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Navajo Indian Reservation

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Navajo Indian Reservation

Old 09-07-04, 02:43 PM
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The Ride of 05
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Navajo Indian Reservation

I'm thinking about riding through the Navajo Indian Reservation in NE Arizona. Can anyone tell me what it's like riding those roads. I've heard they're very dangerous and not recommended because the reservations have their own laws. But then I've also heard that they're very friendly and supportive. What do you think?
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Old 09-07-04, 03:19 PM
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I am From the four corners area where NM, Co, AZ and UT all come together, the Heart of the Navajo Reservation.....
I am currently living in Floriduhhh and would much ratherr be riding on the rez than I would be here...
The roads arent bad and the drivers are respectful except for the younger generation...
You will definately see some awsome country to take your mind off the miles you are putting in.
Sure wish i was you, or riding with you, hopefully some day I can move back to NM, and beleive me I am going back once I get an oppertunity...
You should have no problems riding out there, have fun and be safe...
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Old 09-08-04, 02:00 PM
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Thank you for the info. I've been getting mixed reviews about the reservations and would like to get as many opinions as I can before I go. I'm part of the "younger" generation and know exactly what you mean. I think my bike handling skills are better than my driving skills. Any info you think I might need to know about the res? Thanks, David
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Old 09-08-04, 03:02 PM
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I'm also a New Mexican. I've traveled through and across many NM reservations. My advice is to travel N.M. state highways through the reservations. If you opt to turn onto a reservation road, you may be stopped and questioned. Of course they may not bother with you. It's your choice. The inhabitants can get a little testy when they see someone who obviously doesn't belong on the reservation, driving, riding or walking on a reservation road, which they consider to be private property.
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Old 09-08-04, 03:25 PM
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Poetic justice?
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Old 09-08-04, 04:15 PM
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I live on Navajo. I have yet to have anyone give me any problems unless I turn down their driveway, and then it's just a confused look. The roads are actually surprisingly good, for the most part. Shoot me a PM and maybe I can make some route suggestions. We should hook up for a ride as you pass through. Let me now where you're starting and we can go from there.

As for law differences, they exist but they won't have any effect on you if you're just riding through. The Rez is dry, so leave your supply of bourbon at home (unless you conceal it well, but I didn't say that.) As long as you put some work into planning a route and avoid certain stretches of road, you should be fine. Like I said, just PM me with some more info and we can go from there.
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Old 09-08-04, 04:47 PM
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First of all you need to learn what to say should anyone give you a hard time, say "Yatahey" That means "hello" LOL
Reality I dont see anyone giving you a hard time.. I am a Beligona (white dude) and my wife is pure 100% Navajo Indian ...
I have ridden the Shiprock area many times, right thru the town and a few roads that stem off the main ways.. The Navajo People are really nice people and you shouldnt have any problems at all...
Again have fun and ride safe
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Old 09-09-04, 10:04 AM
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You need to check out the slot canyons near Lake Powell. They are incredible and I got some great pictures there a few years ago. At that time, you had to get a Navajo guide to take you back there for a few bucks and they will drive you back there. Don't miss it. Like the above posts, I can vouch for the beatiful scenery and I found the people to be friendly if you respect their land.
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Old 09-09-04, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bianchi_rider
First of all you need to learn what to say should anyone give you a hard time, say "Yatahey" That means "hello" LOL
Reality I dont see anyone giving you a hard time.. I am a Beligona (white dude) and my wife is pure 100% Navajo Indian ...
I have ridden the Shiprock area many times, right thru the town and a few roads that stem off the main ways.. The Navajo People are really nice people and you shouldnt have any problems at all...
Again have fun and ride safe
You're gonna make him stand out even more. Nothing like the crackers destroying colloquial Navajo.

ONe thing I didn't mention in my PM is to watch a bit more for dogs out here. They pack up and will chase like hell. I have regular sprint partners at different parts of every ride. Some run for fun and some are dangerous.
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Old 09-09-04, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by BDK
You need to check out the slot canyons near Lake Powell. They are incredible and I got some great pictures there a few years ago. At that time, you had to get a Navajo guide to take you back there for a few bucks and they will drive you back there. Don't miss it. Like the above posts, I can vouch for the beatiful scenery and I found the people to be friendly if you respect their land.
The only problem with them now is the multitude of photographers that stake out good spots and ruin it for everyone else. They'll be there for an entire day waiting for that perfect light. I can understand that to an extent, but it's not something I'd do or appreciate. Takes away from the experience a bit, but they're still worth it.

Don't expect as much of a lake at Powell. We've taken to calling it Powell Pond of late.
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Old 09-09-04, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ImprezaDrvr
You're gonna make him stand out even more. Nothing like the crackers destroying colloquial Navajo.

