The kindness of strangers
I’ve been on a road trip for almost 4 months now. I’m collecting stories, and collecting friends. My biggest adventure to date has to be the trip out to Alstrom Point, a location near Page, Arizona which looks out over Lake Powell. It’s a 25 mile drive on a combination of clay and soot and ash, that is completely benign when dry, but absolutely impassable when wet. Absolutely.
Ruby, (my Rubicon), and I made the drive out to the point around noon, watching the clouds start to pile up, expecting that we were going to be in for a real treat at sunset. I spent the day reading, practicing yoga, and generally wasting time. That’s what you do when you think the sunset is going to be incredible. Stay for the shot ! But as sunset appeared the clouds continued to thicken, until there was no light anywhere in the sky, just huge thunderclouds. Everywhere. I checked my phone, and sure enough, the forecast was for thunder and lightning all night long. Not a good thing where you’re on the edge of a cliff in the middle of nowhere. Then the first bolt of lightning struck, way off in the distance but definitely headed our way.
After a very unsettling night of constant thunder, lightning, torrential rain and gusts of wind which made me think that Ruby and I might just slide right off the side of the cliff into Lake Powell, I finally woke up at 530am, peeked out the window of my penthouse and got out to photograph the moon dancing behind clouds. I photographed sunrise, and low lying clouds which filled my camera with specters dancing through the frame.
We sat and watched the light changing, and then Ruby decided she was ready to off road into deep thick mud that turned to clay as we attempted to make the 25 mile trip back to civilization.
Ruby must not have gotten enough sleep as she stopped after two miles, and refused to go another inch, in foot and tire sucking mud that’s still caked on my shoes. I called a towing company, who told me that they would just send a Rubicon out to get Ruby, and proceeded to help me put her in the right gears to get her moving again.. I also gave her some coffee.
We traveled a few miles, and then sat 30 minutes basking in the sun, (actually waiting for the mud to harden a little). A Ford F150 pulled up behind us, and I jumped out to find two girls driving, Shyanne Yazzie and Erin, my Heroes, who were just as surprised to see “a chick” driving Ruby. They stayed with me the whole way out, showing me how to test the rivers created by the flash floods, filming me going through one of them, and then heading to Page together to wash the mud off of our vehicles. I washed Ruby for 30 minutes, and realized that the driver’s side fender was gone – nothing left, just the buttons that held it on ! I guess the mud sucked it off of her !
She looked pretty clean, but when I got her on the road, she was bouncing all over the place making me think she was out of alignment, or drunk on tequila. We made it to Kanab at 5pm, I pulled into a tire and brake shop, and Shannon, the owner, after hearing about the mud, and even though it was closing time, proceeded to take the rear tires off Ruby, showing me how much mud was caked on, under, in, around, over, in every crevice imaginable, and getting harder by the minute !!! That was why Ruby had the death wobble – she was trying to bounce off all of that irritating mud. It took 2 hours to pressure clean, poke and prod the mud off of the tires and brakes, and everything behind and under Ruby. My Hero.
I decided that after camping in a thunder and lightning storm last night, that the Parry Hotel, the cutest hotel in Kanab, would be the perfect place to regroup for the night. The front desk clerk, after hearing my Alstrom story put me in one of the nicest rooms they have, the Julie Newmar room, ( she was Catwoman in the old Batman and Robin series), a room with a jacuzzi. Another Hero.
The kindness of strangers.