We left Flagstaff early, hoping to take advantage of the morning calm.
Soon we reached the highest point anywhere on I-40, which runs between North Carolina and California.
The calm didn’t last. The wind kicked up. It was not as ferocious as yesterday, but it was powerful, over 20 mph, holding us back every moment.
The road became so rough, it was like pedaling over rumble strips, for miles, without relief.
Still, we enjoyed Arizona’s beauty.
Finally! After hours of struggling against the wind and the rough pavement and the earth’s gravity, we enjoyed a 3-mile downhill run on asphalt smooth enough for a fast safe ride. We passed the first significant surface water we have seen since arriving in New Mexico: a pond held back by a fragile-looking dam.
Then, after our 3-mile foretaste, gravity became our friend in an even bigger way.
What fun! Jeffrey kept our speed under 30 mph so he could avoid fallen rocks, bits of shredded truck tires, the occasional mammal corpse, and other debris on the wide smooth shoulder. Gravity pulled us down for six miles, to Ash Fork.
We rented $29 rooms, one for us and one for George, at the Ash Fork Inn.
At dinner at Lulu Belle’s BBQ, Lacey, our excellent server who guided Jeffrey to meatless options, heard how life-or-death asylum applicants can have a lawyer only “at no expense to the government”. She said that isn’t right.
She took one of Jeffrey’s “ambassador” cards and said she will follow our progress.
We were helped today by another sort of gravity. Jeffrey received a message from Nixon, whom we met three days ago in Ramah, New Mexico. You met him in our post, “Three Americans”.
These words have gravity of a different sort. Nixon is a spiritual man, offering something precious to him. His status gives his prayers a special weight.
Jeffrey is honored to have met Nixon and is grateful for his support. Like the kind words from friends old and new, posted and written and spoken, Nixon’s spiritual gravity lightens our load.
Three quick downhill miles, followed by six more, were a relief today. But then they were over, and we had to resume fighting gravity with gravity.
(Pardon the pun.)
One of my favorite books is Lonesome Dove and when I read it I was really on the trial with the cattle herders. When it rained it rained on me too. Now I feel the wind, and the gravity, and the rocky road.
Glad you kept that six mile run down the mountain around 30 mph!! I probably would have been tempted to take it up a bit which probably would not have been a good move.[ðµ] Sounds like you and Joey make a very savvy team and good decisions!!
Very moving story about Nixon, Jeffrey. You are our ambassador for American ideals….and just basic goodness!
Here’s some more gravity to support your journey. I send you energy each night when I hear the beep of my app to remind me to count the Omer (count Omer in the comfort of my home while you count the miles on your arduous journey). Love reading your reports and viewing your photos.
My goodness, what an inspiration you are, Jeffrey! And such an interesting and well written blog. Tom would certainly have loved this. All the very best to you on this journey. Regards, Barbara Rugh Robeson, Tom’s sister.
I love your writings so much
You should put them all in one book ! Stay safe xx