Downtown Flagstaff, Arizona was walkable from my hotel so despite the parched day, I took the dry heat by its hand in search of dinner and let my camera catch the Keens that protect my feet and the Patagonia pants that have only been laundered in Kansas by my brother.
This has been my "WalkAbout" — my driving wilderness trek into varied landscapes without constant air-conditioning and often without the AAA map I started with because of itinerary changes.
What's been constant is the wardrobe – the pants and a torn, red bandana gifted to me in Sparta to keep my head cool and moist from the water I pour on it to stay cool. I also picked up a horsehair bracelet in Santa Fe ( since the one Deborah tied to my wrist came loose) from a merchant who understood what it feels like to unload and leave your life. He was embarrassed to say that he and his wife unloaded 8 tons of stuff before they moved to the Southwest to live a simpler life. But he was also a journeyman and like the man at the lodging both wished me well and boldly spoke blessings.
After seven days on the road the eight hour driving trance isn't as sharp as it was when I first began. Instead of watching the road with keen eyes I now slip into the desert mirage that mimics a wet highway from far and then turns dry in slow motion. Hitting Arizona I took more stops, drank more fluid and raced several trains to pass the time. I also followed rules of resting as I prepare to enter the even deeper Mojave desert.
> The changing rock colors began in Oklahoma and then went into hiding through Amarillo, Texas. The reds came shouting back once the New Mexico crossing tore passed places like Ofelia's Cafe and Root 66 for RV's. The Red Rock park and comodified American Indian blankets, jewelry, teepees, and casinos bled onto the billboards as I raced the trains out of New Mexico on the left and then into Arizona on the right. Although the sky threatened rain the winds and 111 degree heat kept pushing it away.