Day 22 26th
We woke at a reasonable hour & headed to the canyon for a final farewell.
Again, the authorities took a disliking to those who don’t conform & growled at us for standing too near the edge.
We moved on & Oksana & Sock Slide Ben, with love in their hearts, decided to take us to the junction that best afforded us getting to Colorado. (About 100 miles out of their way.)
No sooner had they pulled up at the intersection & given us hugs, than a truck pulling out scooped us inside & drove us through the Arizona desert.
They talked about the stigma the Native American people have been given & without attempting to justify themselves, instead went on to talk about the beliefs of their people. They told us of spiritual significances of certain animals & actions, stopped off at dinosaur prints, gave us free beer & showed with pride the town they had been building.
They taught us Navajo for thank you & good bye, wished us well, turned around & went back into the town they’d taken us to the outskirts of for best hitch hiking prospects.
Not long later, a mother & her son drove by, turned around & came back for us.
We fitted without issue.
They were crock wearers too! Monks in half disguise perhaps.
Once they dropped us off, Nate went & talked to a huge RV owner, who’s t-shirt stated, ‘Stay back 100 feet or I'll shoot.’ Nate, brave, or insolent, was lucky to get away with his life, but also discovered that no riders were welcome.
But we didn’t have to wait too much longer before another Navajo pulled up & squeezed us & our packs into his hatchback.
Albert Tenhorn spoke of the beliefs of the Navajo people also & about the language being illegal. He was committed to fighting to speak his own native tongue without the risk of being arrested.
He passed around some bootleg malt liquor, telling us the Navajo prophesies of 2012, similar to the Egyptian & Mayan ones, regarding the last days on earth. He went on to talk about a man's best friend needing to be himself & that the longest journey a man ever takes is from his head to his heart.
Albert eventually allowed Nate to drive, as he didn’t want to make us feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
We arrived at a section of road where he knew a man who bootlegged who he thought may welcome us in for a few quiet drinks & a laugh, but when we pulled in, that friend was repairing a friend’s car, so couldn’t play.
Farther down the road, he told us there was another friend who sold bootleg, but it was dangerous & he couldn’t go in, because he was with the law & they knew him.
He repeated again that it was dangerous, but asked that Nate go in for him, handing him the money & saying he'd have his back from the car, should anything go awry. Our brave camera man, always up for an adventure, took the money & headed to the house. Paul decided he should probably join him, just as a safety precaution.
People slowly emerged from the house & surrounded Nate & Paul, but it turned out that that bootlegger didn’t have any supplies either. They laughed about the bad scalping the last tribe had done to Paul's head & referred them down the road.
As they were telling Nate & Paul where they needed to go, another car pulled in, one of the men came out of the house with two flagons, handed them through the window & then they drove off again.
We decided that a party with Tenhorn was probably going to be long & messy, so thanked him, took our bags & headed for the freeway.
As we walked along, a fresh faced man about our own age called out to us from his truck, asking where we were headed. We told him & he offered us a ride to the outskirts of town.
I drove up front with Orlando & as we crossed the river, he explained to me the custom of offerings to cross waters. He took out a small pouch, said a quiet prayer & sprinkled corn pollen out the window.
Orlando was one of the most profoundly interesting people I’ve met so far on the trip. He has travelled a lot, both within the States & abroad & with deep conviction, told me of his people & of his desire to see them progressing with a sense of pride & self worth. He’s studying horticulture & has many ideas of how to implement his learning into his home environment.
He also talked about spiritual things, both personal & relating to the days we’re living in.
He took us well beyond the town limits, first to a roadside Indian stall, where beautiful necklaces of turquoise at bargain prices were being sold. Dean was working in the stall &, after hearing what we were doing, told me to take my pick of necklaces for free. I was at a loss for words.
Thank you so much Dean & Orlando.
Then Orlando took us out to Monument Valley, not only paying our $15 entrance fee, but also buying us water.
He told us about the valley & each monument's specific significance, before taking us back out to the highway, giving us dream beads for keeping nightmares at bay & wishing us all the best.
We waited on the side of the road & watched car loads of people going up the adjacent road, either to church, or to a dance that we were invited to.
A bike pulled over for a chat. He was a friendly guy with lots of interesting things to say. Unfortunately he was going the wrong way, but didn’t have room for two monks, a camera man & their bags anyway.
Beccy finally pulled over, just on sunset. Brave girl to pick up three stray men on dusk in the middle of no where. But she did it regardless, saying she'd driven by other hitchers, but discerned we were ok. I was impressed that she trusted her discernment over the fears portrayed by the media & pleased it was right. We chatted all the way to Mexican hat, where she got a hotel & took our batteries & laptop to her room to charge.
We waited to meet up with her in a classic old-school bar; animal sculls, confederate flag & John Wayne pics inclusive. We were a little concerned that the Mexican monk may loose some teeth. We were pleased that as we entered the music didn’t scratch to a stop, though the heads certainly did turn.
I wish I had more space to describe JB. He came & talked to us, beginning with the merits of bums & the protocol of hitchhiking, but moving on to expound all kinds of political profundities & on to oil alternatives & nuclear merits. He talked about uranium mining & conspiracy theories surrounding them, the merits of hard work, the joys of family & community & the importance of communication & listening to those from different cultural walks.
I think we all walked away shellshocked. One of the more colourful people we’ve met…and in the most unexpected place & frame.
A lesson in judging by externals I guess.
When the bar closed & a good half hour after all the lights had been extinguished, JB finished telling us 'If these three clowns are the best the country can come up with for president, we'd best run for the hills with a sack of taters.' He closed with his ideas about the probability of Hillary running as vice-president so when Abama gets assassinated by any one of three probables, she'll become president by default.
On that note, we made our way down to the river to camp out.