Nuts! We missed it!

“You should have been here yesterday.”

Over the years, I’ve had people tell me that. My roaming life has been like that. I’ve lucked out and happened upon some great adventures I didn’t expect.

Like one day we stopped at a campground early in the day. It was an out of the way place in Michigan. Back then it was in the countryside with lots of grassy room to park.

We set up camp and presumed the late afternoon and evening were going to be quiet and peaceful.

About ten minutes later, the first batch of vehicles arrived and started to spread out in the flat, grassy area about 100 feet from us.

It got our attention. No vehicle was less than 30 years old. These old cars were in immaculate condition as if they came directly from a showroom. More vehicles arrived as evening approached. Over 100 ancient cars of my parent’s era made grand entrances.

We wandered over and enjoyed a private viewing of this unique collection of vintage cars. They were on their way to the annual parade of vintage cars in either Flint or Detroit Michigan the next day.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed several such serendipity moments.

But not when we traveled through Shiprock, New Mexico. When planning the journey to Pagosa, Colorado I knew we would be on route 491 that would take us close to Shiprock. It is in the northeastern part of the Navajo Volcanic Field. The field includes intrusions and flows of Minette and other unusual igneous rocks that formed about 25 million years ago. What a wonderful opportunity to photograph the iconic landmark.

What I failed to understand was the wide-open spaces in this area with many Shiprock-type formations. As soon as the first formation appeared, I took my photo.


Very soon, another volcanic plug appeared. The relatively vast flat land is dotted with probably a dozen or more such formations. I guess I never saw the famous “Shiprock” one.

Here is what I missed. This photo and the quoted explanation…


shiprock graphic-400

Quoted from

“The rock was sacred to the Navajo people, who called it the “Tsé Bitʼaʼí,” or “the rock with wings.” According to legend, it’s all that remains of the giant bird that carried the Navajo from the north to New Mexico. 

As the stories go, the original Navajos lived on the rock, only coming down from its peak to plant and water their crops. One day, when the men were off the rock, lightning struck it, leaving them no way to get back to the top, or for the women and children to come down for food and water– and one of the reasons that it’s forbidden to climb the Shiprock is that the Navajo fear that the ghosts of those stranded will be disturbed.”

And I missed it. Oh well, hopefully, I will pass by this area in the future.

With any long trip, especially when traveling with Bernie and Chris, it requires rest breaks. Both dogs spent most of the time laying down. However, whenever the car’s motion changed, they were up and alert to find out what was happening.


Within an hour of being on Interstate 17, we stopped at Canyon City rest area. It is a beautiful dip between hills; maybe they are low mountain foothills.

Black Canyon-2

Black Canyon city

While on the long Interstate 40 haul, I also stopped and let the dogs out.

I-40 break time

The dogs stretched and investigated the bare ground. The ground rose in elevation, and I struggled to reach the two-story tourist shop that sold real ice cream cones. I had a vanilla cone. I left the dogs in the car.

rest area NM

The New Mexico rest stop I had to be careful there. Signs declared the area was populated with rattlesnakes and scorpions.

It was a beautiful day to travel. The sky was a vast blue background and multiple varied cloud shapes to entertain me as I drove through the day.

3 thoughts on “Nuts! We missed it!

  1. josephlacey12

    That is a long way to just see it… but I want to go to NM again and camp. But until I get solar I need to be in southern weather. The fan on the furnace works great but sucks battery juice.


    1. John

      Glad to hear that your maiden voyage was a success and a confidence builder (backing up). You overcame all the pre-trip obstacles and made it happen. Good job!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s