An Off-road Caravan

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November 14, 2022, Cortez, CO- As I approached the small community of Tonalea, AZ, en route to Monument Valley, a man in an orange vest held up a sign that said “Emergency ahead”. I came to a line of stopped traffic, and waited patiently for about twenty minutes, as it slowly inched forward, every so often.

Then, I noticed more and more people were taking an alternative, rough dirt route, which I figured would take us past the stalled traffic. So, once close enough to the entry to that of-road track, I joined the somewhat more steadily-moving queue. This brought back memories of visiting various traditional Dineh families, by taking similar tracks, up mesas or through sage-laden deserts.

Every so often,as the caravan inched along, a Navajo policeman or local volunteer would reassure us that we were on the right path. At one point, we encountered people coming the other way. Some of the caravaners opted to go up a somewhat steep bank of soft sand. That did not work for Sportage, so the oncoming vehicles backed up, until the five vehicles behind me, and I, had passed through.

When we got to a gravel church access road, 5 miles along and an hour later, the emergency had cleared and we were all back on the highway. Sportage was no worse for the wear, and I got to Monument Valley around 3:15, which allowed for a short, but satisfying stop near The Mittens, and other nearby formations. It was still a bit nippy, so a short visit was all that I was up for, anyway.

Here are some scenes from that stop.

Sentinel Mesa, west of The Mittens
West Mitten
East Mitten and Elephant Butte
Spearhead Mesa
The Mittens and Elephant Butte

The upshot is that I will surely return at some point in the relatively near future, to hike Navajo Trail, which goes near various of the formations.

Duty called, though, and as the saying goes “Responsibility never takes a vacation.” I delivered a box of Baha’i materials to a Dineh friend, in Aneth, about an hour east of Monument Valley, then stopped for the night at Tomahawk Inn, in this Four Corners hub, so as to have the WiFi needed to host a Zoom meeting. Life, even with challenges such as the off-road experience is very sweet.

Ownership

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August 22, 2022- It is essential to own what’s yours.

It was an “oops” morning. I had made a wrong notation on my place of assignment, for this morning’s efforts. As far as I can figure, two assignments popped up, at the same time, and I clicked on one, while mentally registering the other. It all worked out, and I did some good work at Location B. Once done, an acknowledgement of my error was in order, and Supervisor gave me a pass-and a pat on the back, for overall excellent work. It pays to own one’s behaviour and its results.

It is essential to relinquish what is no longer yours. The title to Saturn Vue was returned to me, due to a slight gap in communication, itself stemming from momentary uncertainty from the insurance companies and body shop, as to the reparability of the vehicle. This afternoon, I returned the title, one more time, to the insurance company. This time, it will stay with them, as the law requires. Kia Sportage is now my road friend, and the settlement funds were transferred to the dealership, as agreed.

It is essential to own one’s love for humanity. I returned to the Open Feed, in which I assisted two weeks ago, letting the team know that my absence last week had nothing to do with having been threatened by a disgruntled homeless man. God knows, I ignore threats and go with what my heart says. The diners thanked me for ladling the soup, after which it was prudent to help the lone janitor by folding up chairs, so that he could focus on vacuuming the huge carpet. There is no daylight between my feelings for homeless veterans and undocumented immigrants; for people of colour and “rednecks”; for known friend and “stranger”.

It is essential to own one’s dignity and worth. Love for humanity does not mean enabling the grifter, the liar, the imposter. In fact, the opposite is true. Making such people either follow the Golden Rule, or cutting off all contact with them, is the true loving choice. I have elaborated on that, previously, but mention it here, lest trolls try to engage in false equivalency.

It is essential to own what’s yours, and relinquish what isn’t.

A Fresh Start-Almost

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August 18, 2022- The process of procuring a motor vehicle is far easier now, than it was even ten years ago. The selection, documentation and approval of my purchase took slightly less than two hours. Digitization certainly has much to do with that, as does surety, as to what one wants in a car. I am now the tentative owner of a vehicle that is of later model than any I have owned, up to this point.

The day proceeded well, even though the classroom where I worked today was short-staffed. The three of us kept order and got some teaching done, with intermittent help from others, here and there. There were no major issues. It helped that those two students who began acting out were set straight, as to what would be tolerated and what would not.

After turning in a rental car, I retrieved the KIA Sportage from the dealership, finding it a pleasure to drive and feeling good about the updated technology, that is so commonplace for a lot of people. The Sportage offers just as much security as the Saturn did, so I am not concerned about safety on the road, as long as I follow the maintenance schedule.

All that remains now is to get the title to Saturn back to the insurance company, which for some reason sent it back to me, after it was mailed to them once. There seems to be a minor gap in understanding, at some point in the company’s organization.

I am almost enjoying a fresh start.