wish I had a gravel bike!) so I could cover more miles.  Again this is just recon for future rides I do, Gentle Readers of This Blog.

Ranchers wave and I'm sure if the old man driving would have stopped to talk to me, he may have told me some information about where this road might intersect.  I suspect with HWY 7, which is all dirt - but I would have to cross into the Park (where there are no tourist pullouts or trails) which I am not allowed without a Navajo Guide.

Very windy now, and getting late.  A photo this time for you and me will have to do.  If I went further the road might end right at the canyon - which I must tell you from what I have seen, is a 900 foot drop.  But there has to be a road that gets me somewhere.   There is a nice ranch here and I don't want to ride around (it is late in the afternoon) and impose on someone's place.  If I could hike to the top, I am sure that I might recognize landmarks, and maybe see some roads to take to Chinle.

Looking back from where I am, just about half mile from Black Rock, I can see that I have about 10 or 12 miles to get back - and rain clouds are creeping up to the Chuska Mountains.  

Now with a tailwind firmly pushing me back, I am flying over the hard road.  I'm a bit low on water too.  I only brought one water bottle when I should have had two.

This old Hogan might still be used as a summer camp, but like many of my Navajo friends say, old folks that used these camps have passed on, and the families seldom use them and keep them up.  They begin to go back into the landscape.  Sometimes the more disrespectful element may steal the logs to use and sell as firewood.  But mostly out here, they just seem to fade and dissolve back into ground.

For now, I'm staying on the main roads - there are scores of other roads that seem to go this way and that.  They're most likely logging roads - or a road to go up and cut firewood.  On my GPS maps, these  roads criss cross and look to go here and there - they're the roads where you can get lost.  Anyway, my road bike can't go too far on them.  But on these hard packed ones, I bet I can go deep into this county.

The College would be off the left a few miles, but this view is much like the view I see when I'm coming back on Hwy 64 after riding down to The Visitor Center at the Monument - except this time about about 10 miles East (maybe less) from 64 on from this dirt road.  I'm kind of surprised that I climbed this high, and in a stiff headwind - now I have a fast downhill.  I really had to take it easy because the dirt although dry, is very rough in places.  It was nice to have an effortless glide down, and no wind roaring in my ears - now I hear signs of Spring with thousands of birds chirping and calling out warnings that a Cowboy on a Bicycle is cutting by the pines.

I want to tell you that a Red Tailed Hawk swooped down to see what I was, and then hung in the air above me for details of my construction - was I machine? or living thing?  But as the late afternoon sun shone on his brilliant wings - and tail feathers - I was witness to what gives him his name!  Tail so red and then him glowing yellow and orange!  Like a Sun himself!

Why all the beer cans and liquor bottles along the road?  Alcohol is illegal on the Rez.  So to not have it on your person if stopped by the Navajo Police,  you toss the empties out the window.   You can rarely go 50 or 100 feet without a beer can or bottle of rot gut in the ditch.  It's foul litter, and even out here in the remotest places, trash is everywhere.

Also, people just throw out everything - coke cans, water bottles - and diapers.  For the most part, Navajo people I know love this land and are very connected to it - I don't get why others don't care.  You don't want to have empties (evidence you've been drinking) so throwing shit out the window is the simple solution.

The College, and to the right, a dam built by the NPS to stem the flow of water down into Canyon de Chelly.  NPS is trying to slow down erosion that would wash away the ancient ruins down there.  The lake is supposed to have trout in it.  I could (and might) hike a bit down into the canyon and get trout out of the streams that flow.  But might just get a fishing pole and try my luck in the lake.

Tsaile Lake and the ice has melted.  Probably time to go fishing!

I had a good ride today!  24 miles round-trip!

A Cowboy on Bike!  That was fun!  I'm glad you came by to check out the blog.

Cheers!  Bruce

Friday, April 18, 2014

Living in Dinetah

Spring in the Mountains
I have to tell you all that I am happy and healthy - March and most of April have been constant snow and wind.  I have only been able to ride my bike to work and back.   That's okay as my studded snow tires have served me well!   I want to get out on the road bike soon!

