3/12 After a great continental breakfast, Grandma and Grandpa drove me back to Gray Mountain. It’s hard to believe how fast the terrain changes in this area. Flagstaff mountains used to be volcanic and these people’s financial success is due to their large amounts of cinder. They have red and black cinder for making cinder blocks. Supposedly the black cider is more expensive due to its strength.
Now that I was a good distance from the mountains, these trees stuck out of the desert like a rare two-story house in this area. I had housing in Tuba City, 33 miles or more ahead of me. The road was busy since it was the only main highway through the area. I felt safe as long as the cars kept a wide shoulder. Randomly every couple of miles, the shoulder would appear and disappear Without the shoulder it felt like I didn’t belong and nearly every car passed too close for comfort. Over the past month a little mustache has sprouted beneath my nostrils. At first I picked up the habit of sticking out my bottom lip and rhythmically puffing air through it as I ran. Today I noticed my habit has changed to slowly parting the hair down the dead center with my tongue and carefully placing each half on its appropriate side.
Tuba City is considered the painted desert and the Navajo Indians have occupied it for some time now. Every five to ten miles I would see a booth set up on the side of the road with a lady trying to sell her crafts. They make beautiful jewelry and of course I stopped at every booth. Not to buy but to talk. Ten miles to Tuba City I turned the corner to find my answer as to why this city is considered the painted desert. Bright red jagged rocks stretched out in front of me. The dark blacktop against the overly saturated landscape of rocks and sky was a breathtaking view. It was one stretch of land I did not mind running through.