December 18, 2018
Life seems to happen to me, mostly by accident. I’m the kind of person that opens up the photo app on my phone, hoping to find the correct spelling of a word in the geographic data and unintentionally learns how to create a video montage with all the pictures I took that day. The app does all the creative work and even adds a title and music. The end product is one day in our life compressed into a minute.
This morning, Joe asked me to turn off the van’s lane assist feature. A job I do daily. Afterward, an odd warning light popped up on the dashboard. At the time Joe was winding up a canyon — a road with a series of back-to-back, 180-degree turns. At the rim we pulled over at the Oak Creek Vista to read the van’s manual. It was a false alarm. I inadvertently turned off the van’s break assist feature. No need to start looking for service center.
Since we were there, we hopped out of the van to walk Molly and enjoy the view. At this popular spot, the National Forest Service allows local Indian artists to showcase their work and jewelry. I fell into a conversation with a young Navajo gentleman that suggested we visit the Navajo National Monument. We were headed to Utah and he said we would be driving in the area.
As we drove north we saw signs for Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument. We had monuments on the brain so we followed the signs. In one afternoon, we walked on a cinder path along a basaltic lava flow, and then visited the 100-plus room Wupatki Pueblo ruins. It was hard to envision a farming community thriving in the area 700 years ago in what is now a desert.
Just as the sun was sinking over the horizon, we pulled into the Sunset Campground at Navajo National Monument. It’s a free campground. Joe did some research and learned sites are available to campers on a first come first serve basis. I was worried that all the sites would be taken. In this high desert environment, you can see for miles. From our campsite we see a landscape dotted with lights — off in the distance, but we’re the only souls in the campground. A quiet ending to a travel day, thanks to my button pushing mistake.