• Joe Cooke

Lessons from Four Corners

Updated: Oct 8

Lessons from Four Corners.

A. I took the scenic route, which was beautiful and took longer than I expected which I expected and I had no time schedule so that was fine, except the life lesson is that it often takes longer than you think. (see https://www.cannoncooke.com/post/44-months)

B. Sometimes the road is straight and you can just cruise with one hand on the controls, and sometimes it winds around and you have to hang on tight.

C. Sometimes you take a wrong turn, or in my case, missed a turn because it wasn't well marked. I ended up 33 miles south of where I wanted to be and I had to backtrack. I guess I could have just made a new goal for someplace in front of me or closer, but that's not the point of having a goal.

D. It was later than I'd hoped when I got to 4-Corners. A storm was blowing in from the north. One of those big scary dark cloud storms. The line was super long to get in to the parking lot, but it moved at an okay pace. A car would leave and they would let one in. However, when I was just two cars back, they closed the entrance for "shift change" which took maybe twenty minutes. The two cars in front of me gave up after about two minutes and so I was in the front of the line when they opened up again. Sometimes we are so close to our goal and we give up because it's too hard, or we are impatient, or we can't see it happening.

E. Because the entrance was closed for twenty minutes, the monument was nearly vacant when I got there. I parked, took some pics, and left. Goal achieved. Approximately 40 years after I got it into my head. It's not an important goal, unless I take it into the context of simply achieving what I set my mind to.

F. It was rather anti-climactic in one sense, because it was really not that notable, except that I realized two things: (1) it was just a marker on a much longer journey that included so many other adventures, and (2) it was only the beginning of a new journey.

G. I decided to stay in Kayenta and then drive through Monument National Park or maybe continue on to Grand Canyon. It's another hour or maybe hour and a half from Four Corners to Kayenta (AZ) and it was hot and muggy but I'd made a reservation from Farmington and the agent assured me there was a functioning pool. Yay! The thought of floating in that cool water kept my exhausted self going. Also, the Blue Coffee Pot restaurant across the street look promising for breakfast. I'd been eating snacks from my cooler for two days. The breakfast place in Farmington was packed so I opted to sit in the parking lot of the gas station next door to it and eat trail mix and a cutie (is that what those little oranges are called?)

H. Kayenta. Pulled into the gas station next to the hotel and these two cut herding mutts barked and circled and jumped and cut me off and basically tried to herd me. If the bike moved, they were all over it. I managed to creep along, gas up, creep over to the hotel parking lot with them herding me like a whirlwind, and then while I was checking in they wandered off. The lady at the front desk frowned at me, fussed about as if she couldn't find my reservation, and then assured me that the pool was NOT OPEN. 418 rooms, and I mine was the only vehicle in the parking lot. Some noisy folks came in at about 11PM.

I. Up early to walk to breakfast but the Blue Coffee Pot is NOT OPEN. Looks like it hasn't been for a while. So, I packed up the bike and decided I would eat at the only other place but I never found it because the DOGS (at 5AM) chased me on the HIGHWAY, and I didn't want to run over them so they herded me to a stop in the oncoming lanes. I tried to push one away with my boot and it retaliated with TWO BITES to my calf. I finally somehow made a U-turn and got a window and gunned the bike and left them behind and I drove about 3 miles in the wrong direction before I found a place to pull over and check my map. The road through Monument National Park was back in KAYENTA.

J. I slipped past the guard dogs and got on the right highway heading north to Mexican Hat. Monument NP was GORGEOUS and the roads had been underwater all night during the monsoon so there was lots of debris but fortunately the flooding had receded.

K. Mexican Hat had no place for breakfast, but the drive was stunning. I think the pandemic hit a lot of these out-of-the-way small towns really, really hard. I finally found a place in Bluff, UT that served me the best cup of coffee I have ever tasted and bacon and eggs and potatoes and I could have cried.

L. Moab. Hotel with POOL. Sigh. Moab is a tourist destination so there are actual grocery stores and restaurants and I might just stay here for a while.

M. Not really. I have no idea where I will go tomorrow. And that is wonderful.

N. Everything we experience is part of us. The difficult and scary (pack of dogs, flash flood warnings, oppressive heat, exhaustion) makes the easy part (hotel with pool) all the more sweet.

O. If the sky clears up a bit, I plan to ride up to a viewpoint overlooking Arches National Park (Delicate Arch, to be exact) and watch the sun set.

P. Tomorrow I will see what tomorrow brings.

Q. I do not know why I lettered these paragraphs. No reason. Just felt like it.

R. I have one more significant goal in my life - I have written a best-seller. Now, I only have to wait for my agent to sell it, and for people to buy it. I'm also woking on a screen play treatment for a grant, and I have a ton of other books to write, so all of that is like the journey after 4-Corners.

I'm looking forward to it.

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