I can’t believe I am covering so much territory and doing so much in a day. Today I walked around the dinosaur footprints, drove to the Grand Canyon, and toured around it by car and on foot—and then drove all the way to Flagstaff.
I ended the day feeling like a fool and a stupid gringo for paying way too much at the dinosaur track place (see review). Still, I don't regret stopping there; it was fascinating and off the beaten track.
After the dinosaur tracks, I stopped at the junction of Highways 89 and 64 at Cameron, with a motel, a large store, and a gallery. The gallery has the most beautiful Indian crafts, including some venerable older items. Prices start in the high three digits, well above my price range. An older native man was the proprietor, or clerk, or maybe the artist-in-residence. He was playing an Indian flute, making the most beautiful music, the whole time I walked around in there. The store, in a separate building, had everything from tourist dreck to high-quality pottery and other crafts, and the prices seemed reasonable.
The drive from Cameron to the Grand Canyon was on Route 64 and was beautiful, especially the last 20 or so miles. And there I was back into the mainstream tourist scene (see review).
From the Grand Canyon, I took Highway 180 into Flagstaff. The drive was very nice, no traffic at all, over mountains, with pine trees and some aspens or birch. It was early evening, and I saw four or five groups of deer, happily munching and unafraid of cars.
In Flagstaff, I turned right on Route 66. There are loads of motels, restaurants, and stores. I stayed at Budget Inn. It was fine, right for my budget, and—what mattered most—it had free wireless Internet.
I’d been considering driving though Hopi country after Flagstaff, but after today's experience, I decided to skip it. I did call the Hopi Cultural Center, which seems to be mostly a hotel and restaurant. The hotel is out of my price range, and the woman on the phone said there are no activities going on, just vendors outside the hotel. I am not really into shopping, and given that there are no ceremonies or other activities that they knew of open to the public, I have no reason to go there. Oh, I could hire a guide and hike, but that’s exactly what today’s experience turned me off to.
My home is the road now. My community consists of the cars that I am driving behind or in front of, and oh yeah, the people in those cars. I go through the towns. Some cars turn off after only 5, 20, or 50 miles. Those people live in the places I am passing through. They sleep in the same place every night. In my home, they are the transients. They come onto the road and then they leave. I live there.