Campus Spring Snow Storm
But as soon as the snow comes, it melts - and a then a thin layer of new green begins to creep into the county-side.  Even with another snow, the green grows bolder.

Tsaile Peak, an ancient volcano core
Navajo friends tell me a lot of different things about Tsaile Peak, which I am wanting to hike and climb too the top.  Everyone agrees that you get up from the North side - but there will be deep snow until Summer.  Some tell me you walk right to the top, others say there's a rope you will find and it helps you reach the top.  One of the Facilities Men tells me he was up there when he was about 15 years old - now that he is in his 60's he says the way to get up there, the rocks have fallen off so now you can't get up.  I am happy to report that everyone says there are no spirits or gods that would be upset should I explore, so that's good.

The Blue Birds have arrived and we have this couple building a nest
The Big Murder of Crows, and I must tell you Gentle Readers of This Blog that they are Big and Black and a Tough Bunch - they have built a huge nest, full of large twigs and branches, in the eaves of the library's roof.  But now Blue Birds - I call Little Friends - have arrived.  They are busy and curious and just seems that they are waiting for the right moment to build their nests.  No one will really tell me, but they have a symbolic part to play in the Navajo Religion.  I will leave it at that -

Last Bull Ride
My Navajo friends from work invited me to go to the Inter-Collegiate Rodeo a few weeks ago.  I have never been to a rodeo, and it was fun - at the Fairgrounds in Window Rock.  Navajo Cowboys are much respected - my colleague's son is a Bull Rider.  He's about to ride and she's going to try and capture the few seconds he will be on that beast's back. 

I actually met the Rodeo Clown - he was from Tulsa like me - and he explained to me what was going on and how things worked.  These men and women were young college students.  He told me that a lot of the cowboys in the pros are ex-football players.  If some of these guys don't play pro football, they become pro rodeo cowboys.  You have to be that athletic to do what they do.  I saw many a young man and young woman get slammed into the dirt and mud - the broncs and bulls were huge and ferocious. 

I rooted for The College, but there was a young Cowboy from University of Arizona, and ranked 5th in the College Rodeo Circut as a Bronc Rider - I have to tell you that the horse he drew slammed him face-first into the ground in half a second.  It was a tough night for everyone.

Luckily, it was a warm night and I didn't freeze.  The best part of going to the rodeo really was that since I drove us down to Window Rock with my car, my boss bought us dinner

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ride In Beauty - Visitor Center Canyon de Chelly

A cold and windy ride this weekend
I'm learning that although temps are reported in the mid-50s to almost 60, it does not really feel that way!  Ha ha ha ha - the sun is intense and bright like my Tucson Days, but I'm at 7200 feet elevation - so it's not actually that warm.  

I miscalculated the distance from TS - 39 (my spot in the college trailer park) to the Visitor Center - I thought it would be a 60 mile round-trip ride, when in fact it's just under 50.  Oh yeah, it's Visitor Center not Visitor's Center - kind of how the weekend went for me, Gentle Readers of This Blog.

As my riding progressed this month, I went out and rode down to the first pull-outs, Mummy Cave and Massacre Cave.  That went well.  For the Birthday I went a little further down to Antelope House - so now this past weekend I got all the way to the Visitor Center.

All week long I looked at weather reports - and the report was warm weather.  Late in the week, there was a massive dust storm with the sky turning red - dust everywhere - and wind blowing like 60 MPH! The Library has a maintenance hatch - a ladder that leads to the hatch, and then onto the roof.  The wind ripped the hatch off roof with a shriek!  When I went to check it out, I saw the red sky above and the door gone.  Facilities guys came right away - found the hatch out on the grounds, and then strapped it down from the inside.  Finally I was glad it was Friday - it was a long week.

Saturday morning was very cold, but started to warm up as the sun came out.  I got everything ready to go, and expected to head down the mountain at around 50 degrees, and then enjoy 60 degrees plus part way down and all the way back.

