Gravity

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We left Flagstaff early, hoping to take advantage of the morning calm.

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Our first California (Los Angeles) sign!

Soon we reached the highest point anywhere on I-40, which runs between North Carolina and California.

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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.

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The road became so rough, it was like pedaling over rumble strips, for miles, without relief.

Still, we enjoyed Arizona’s beauty.

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Red soil (this cliff face was nearly vertical) topped by trees.

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See the house at lower left?  This is a cropped bit of the original photo below; the original gives you an idea of how the land and the sky make a visitor feel grateful, and small.

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Pink flowers crept down a cliff face far above the highway.

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.

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Then, after our 3-mile foretaste, gravity became our friend in an even bigger way.

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From near the top, looking six miles down!

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.

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Flagstone capital!  Who knew?  Stones are stacked and leaned around town at various emporia in astonishing numbers.

We rented $29 rooms, one for us and one for George, at the Ash Fork Inn.

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Lois checked us in.  She has a powerful personality, and held forth on her 1980 Chevy truck, her family history back to 15th century France, Oregon, the raising of children, stupid laws, her contempt for liars, her history of fisticuffs, a recent surgery, etc., etc., etc., all in an entertaining and enlightening manner. When Jeffrey told her about the Ride and the mission of Human Rights First, Lois said emphatically that we all share the same blood.  We admire Lois and believe she never would turn away the desperate.  Not from her door.  Not from her country.

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.

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Lacey holding her new card.

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”.

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Nixon wrote:  “I did not say but I am a story teller of Ramah Navajo culture and history, Shaman and herbalist,  So I pray for a safe trip for you.  I will keep in touch.”

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.)

6 thoughts on “Gravity

  1. 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.

  2. 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.[😵] Sounds like you and Joey make a very savvy team and good decisions!!

    M

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  3. Very moving story about Nixon, Jeffrey. You are our ambassador for American ideals….and just basic goodness!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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