Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Out West Part 9: A Promise of Fireworks

We left the Grand Canyon with plenty of time to find fireworks.  The nearest display on our route home was about 130 miles north in a town called Page, AZ.  Due to the fire risk being "extreme" across the region, fireworks were not easy to come by.

 We left Grand Canyon, AZ and we were cruising along 89A and just before the Navajo Bridge, I saw some weird rocks and a lady selling something off the side of the highway.  We decided to wander the beautiful mudcliffs and strange rock dwellings.  




Apparently these dwellings were not native and were instead built by settlers and people passing through seeking more temporary shelter from the elements.

"The story of Cliff Dwellers begins during the Great Depression, when Blanche Russell gave up a highly successful dancing career back East to tend to her husband, Bill, who was suffering from tuberculosis. The couple packed up and moved to the Southwest, crossing the recently completed Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River south of Lees Ferry about 1927." -GhosttownAZ




So as my daughter was leaving the room where she posed for the picture above, we saw this terrifying little lady on the wall outside.  Apparently they are solitary dwelling wingless wasps. I would link the wiki but I like this article so much better:

"This handsome insect does make a sound (especially when stepped on) but the squeaks of the cow killer ant would hardly be heard over the painful screams, if the person stepping on the wasp was barefoot."                                                                           -Lancaster.edu
Velvet Ant aka Cow Killer Ant






Leaving Cliff Dwellers we soon discovered all the highways north to Page, AZ were shut down!  There was a landslide on 89N back in February that was still being fixed and 20N was shut down to be repaved.  Coming from a highly populated area of completely flat farm land, where a 15 minute detour was a severe inconvenience,  it had never occurred to me that there might be hours worth of additional travel time.

We checked the map and there was no way were were going to make it to Page by 9pm to see the show there.  So we were in the middle of the Navajo Nation, no hotels, no wifi, trying desperately to find fireworks in a desert.  

Okay, no problem.  I'm just a mom with a six year old that promised fireworks to my kid on the fourth of July. 




So we called information, they connected us with the Kayenta sheriff's office since that was the only thing open.  I finally got someone on the line and the phone went dead.   We started passing signs that said "McDonald's 2 hours!" It was time to start calling any friends that might be near a computer.  Finally got someone who googled the Kayenta Fireworks display for us, and we skipped the last leg of the detour saving us about an hour.

We were redirected through the beautiful Tuba City.  


Kayenta was a small town in the Navajo Nation with a population of around 5,189 at the last census.  I am pretty sure all 5,189 people were out at the fireworks. They had a huge fair, ferris wheel and all, lights, music. It was pretty awesome.  The last photo I took as my camera battery died was:


Thanks Kayenta, my daughter was thrilled. Job well done.

Ben drove us to Cortez, Colorado while the Tiny Grown Up and I slept.  We woke up and had breakfast at Benny's Diner. I would definitely eat there again.  Eggs were perfect once again.  Coffee was good and our waitress was fast.  I think I like the highway diners out west.  




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