November 4th –November 11th

Last night we had the privilege of camping in 18 degree weather, nature welcoming us to Chaco Canyon. Even though I slept in the back of our van, I was just as cold in there as I would have been outside. At 11:00 we took a tour of the Una Vida dwelling, the ruins closest to the visitors center. The region contains dwellings that date around 850 to 1250 A.D. Remaints of the dwellings of the ancient Pueblo people are still intact. Our guide informed us about the possible useses of the ruins, because there is no way to identify the exact reason that each building was build and how it was used. After the hour-long tour we made lunch before heading out to Pueblo Bonito for the 2:00 tour. Our guide led us through the ruins, which were beautiful. It was amazing to see the building in person, and hear the history surrounding it. After the tour we drove to Gallup and spent the night with Tim, another friend of Ole’s.
The next morning we woke up early to drive down to El Morro, New Mexico. Abby and I decided to add a couple of days in El Morro to our Free Travel plans, and I’m so glad that we did. We stayed in a cabin at Ancient Ways Cafe and Campground. After unloading the van, Abby and I went to make plans for the day. We called Amy and Louis, friends from a few days ago on our first drive through El Morro, and they came out to meet us. We talked a lot about energy work, and healing. It was very informative, and I really wish we could have spent more time in El Morro with them. We love you guys!
We spent Tuesday morning at Inscription Rock Cafe, next door to Ancient Ways for our journaling hour. I had the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie- yum! After journal hour we went back to the cabin and dispersed for free time until lunch. Only two of the four shops and art gallaries in the area were open on Tuesday, so our choices were limited. However, we had an excellent last morning in El Morro. Amy and Louis stopped by on their way to lunch at the cafe, so we were able to say our goodbyes. It was with heavy hearts that the five of us left El Morro. I know that I will be back soon, but it is hard to leave friends behind and continue the journey forward.
We drove off to Alberquerque, and the KOA, where we would be urban camping for the next few days. We drove to the University of New Mexico campus and walked around. Heather and I grabbed tater tots from the Sonic on campus, much to the chagrin from Abby and Ole, who majorly scolded Heather for giving in to the power of the tater tots. It was cool to learn that there is another closeted tater tot lover on this journey. After that we drove back to camp, have dinner and bed. The rest of our time in Alberquerque was spend as follows: Wednesday we headed to the Co-Op down town to get some groceries. From there we stopped by the “Cowboys and Indians” antique shop, which wasn’t what I expected it to be. We left pretty quickly, and walked around a bit before lunch in the park. We then stopped by the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center and explored the museum there and all of the interesting exhibits that they provided. It was really neat to learn more about the cultures and look around at some of the artwork. After that we drove to the UNM campus to watch the Native dancing. It was a beautiful experience. Then, Heather, Mike, Abby and I walked to Frontier’s for an hour of journaling and to grab a bite to eat.
Thursday we drove up to the Sandea Mountains and hiked on the Doc Long trail. I enjoyed sitting on a bench and listening to the strange Blue Jay like birds (research tells me that they were probably Steller’s Jay’s [http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HOnIeWwNXUs/TauHXV5dNtI/AAAAAAAACNc/6t0EbG9hCXw/s1600/Stellers+Jay+by+Walter+Ammann.jpg]), as well as chatting with Ole. After the hike, we headed back to the KOA, got changed and drove back to the UNM campus for the fourth annual drag show, this year titled “Queerpocalypse” (https://www.facebook.com/events/434101689985507/). It was such an amazing, and fun experience, though I was exhausted at the end.
On Friday, we packed up our stuff, and said farewell to our tiny patch of gravel right next to the innerstate 40 freeway (urban camping- the best). On our way out of the city, we stopped at Walmart to grab last minute grocery items. Then, we headed for Sedona. The wind was blowing hard, and it was really dusty. It was literally cloudy with a chance of tumbleweed- one even bounced off the windshield. Once we got closer to Flagstaff, the dust and wind died off and it started to rain. When we reached Sedona, and our new home, the Super 8, we unpacked and had free time to do with as we pleased.
Saturday morning we called home and had the conflict resolution meeting about V.O.M.P.ing, before we headed to Uptown Sedona to explore. And as for the rest of the meeting, what happens in the Vortex, stays in the Vortex. Heather and Mike’s friend Scott was in town so he spent the day with us. We split up once we were there, and all went off to see different things. Abby and I spent some time in a few of the chrystal shops, but we ended up at a cafe called “Pink Java Cafe”. It was cool just hanging out and drinking coffee- it was freezing, and had been snowing for a bit before the clouds blew out. We headed back to the van around 5:40, but when we got there, no one was there. Abby and I went in search of a bathroom, only to have Ole come over and tell us to follow him. Naturally, we did, only to find ourselves crashing an art auction fundraising for art scholarships. Not only that, we also ate their food. It was an interesting experience but I was glad to go. (Ole did give a donation at the end). When we returned to the hotel, we went to the Heart of Sedona cafe for journaling hour. Back at the hotel, we had an awesome massage train and snuggle fest. Scott was included, and it was a great group bonding experience.
Sunday we had a Vortex tour with Rebbekah Two-Moons and Bear. We learned about the medicine wheel and meditated by the Oak Creek. It was a beautiful experience. After the tour, we returned to have lunch at Indian Gardens, across from the creek. The food was really good! Our time in Sedona and on Free Travel has been an interesting experience. Though we tended to wake up each day without a clear idea about what we would be doing, each experience has been valuable and enjoyable. Sedona is a beautiful place, and I look forward to returning someday and exploring more of the region.
–Hannah