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Oct 10

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Changing plans and feeling like quitting

With only 180 or so miles to Marble Canyon, the plan for today had been to sleep in a bit later, have breakfast, and spend some time exploring the Homolovi ruins, before taking off.  However, I did not sleep too well.  My dislocated right collar bone keeps me from sleeping on my side for long, and sleeping on my back is something I have never been able to do.  So, I was up just before sunrise.  As has been my habit now, I checked the weather forecast, not only in the Homolovi ruins area, but also ahead to Marble Canyon.  A weather warning was in effect.  A Pacific system was moving into the area, bringing rain on Thursday, but ahead of it, strong winds between 20-25 mph, with gusts of 50 mph.  Not good.  Since I was supposed to able make it to Marble Canyon by 10:30 am if I left early, my best bet was to get packed and leave.  And so I did.  The only sightseeing I was able to get in was a ride through Winslow, taking a segment of the Old Route 66.
I was then on Interstate 40 towards Flagstaff, for about 50 miles.  The temperature was in the 40s, but with the wind chill generated by the movement of the motorcycle it certainly felt lower.  Still, I was bundled up and feeling pretty good.  However, with more than 30 miles to go West on IH-40 until my turn North on AZ highway 89, the predicted winds started hitting me with a fury from the South.  I was riding the right lane, being pushed sideways from the center of the lane to the white line to my right.  I started to lower the speed, and turned on my hazard lights being afraid that a big 18 wheeler might plow me down.  Fortunately they had to slow down too, though not as much as me.  This was nerve racking, and I felt my upper torso starting to tighten up with tension.  The only relief came from the brief moments when a trailer truck would pass me on the left, forming a temporary protective wall.  For a while I tried to keep up with them, but that did not work for long, since the FedEx truck I was shadowing showed me his displeasure of being locked onto the left lane.  So, my only hope was that as I turned North onto 89, the wind would be blowing from behind me, and things would improve. 
Just outside Flagstaff I turned onto 89 and things did indeed improve.  The wind was not as bad, but the temperature at 7,000 was still bone chilling.  Even though the whole process only lasted for about 1 hr, I was still contemplating giving up.  Thoughts of, ‘I hate this’, ‘This is not fun’, ‘This is the last one, and ‘I am too old for this’ were filling my mind.  Even with such a short ‘treatment’, I could relate to the life of victims of trafficking, whose minds are systematically broken through physical and emotional abuse, creating the chains of their captivity. 
Thankfully for me, I came to a gas station in Cameron, and after resting for a moment, a fresh cup of coffee, and a glance at the map, I felt like moving further.  However, while I was there, I rechecked the weather warnings.  They also mentioned that the rain predicted for Thursday could possible freeze, and there was also a chance for snow.  Another change of plans.  I could see, and actually wanted, spending the night near Marble Canyon, however, I did not want to drive in the rain, with a chance of sleet and snow, and spending an additional day there was not what I had in mind.  So, I rerouted and headed to Page, AZ, one of my favorites spots in the Four Corners area, where I would hunker down on Thursday.  The landscape started to open, and warm up, after Cameron, and the desert landscape, made up of red slick rock, and sands that range from grey, to yellow, orange, red and brown, filled my eyes. This is the kind of imagery that keeps me coming back.  My mind set was no longer on quitting.  Instead it was on rethinking my route to deal with the new challenges of riding in weather I am not used to, and dealing with the government closures of National Parks.
Another thing that the ladies at the gas station in Cameron had told me was that I would need to reroute into Page since 89 would not go all the way.  Ahead of me were 30 miles of more glorious scenery, until, right in the middle of nowhere, like the ladies said, I came to a gas station, and a road to the right.  On this I rode into Page, and after settling into my hotel, I was off to Horseshoe Bend, just 3 miles up to road  The place seemed like a shrine.  Tons of people were making their way up the red sand dune and down to the edge of the deep u-shaped river bed, hundreds of feet deep, carved in the red sedimentary sandstone, by the deep green river at the bottom.  I spent the next hour or more there, listening to people marvel at the Bend in all sorts of languages.  Among them was a man from the Netherlands, with whom I spent quite a bit of time in conversation.  What was more endearing about it was that he looked like my dear friend Matthias Kuch.  That is if Matthias was 70 years old 🙂

More tomorrow.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jaderiderjourneys.com/2endslavery/2013/10/10/changing-plans-and-feeling-like-quitting/

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