I took my camera, but this time out I wanted to spin at a good steady clip, and try to get my average speed up.  Well, it was simply a powerful head wind all the way down and cold too.  I still tried to pedal steady, and not stop for photos.  Pretty much I was in the drops and trying to stay upright on the bike.  I could just not get any speed on the down hills - the wind was blasting me - and the climbs were so slow too.  I felt I needed to tough it out, keep going like a brevet rider would, and get to the Visitor Center!

The pullouts I'd ridden to the last few weeks went by, and I started to speed down the road closer to Chinle and the Monument.  Even with a full-on head wind, I was riding fast - just wanting to get there - because you know, Gentle Reader of This Blog - with these fast descents, comes climbing when you're coming home!  I felt okay because I knew that I would have a 15 to 20 MPH tailwind to help me climb back out of here.

So then there I was, the final three or four miles shooting down to the Monument entrance - which by car is okay because the speed limit slows to 45 MPH, but on a bike - you are really gaining speed and the road narrows - then no shoulder.  Lucky for me there was no traffic behind me - I was riding into a strong headwind at 35 MPH and the road curved and banked, like you're favorite set of fast rollers, except this is a very busy intersection - and suddenly you stop.

There I was at the entrance to Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument - I did it!  Numb from the cold.  Yes it was actually getting colder, mes amis!  So I stopped in, got out of the wind and sat on a bench in front of the entrance to building and got warmed by the sun.  The sun felt great - and the roar of the wind in my ears was gone much to my relief too.

I went inside to fill my water bottles.  Probably best to get back on the road and get home.  I'd ridden about 25 miles in exactly two hours - not very fast.  And you know what I was thinking - it will be a long haul back.  I could see the two choices for a restaurant but I'll save that adventure for a better ride - one where I start out early and not so damn cold.

Inside the Visitor Center there are a few foreign tourists, and folks from back East.  I receive many perplexing looks - and a guys asks me, kind of as an aside, "Where did you come from?"  He asks this because my friends, we are in the middle of nowhere - practically.  I tell him I live and work up at the college, and then show him on the big park map.  "It's up here, about 25 miles - a pretty good road for riding."  The other tourists look to and are satisfied that I'm not some crazy man.

I begin the climb back - right out of the Visitor Center is it steep and grueling.  I have the help of a strong tail wind, Gentler Reader of This Blog - but it is now frigid cold.  Instead of a roaring blast  of air through my ears that's deafening, it is now so silent and still - the tail wind is pushing me, adding about 3 MPH to my already super slow speed of about 5 MPH (yes it is steep!) and I can now hear my breathing and the tires on the road, and every strain the frame and the wheels take over the rough pavement.

I have to tell you that I caught a glimpse of the canyon from one of the tight turns, that was spectacular - one you would never see from a car, but only by foot or by bike.  I almost stopped, but thought I better just keep pedaling...  I'd say for at least 9 miles I crawled up and out of the lowlands of the edge of Chinle.  Finally I got to Antelope House, where I had been the weekend before, and tackled two more big climbs - then finally a downhill and with tail wind.  I flew like a rocket toward the Chuska Mountains ahead.   Again, it was eerie quiet because the wind is pushing me and not roaring in my ears.  I hear birds - thousands of them - on the wind.  The call out warnings as I make my way past on the road.  Again, I hear the sounds of my bike melding into the sounds of my breathing - it doesn't last long but I stay in the drops, pedal as steady as I can to take as much advantage as I can from the wind and slight descent.

Even with the tail wind - and with about 8 or 9 miles to go of these 50 miles - I was cooked and feeling like I had nothing left.  The last descent, where it seemed I was descending anyway, I could only reach a top speed of 12 MPH.  Finally I made the one last climb to the highest point in my ride - the one where from the top I can see Tsaile, and Dine College spread out below.  Next is four miles of very fast descent - and I pull into the trailer park.

Good God - what a tough ride.  I was frozen and stiff.  I was also starving.  I'd only had a Cliff Bar at the turn-around.  I should have had more calories...  Wow I did it - what a ride!