.
Spelling doesnt count, and if it does I will be more than happy to get my wife to spell out long sentences for me and you Impreza...
I am not belittling, degrading or chopping up the Navajo language... In fact I think its an awsome language...
And I dont appreciate be callefd a cracker !!
So there !!!!
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Old 09-09-04, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bianchi_rider
Spelling doesnt count, and if it does I will be more than happy to get my wife to spell out long sentences for me and you Impreza...
I am not belittling, degrading or chopping up the Navajo language... In fact I think its an awsome language...
And I dont appreciate be callefd a cracker !!
So there !!!!
Um, nevermind. Obviously my humor flew over your head that time. Hopefully I'll be more on target next time. But, I was making light of a white guy (cracker) that's not from here (so it's not you) riding through on a bike shouting 'yatahey' to every Navajo he sees. The reference to colloquial Navajo was, as I'm sure you know, to the fact that it's usually said in conversation with little stress on the h, more like yateh or, as our culture has decided to write it ya'ah teh. At any rate, sorry again to offend if I did. I'll be more explicit with my humor next time.
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Old 09-09-04, 04:26 PM
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My humor was also intended when I said he should know what to say. I did not say for him to say it to everyone he sees... and Beligonna (White Dude) etc...
No offence taken here, I grew up in the four corners and someday hope to go back, I have been down South in Floriduhh for 3 years now and beleive me "cracker" is not a good word in the South...
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Old 09-09-04, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ImprezaDrvr
Um, nevermind. Obviously my humor flew over your head that time. Hopefully I'll be more on target next time. But, I was making light of a white guy (cracker) that's not from here (so it's not you) riding through on a bike shouting 'yatahey' to every Navajo he sees. The reference to colloquial Navajo was, as I'm sure you know, to the fact that it's usually said in conversation with little stress on the h, more like yateh or, as our culture has decided to write it ya'ah teh. At any rate, sorry again to offend if I did. I'll be more explicit with my humor next time.
Dont worry about it, no offence taken, i also hope that I did not offend you.
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Old 09-09-04, 09:09 PM
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My wife was a teacher in Teec Nos Pos for a few years and I rode a few times while on the 'Rez'.

I wouldn't worry about the law if you don't bring any booze/drugs.

The major highways are maintained okay, but not great. I agree with an earlier poster about more loose dogs.

My biggest gripe about riding those roads is that nearly all vehicles are pickup trucks. We all know that 90% of discourtious motorists drive pickup trucks right? I wouldn't expect to get run off the road, but you won't see much love.

Anyway, I think you should do it.

One last thing, be ready for the ever-possible sand storm.
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Old 09-09-04, 10:24 PM
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Our "Native Peoples" of the northern plains welcome visitors. They also welcome the money you will be spending in their communities. I would not be concerned about the people. My favorite office to visit for the organization I work for is located on the Black Feet Nation in Browning, MT. It is staffed entirely by Blackfeet. We are always welcomed with food, beverage, and a welcoming warmth that I wish our other offices would adopt.

I would think the Navajo people, in general, would be simular.
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Old 09-10-04, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by turtlendog
My wife was a teacher in Teec Nos Pos for a few years and I rode a few times while on the 'Rez'.

I wouldn't worry about the law if you don't bring any booze/drugs.

The major highways are maintained okay, but not great. I agree with an earlier poster about more loose dogs.

My biggest gripe about riding those roads is that nearly all vehicles are pickup trucks. We all know that 90% of discourtious motorists drive pickup trucks right? I wouldn't expect to get run off the road, but you won't see much love.

Anyway, I think you should do it.

One last thing, be ready for the ever-possible sand storm.
Discourtesy is found as often on bicycles as it is in pickups.
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Old 09-14-04, 10:43 AM
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Well, thank you all for the enjoying reading material. There was a bit of everything in this one.....learning Navajo, offending people, finding out pickup truck drivers are crazy (I drive a pickup truck too and have to agree), lakes are all dried up, sand storms and dogs.

So a couple quick questions. Are these dogs wild or just loose? What the heck do we do if we encounter a sand storm?

ImprezaDrvr: Have you had a chance to check out our route? Any suggestions?

Thanks everyone for your help!!

David
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Old 09-14-04, 04:27 PM
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My experience may be different than some here. I stayed at Monument Valley tribal park last fall. As a climber, I enquired about backcountry travel on the Navajo Res. I already knew that climbing itself wouldn't be possible, just interested in travelling some of the country around Navajo Mtn, slot canyons, etc. I was told in no uncertain terms that white folks are essentially not welcome off the pavement. I encountered the same thing in New Mexico at Acoma and a friend encountered the same in Wyoming on the Wind River Res. I would assume you'll mostly be on pavement but you'll still have logistical problems with camping, etc. I did pull off the side of the road and sleep years ago near Mexican Water, but if it were me I wouldn't expect to get a warm welcome.
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