We followed US 89 out of the east end of Flagstaff as the lengthening afternoon shadows and dropping temperatures signaled the eminence of the high desert sunset.
"How far do you think we should make it tonight?" I asked Tim as he peered at the Gazeter of Arizona.
"Ehhh it all depends..."
"Just pick a place, and we'll head there. All this," I motioned out the windshield towards the expanse of sage and sandstone, "is government land. God's country. We can camp where-ever-the-fuck-we-want."
"I know, but we're getting close to Navajo Nation. I feel weird for camping in their land."
"Are you serious? This shit is abandoned. There's a gazilion dirt roads leading off into the middle of nowhere."
"I still feel strange about it. If I were them, I wouldn't want a bunch of gringos camping on my land," Tim said, as if addressing the possibility of Sasquatch.
"Alright, alright. Let's head towards a monument then. I want to be within striking distance of Four Corners tomorrow. I can't do any more of this interstate highway shit," I said, alluding to the hours spent tracking east out of LA on the 40.
Nodding in agreement, Tim flipped to the page, searching for suitable monument or national park. " Navajo National Monument is....less than 100 miles from here. Lets head there."
"The Dude Abides."
Rolling down the window, the warm desert air masked the smell of sweat and dirt has amassed in the Syncro over the last nine months. With a destination picked, my angst settled and I stuck my hand out of the open window. Flowing like a sine wave, I hummed the melody of a familiar Warren Zevon song. The miles ticked by.
My brother Tim has a photo blog called Cairn Culture. Take a look.
Yours truly looking over the edge. Timer.
The Clan of the Van.
Burning the last rares of daylight, we pulled off the empty two lane highway and headed towards the Monument. Judging by the suns position, hovering a few degrees over the horizon to the west, we hand less than an hour before the first stars would dot the unpolluted sky.
"I wonder what's at the Navajo National Monument," I mused, half to my brother, half to my sleepy self.
"We'll see first thing in the morning."
Pulling off on a packed dirt road with scraps of spring grass growing in the middle, we headed half a mile towards a canyon. Periodic slabs of sandstone broke broke the ground, sending the Syncro on a trail that resembled a centerfold of an off road magazine. Arriving on one such sandstone bulge, I rolled to a stop.
"This looks about as good a place as any."
Pulling the parking break, I slipped into second gear and released the clutch. Popping my seat belt, I opened the door and jumped down to the still warm sand stone. Stiff from the hours of driving, I spread my arms and arched my back.
"Home is where you park it!" I laughed.
Here are some more links,