So I know I can do it - I did do it in just over four hours.  My average speed was 12.8 miles per hour.  To me that seems very slow.  I would not be able to finish a moderately difficult brevet - a 200 - if I rode so slow.

I guess I can just get better, right?

Okay thanks for coming along!  Cheers!  Bruce

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Road Biking Around Canyon de Chelly

Antelope House Pullout 
This past weekend, for my Birthday, I went out for a pretty good ride, Gentle Readers of This Blog.  The weather has been nice - in the mid 50's but just for a small window of time during the day.  Even though it's a bit cold up at The College - and still some snow left melting away - there seems to be this invisible snow-line when the temperature is like 15 degrees warmer - suddenly the hills don't feel so big and bad after all!.  I'm 52 now and think that this is the time to do things head-on.  For instance, if the opportunity arises to put in some miles (good weather, clear roads, etc) well then mes amis - let's go!

I've ridden down to the first pullouts on Hwy 64, which runs North-South along the boundary of the Monument - those were Mummy Cave and Massacre Cave.  There and back to Dine College is just at 30 miles.  For a Birthday Jones, I wanted to ride down to the next pullout, which would be Antelope House, roughly 7 more miles down from those first pullouts.

Like the other pullouts, you go it about a mile or so, then you're in the Park.  There are fast rollers but as always, be careful for cattle, horses, and donkeys.   Maybe when it gets warmer they'll be more slow driving tourists - which I don't mind, but back at Saguaro Nat'l Park in Tucson, sometimes a visitor would be standing in the middle of the road with a camera - to get that perfect shot - then suddenly you're zipping around a curve and you just miss hitting them!  Be careful, mes amis!

I made it to Antelope House, but just the parking lot.  To go see the view, you have to walk about a quarter of a mile on a path.  I might do it sometime when I drive down - just too hard to walk in the bike shoes.  But there was on old Navajo Woman with her hand-made jewelry spread out on the hood of her car there waiting for tourists.  I should have stopped and got me something for my Birthday - I waved at Grandma and she laughed and waved back - I was on my way home.  I would have some climbing to do, and the weather changes quickly.

Chuska Mountains and a Friend
I tend to stop and look while I ride, if the mood strikes me - certainly now since a lot of this is new scenery.  I'd probably have a better average speed, but I need to slow down a bit and get out the camera.  Click to see a bigger image of this if you want, but it's the Chuska Mtn Range up where I live.  To the right is Tsaile Peak and about eight miles Northeast of The College.

I've just pulled out of the Park and now I'm here at Hwy 64.  It was a very pleasant ride down, and landmarks help me find the Antelope House Pullout because the sign going down South is missing.  I told the Park Ranger at the Visitor's Center a few weeks ago and they were like "Again?"

Anyway, I liked how the cloud and the mountain seem to be having a lazy afternoon together.  So much snow up here, and then temps in the 50's!  Up in higher elevation, the road had been plowed, so the snow was melted and the road, and the shoulder very clean!

Even though the Sun is bright and warm, I still need to dress in some layers.  If you keep moving you're okay, but if you stop, you'll get cold quickly.

Tsaile Peak and the Invisible Line
At some point, what some people have told me is "The Invisible Line" the temp, the light, the plants, and the air change - and then there's snow.  I will discover for us, Gentle Reader of This Blog, the exact location!  But I have to say, I enjoy the route and the traffic is low.  There is a silence that is big here - mostly the clouds start to move in - and most importantly - I get a boost from an awesome tailwind!  The best thing about this ride is going home - a tailwind that makes most of the ride effortless!

There is a long straight-away, probably about two miles, where I'm up in the High Country for sure.  Snow blankets the landscape.  Around here I am pretty sure it was an Elk that came out of the trees, stopped in the middle of the road - took a bewildered look at me - them gracefully bound up into the trees on the other side.  I say Elk because it was big - was black - and I have seen lots of deer in my time and this was not built like those.  It had no rack so maybe a female?  

