Jefe Smith rode his motorcycle on a lazy path through Arizona, Colorado and Utah in May and June visiting places he had missed on previous trips to this area. The spectacular roads and scenery of these places leave you with a reverent feeling about the age and value of our planet and what an insignificant part of it we are.
View from a rock escarpment on the Hopi Reservation which is an island in the middle of the huge Navajo Reservation. Staring out at expansive open spaces like this in the dead quiet air gives me a feeling of peace and refuge from the bs that fills our newspapers and TV screens every day. This is how I like to think of America.
The Ancient Puebloans (Anasazi is pasé among the decedents) only occupied Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Monument in southwest Colorado for about 100 years before they left, with no record as to why. They farmed on the mesas above the dwellings and made sophisticated pottery and clothing. They were considered the best dressed of the ancient Native Americans. Each block in these dwellings was hand hewn from sandstone and the walls are dead straight. For mortar they mixed clay, sand, fireplace ashes and urine. The urine did not add any strength and my guess is it was added just to mess with some wall builders they didn’t like. They didn’t use much wood in their structures which makes sense. A modern day test with a stone axe required 18000 blows to fell an 11″ diameter tree.
On the Million Dollar Highway between Durango and Ouray, Colorado. The snow came courtesy of some late May storms which draped the Rockies with unseasonal white. Those storms were mostly gone by the time I rode through, but I had the unique experience of riding through a hail storm listening to the incredible clattering of stones on my helmet. The curved road sign ahead is always one of my favorites.
Ouray, Colorado is an old mining town that had no skiable slopes nearby and just stayed an old mining town. I spent two days here hiking trails and sucking wind at 9,000 feet altitude, but the recovery was nice in the huge public hot springs at the far end of town. Spent the evenings in some pretty fine bars too.