Four Corners – All the States at Once

16 Aug

Today, we held our annual tradition of starting the academic year with faculty meetings. I say that because my colleague in history said that my last post left him in suspense. He had to know what my wife and I argued about. Well, here it is.

She wanted to start the next day with whitewater rafting. I knew that we had a long drive through desolate territory ahead of us and did not want to get a late start. This went back and forth for a while on the sidewalks of Durango, and, at some point, I brought up the wine that was served on the train. That is when my stepdaughter and her friend walked off and left us to our discussion.

The next morning, we were back at that same spot to go whitewater rafting.

Our guide arrived on his motorcycle, and the girls went kind of googily eyed. His name was Paden, and I immediately wondered if he was named for Kevin Kline’s character in Silverado. That probably means I have seen that movie too many times.

It was a good ride. We hit a enough rapids to make it interesting, but it was mostly a smooth ride. Paden talked about going to college and about life in Durango. I never did ask him if he was named after a character in a movie.

After the boat ride, we headed further down Highway 160 and passed through towns like Hesperus, Mancos and Cortez. After that, we did not pass much, and my wife began to realize why I wanted to get off to a good start. When we arrived at our destination, she admitted that she was hoping we did not have a flat tire.

Despite the desolation, we were not out there alone. A bunch of cars were on the road, and many of them were going to the same place that we were going – Four Corners.

When I was a kid, we went to Four Corners, the place where four states come together. I remember that my dad could not find it, and we drove back and forth for a while. When we finally got there, it was a round slab with the borders outlined. There were not many people, and you could walk around on the slab.

Now, Four Corners is completely different. They charge to get in, and an entire complex has been built. The state borders are in a theater type setting that can be used for ceremonies, and booths filled with Native American wares surround it all. On top of that, you have to stand in line to get a picture at the Four Corners.

Like everyone else, we stood in line and got a picture. I am pretty sure that I am standing in Utah. My wife is in Colorado, and the girls are in New Mexico and Arizona. image-42

At least, I am standing in Utah if that is the correct Four Corners. I did not tell anyone, but there is a chance that the real spot is somewhere in the distance.

Oh yeah, we took this picture, too.image-43

We left Four Corners and made our way through the Navajo Nation. I have been through different parts of the Nation, and I always wonder the same thing. How do people make a living out there? I know that poverty is everywhere, but, in my mind, reservations are the epitome of the problem. On top of that, I do not see many people speaking in support of Native Americans. I guess it is out of sight, out of mind.

After hours of driving by me and hours of worrying by my wife, we made it to Tuba City, Arizona and turned off Highway 160 for the first time in a few days. From there, we made our way to our ultimate destination – the Grand Canyon.

When my wife asked me to describe the Grand Canyon, I could not do it. I told her that she had to see it for herself. When arrived just before sunset and had to drive through the park to get to our hotel. There was enough light to stop and look at it. That is when they understood what I had been saying. The Grand Canyon has to be seen.

We took pictures, but they are not as good as the pictures we took the next day.


10 Responses to “Four Corners – All the States at Once”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong August 16, 2016 at 02:06 #

    Yes, you have to see it to “get” it. Because pictures don’t really give you the sensation of being there.

    • Rick August 16, 2016 at 03:04 #

      I think it’s impossible to get a picture of the Grand Canyon. It can’t be captured.

  2. sittingpugs August 16, 2016 at 11:17 #

    I like the photo with the sandals.

    • Rick August 16, 2016 at 13:53 #

      Thanks. We saw somebody else do it first.

  3. Andrew Petcher August 16, 2016 at 16:42 #

    Thanks for the memory nudge. That place has changed a great deal in 20 years …

    • Rick August 17, 2016 at 03:20 #

      That’s the monument I remember.

      • Andrew Petcher August 17, 2016 at 12:11 #

        I have never been able to adequately describe the Grand Canyon or the experience of being there and seeing it. I cannot think of anywhere else that has rendered me so speechless. I just tell people that it is too big and too magnificent for words!

      • Rick August 17, 2016 at 14:09 #

        That’s what I told my wife. When she saw it, she understood what I meant. I will have a lot to say about it in my next post.

  4. jcalberta August 19, 2016 at 15:23 #

    Duel in Durango?
    Hey! Siverado is a good movie! I’m trying to decide whether it’s Classic or not. It’s darn close.
    “4 corners” ? at least there isn’t tank traps and troopers like you find at many borders on this planet.
    Grand Canyon … always figured I couldn’t see enough of it. Wanted to take a helicopter of plane tour – but couldn’t afford it. But there’s always YouTube I guess …

    • Rick August 21, 2016 at 19:11 #

      In my mind, Silverado is definitely a classic. I just wish they had made a sequel.

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