Colorado Plateau Nerds


Driving west of Bernalillo, looking for the fault line. Rich and I have become Colorado Plateau nerds—and interested in where it starts and stops. Just ahead, beyond a red sign advertising WELDING in red caps I see the plateau’s uplift—formations in white rock, red rock, and in uranium rich yellow.
The traffic sign reads HILL BLOCKS VIEW—which Rich points out should be posted frequently all over New Mexico. It’s the first day of Daylight Savings. We’re on the checkerboard of the Navajo Rez, skirting the boundary, passing chapter houses. Watertower, tiny town, butte—could be anywhere in any desert—but the name is in Navajo, printed on the tower. In Arizona, the state is on “God’s Time” (i.e. Standard Time) while the Rez is on Daylight Savings (i.e. to line up with Utah and New Mexico.) Today Arizona is the only one of the Four Corners we’ll miss.
We pass a very long army convoy, and debate a picnic lunch. It’s about 50 degrees F., windy. Rich finds this perfectly acceptable picnic weather—I’m less sure. We head towards Dad’s Diner in Farmington. We can be entertained—and are—by a giant chicken or rooster on the roof of a store. Or, more oddly, a truck lifted on a pole—with its bed carrying a large crucifix. Maybe best not to parse this one too closely.

snow-capped mountains
seemingly reflected
in the clouds

Dad’s is a Starlight pre-fab, built about twenty years ago, I think. We sit at the counter beneath the pressed tin ceiling and above the green and white checkered tile floor. And eat a lavish meal, which includes both salsa and pancakes. The teenager next to me is reading THE LAST UNICORN, and she’s charmed when I say I love it.

red bluffs seem to flow but it’s the green river that streams by us


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