Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Trip Start Apr 12, 1992
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13
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Trip End Jun 15, 1992


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, April 24, 1992

It matters not how long we live, but how.
Bailey
4-24-92
Keams Canyon, Arizona
Cool, clear (a beautiful day)

I spent my first night ever in a public campground. It was crowded, afforded no privacy, resounded with the noise of loud voices, barking dogs, and radios. People were camped in tents of all sizes, in vans, station wagons,trailers, and large motor homes.

One huge motor home sported a large green carpet that covered a room-sized area around the entrance. These fastidious campers had no reason to get their feet dirty. A TV antenna dish sprouted from the roof.

Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. For me, one was "don't run out of beer on an Indian reservation." There was plenty of evidence lying about that Indians do drink beer, however it cannot be purchased legally. Some one here is doing a brisk business in bootleg alcohol. Bootleggers must really love the Carrie Nation types. Without the blue-noses to create profitable markets for illicit booze the bootleggers kids might not be able to go to law school and learn to defend their dads when they are apprehended.

Other lessons i learned are:
Keep plenty of gas in your tank.
Shower whenever you have an opportunity.
don't wait till you wear your last clean socks to look for a laundromat. I washed my stuff at a coin laundry in Chinle. All the other patrons were Indian women. They seemed a bit amused to see me there. Maybe Indian men don't do laundry, or perhaps they could tell I wasn't an expert at the chore.

A sign in the laundry stated, "Wash clothes at your own risk. Water is yellow."

It was still early when I started a tour of the canyon rim. There were more tourists here than i expected, especially French and German. One middle aged German gentleman became quite angry when he could not get a large group of school kids to remain silent while he video taped a canyon scene. They had no way to know he was also recording sound, and probably wouldn't remain quiet if they had known.

By late afternoon I was on the road again, heading south on US-191, then west on Ariz-264 to Steamboat Canyon and Keams Canyon on a Hopi Reservation where I stopped for the night. I drifted off listening to an Indian radio station. Much of the commentary I couldn't understand but the music was okay, lots of drums and chanting.
There were more tourists here than I expected
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