Montana Wolf

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brake, Park n Stay?

The day before I departed Bisbee I was walking around some mesquite scrub and spied a folded piece of paper on the ground. It turned out to be a typed list of over 100 sensor points that alert border patrol of movement of "illegals." Bridges, culverts, roads... the list was double sided and covered the large area from Sierra Vista to east of Bisbee. There were handwritten notes on it. Did it fly out of a border patrol vehicle or was it dropped by a fleeing migrant or narco runner? It was a mystery I wouldn't solve as I turned north and prepared to meet a good friend in Sedona for a few days of hiking. I've gotten used to the fact that mysteries come and go on the road, as metaphors pile up. A few hours before I was to leave I was hooking up my trailer, applied my foot to the emergency brake and the pedal went straight to the floor. In other words, I was taking to the road, towing a trailer, w/o a back up brake.

Sexy Sedona would not have been a stop had it not been for my friend who had hiked there many
times. The RV park was $60 a night, which came close to cancelling out a decade of boondocking for free in the wilds. (Slight exaggeration.) I was immersed in birdsong along Oak Creek, in the shade of a sycamore bosque, but once out of the park I entered urban sprawl, a series of vortex round-abouts and streets lined with crystal chakra cleansing rainbow sale signs, followed by multi-million dollar homes smattered between the most beautiful rock and paprika-red canyons you can imagine. We never found ourselves alone on trails, weekdays or not. There were either constant lines of hikers or gaudy pink jeeps running tourists parallel to our footprints. Solitude was an endangered species. I admit to being entranced by the flutist on the rock spire at the head of a canyon, until he looked down and waved and we came upon a tour group, the leader pointing him out.  Sedona is upscale-fine and fancy for most seekers'n travelers but I was headed for Valley of the Gods, where as far as I knew, silence still pressed against the soul.

I hadn't been to VOG, west of Bluff UT for several years. Most travelers stop further south in Monument Valley. I held my breath as I turned truck and trailer onto the gravel road, crossed the arroyo and began the winding journey into the red stone monoliths. I exhaled as I saw that the place  hadn't changed... there were no formal campgrounds or any off-putting infrastructure. It was wild, dark and remote as ever. I was ecstatic.

Boondock Heaven
I spent two nights at VOG, hiking plateaus and washes and sitting by rock pools of water. I rose with the sun for best light and shadows and read David Abram's latest book, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. Mostly, I shook off the SO-Sedona experience as an edgey anxiety crept into my spirit.

Teak, Hobo and I continued on to Mancos and Cortez. We're parked on the outskirts where my friend Babette anxiously awaits the birth of her grandson who is overdue by a few days. I took my bike in for a tune-up this week. The brakes were shot (uh hum) and it needed new cables. Five minutes from being done and ready for pick up, the shift casing exploded. I laughed and suggested I come back in the morning and start fresh. I have brakes again and a bike that transitions beautifully into different gears. Meanwhile, the mechanic phoned this morning and my truck is getting a new emergency brake cable today.

All this brake stuff, as my edginess transitions into a growing desire to shift the balance of my travels. I've been on the road close to ten years, full time. There's a longing welling up. A feeling that I want to settle in, unpack my measly little storage shed and call one place home; to have a base as I travel about. I don't know where that place is and Goddess only knows what all this means. I was already looking for a place to park next winter to write the sequel to Drive Me Wild. It's just that park has taken on wider connotations.

Now, where's that sheet with the sensor locations?

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