Spin and a full Moon

A Rottie cross on the side of the road at Upper Fruitland and Highway 371, and 4 more dogs later in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere, I’m guessing around another 30 miles south of Upper Fruitland. More dog food and water is needed on the side of HW 371.


Yesterday I drove up to the Pintado Pueblo meeting the free roaming horses out there in what is pretty much a wild treeless desert, and then over to Chaco Historical Park. The entrance fee was prohibitive for me, so I left with one picture. I was also feeling pretty drained. Although I don’t really feel like I have a fever, I am very sleepy and tired, and, as with most diabetics, insulin-resistant when sick. I give my usual amount of insulin, and don’t get low blood sugar even if I eat nothing. I lack appetite, although I am trying to eat a little every day. The infection has slowly descended from my throat to the lower bronchi. Last night I was wheezing, but the phlegm was still loose enough to cough up. It isn’t really incapacitating, but it is limiting. With limited air, I can’t really hike or climb much. So, after a short training session with the dogs at Angel Peak last night, I went to sleep early, and woke up to visit Aztec Ruins, and then Salmon Ruin. The weather, although below freezing at night, is thankfully not too uncomfortable. Both ruins were an exceptional experience.

Salmon Ruins was originally excavated and researched by one of the first female field archeologists, Dr. Cynthia Irwin-Williams. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Radcliffe in 1957 with a degree in anthropology. She got her doctorate degree in archeology from Harvard in 1963, as one of the first 3 women to be awarded a doctorate from that institution.

Most of the excavation at Aztec Ruins has been done by Earl H. Morris and completed by 1924. The first diggers (cropgrowers out of work due to frozen fruit crops) were paid $2/day for their work. Aztec Ruin was originally thought to have been built by the Aztecs in a migration northward from Mexico. This is now known not to be true.

I learned a lot about the history of the Anasazi people – the ancestors of the Puebloans, much of their creation story recounted very poetically by someone from the Santa Clara pueblo. Many of the present-day puebloan cultures share a similar oral history of the migration of their people. The architecture of the ruins here is much grander than any of the other sites, and it is interesting that the culture dissipates from both sites after they are burned. Both sites are apparently similar to Chaco in style. Both sites have a very unique feature to their grand kivas – 2 tomblike vaults in each.

I became sensitized to the different bricklaying methods evidenced in the walls at Salmon Ruin, also the very unique mosaic there. Several square rooms apparently converted to round kivas, some doorways constructed in corners, the 3 story aspect of the pueblo, all of these are unique features.

At Aztec Ruins, I got some recipes for Puebloan food. A lot of them require hours of cooking, and one wonders where they got the fuel to cook in this desert environment. At Salmon Ruin, they have a very nice museum of archeology. I learned about the tools that one needs to be an archeologist. I also learned about using tree rings for dating structures that are built that contain logs, and how they can trace the tree ring profile to about 59 BC. I gave it my own little shot at dating, and I think that I got it right.

I tasted some seeds from a plant on the way down to the ruins – pretty tasty, although I will admit to a slight wave of nausea about 30 min. after trying them.

I thought it was fascinating that dart throwing devices- atlati – developed both in Europe and North America. It is such a conceptual genius, that it would seem to me difficult to imagine that the two kinds evolved independently.

My cable is apparently not working to upload pictures, so sadly there are no pictures for the moment. I almost lost my camera battery when it somehow became disconnected from my charger and was swept up by the lady at McDonalds and put into the trash. I went through the trash bags, and after going through a few pretty full ones, amazingly found the battery. That would have really meant no more pictures.

I finally found a place where I could boil water, and got the old thermostat to open by putting it in boiling water. It is more of a gradual transition vs. a discrete opening.

Thermostat closed

Thermostat open
So, the thermostat is temperature-sensitive, but I’m guessing that the temperature at the Hot Springs was 180F; it was pretty hot – at least as hot as coffee from a truckstop. It probably opens late. I was able to weigh the thermostat – it weighs 14.2 oz. Anyway, I know that I have a coolant leak at the intake manifold – it means putting coolant in every 30 miles or so. I keep the radiator cap loose so that the coolant vents there and back into the reservoir, as opposed to applying pressure at the already stressed manifold. At the Navaho’s suggestion, I tried tightening the bolt on the intake manifold. We’ll see if it helps. I came within about 1 mile of completely running out of gas today – both what was in the tank and the 2 gallons I was carrying with me in the back. A big relief to be able to refuel, as I am down to a few bucks for the rest of the trip.

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