As always with deer, or Elk (I don't know about Elk) you wait for the rest to follow - but just this one is all I saw. I told some people about it, and they asked where - they say it could have been an Elk but was probably a big deer.  A long-time Dine College friend told me they introduced a herd of Elk up around The College, "Years ago," which means before I was born maybe.  "Yeah, could have seen an Elk on your bike... Probably not though...  But it's happened..."

Tsaile below, The College just off to the right.
From here I'll have a very fast descent down to Dine College Trailer Park, which is great to have at the end of a long ride.  Of course, coming up this pass, first thing out the door, is a killer, mes amis.  When I look at my Garmin download right here is where my heart-rate hits the max!  Going home is okay and really I'm ready to just take it easy.  The descent is one of those where you quickly gain a lot of speed, and then you have two very sharp turns that are blind.  

The Mighty Trek
About 40 miles, and they were good ones.  I was dressed right, but maybe could have had more water. I noticed that I quickly used up two bottle this time out.  I should probably have a third in the back of the jersey when I'm out for a longer ride. 

I feel that I can easily now ride all the way down to The Visitor's Center - 30 miles - and back with not so much trouble.  That will be a good goal.  Then I'll not bore you with the little details of this road so much, and concentrate on getting the ride done at a good pace, and then try to continually improve.

Probably what I will do is ride down to The Visitor's Center, and then stop in at the Lodge for breakfast!  That is a blog post I'm looking forward too!

Cheers!  Bruce

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Don't Fence Me In

At Hubble Trading Post
For some R&R I drove out to Flagstaff, Arizona and stayed the weekend by myself.  I mostly went for a change of pace, and to see if I could get my cross-country skis set up with boots and binders.  It was, for the most part, a long four hour drive.  On the way back, I spent a bit more time at Hubble Trading Post Nal't Historic Site.

Little Egypt grew up in Flag, and lived not far from here, and went to Catholic School around the corner.  This church is in old Historic Flagstaff, just right along Old Historic Hwy 66.

I ate at one of my favorite spots in Flag, the Dara Thai Restaurant - the tower is right across the street so that's how I know how to find it - it has been many years since I was here and always with Little E - not the same without her!

Beer is not allowed on the Rez - and not allowed on Campus.  I was brought a 21 once bottle of Guinness, mes amis!  Enough to last me a month!  The Pad Thai I ate was also more calories I've consumed at dinner than I have in one week living out here in Tsaile.  I was in a food coma most of the evening.  

Bunk House for the Hired Hands at Hubble
Flag was okay - cold and slushy as the sun was out and melting the snow in the streets.  But it was kind of empty as not many tourists around.  Flagstaff was always a blue-collar city on Route 66 - a mountain town.  Lots of up-scale and over-priced shops and stuff for the wealthy tourists and skiers today - not too many around the weekend I was there.  Hubble Trading Post was much more fun, and the Rangers and staff at the Post remembered me from my short stop over MLK Holiday.  I took a ton of photos and had a tour of the Hubble Home.  If you ever can stop in Ganado, it's really worth checking out the place.

The waitress at the diner where I had breakfast gave me directions to the Safeway there in East Flag - and I got supplies to bring back up here.  Best thing was that they had a Safeway gas station, and I got 20 cents off my gas!  So I filled up with higher octane (does better up here) and still have half a tank in the car for the next trip!

Snow blew through and it was cold.  Back to work.  My trip to Flagstaff was expensive Gentle Readers of This Blog!  Mostly gas and food and stuff!  I'm better off going down to Tucson as there I can stay with friends to save a little money (actually a lot of money) and it's warm...

I did better than most cars and trucks with the bike.  The snow came in and then the sun warmed and melted some of it - but then it got very windy and cold so things got very icy!  The studded snow tires work great for these conditions!  They grip the snow and ice like claws!  Really worth buying if you can...

Chuska Mountains
Riding home this particular evening from work, the Sun on the mtns made them really shine - but just briefly - glad I saw it!

Cheers!  Bruce