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gadfly homepage on the road home notes on places last contact: 8/2007 first contact: 8/2007

UT Trip Stats (12/07):


Counties visited: 1

Last visited: 8/2007


Best county:  Apache Co.

Town visited most: Chinle

Most impressive town: Chinle

Least impressive town: Teec Nos Pos

Biggest town: Chinle

Most scenic area: scrub forest along AZ-264 west of Window Rock.

Three words: hot, punishing, Navajo

State Animal: stray goats


Road Trips: Ring of Fire (8/2007)


Neighboring States: CA, NM, UT, NV, SON 


People: The people of the northeast are either Navajo or white baby boomer fans of Native America. Nobody I met seemed to be rolling in money. The Navajo I met with in Chinle were friendly and helpful. They were generally non-confrontational and more reserved in nature than people from other areas of the U.S. The Navajo Nation is a bilingual world. Radio stations, signs, and printed matter may be serving those who speak the Native language. This gives Arizona the feel of a foreign country.

First Contact: I first entered Arizona by foot while visiting the Navajo Nation's Four Corners Monument. It is not a big deal, but is the most entertaining thing in the middle of the vast Southwest desert in the area. From here I visited a big gas station trying to be a tourist trap. A few Navajo women outside the station sat in kitchen chairs, roasting under the sun, swatting away a hoard of flies. As I continued, the one hundred degree heat and the speeds began to take their toll and, by the time I reached Chinle, my tire was about the blow open. I tried to find a tire shop, but the closest one was 100 miles away in New Mexico. This would be the short end to my first trip to Arizona.

Apache Co. (8/2007)

Navajo Nation. Most of the locations described are located within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. See the notes to the left on people to learn more about my initial reactions to the Navajo people. Four Corners Monument. A small tribal park set atop a plateau overlooking the desert. It is run cooperatively between the Navajo and Utes and marks the only place in the U.S. where four state borders meet. The marker is surrounded by the flags of each state and the tribal nation. Busloads of people pay a few bucks to stand on top of the marker and to shop in what was the most competitive and, thus, well-priced Native American craft markets in the Southwest. Craftsmen sit working in shady lean-tos seemingly unaware that you are looking at their goods. The monument is worth a stop. Teec Nos Pos. A Navajo town that consists of a gas station and Indian crafts store. The air was full of flies and visible heat. Chinle. I almost busted a tire in Chinle, which is a small town to the west of the Canyon de Chelly NM, an Anasazi historic site. The town is the last place for nearly 75 miles to eat or fill up. While I was changing my tires, I was being watched by a band of curious, loose horses. Red Mesa. There are, in fact, red mesas here. Mexican Water. There is not any water here, let alone that of the Mexican variety. Rock Point. Round Rock. There is, in fact, more than a few red rocks here. Many Farms. I wouldn't say "many." Ganado. Here the desert becomes a bit more green. Cross Canyon. The area around here is a large and beautiful, well-spaced pine forest. The road is busy with Navajo coming to and from Window Rock to the east. St. Michaels. Window Rock.  A large town at the New Mexico border that is home to many artists.

I learned a lesson about desert driving when a heat nearing 100 degrees ripped apart my tires near Chinle. A couple of horses watched me change the tire. (2007)

There are more than a few loose horses, goats, sheep, and feral dogs in the deserts of Apache County. (2007)