We woke up spooning on a bunk bed in Old Orabi, in Hopiland Reservation. There was no funny business with my young travel partner, Brigett, a 19 year old beauty queen from Germany, much to my dismay. But we had stayed late on the Hopi reservation and one of the locals was kind enough to let us share a single bed in one of the 2 rooms in their home. There were three toddlers asleep on mats on the floor in our room and 2 more in the family room. The house was built of cinder blocks and had no electricity.
It was 7 am and way too early. We got into Brigett’s rented Mustang and she drove along the dirt road and onto the main highway. We didn’t speak. We got off the Hopi Land reservation and into the Navajo reservation. By the time we got to Leupp, AZ, I was dying for a coffee.
We pulled into a service station and I made a B line for the market. Briggett put gas in the tank. When I had some coffee I walked outside and starred blankly at the cookie cutter houses on the reservation. Brigett called to me from the car. “Look, over there, across the road.”
Across the highway was an old pick up truck with a boy sitting on the back of it playing guitar. Thank god. Flagstaff had been a bust for music and I was desperate for someone to record. We walked across the highway and met a young man in his late teens named Ray. I asked him if I could record him playing and singing and he agreed.