July 4th Drive

The Mittens on a Winter Evening         ©Copyright Jonathan Slator

“So we’re all set then?”

“Right.” I say and we shake on the terrace of the Monument Valley visitor’s center, the charcoal face of the director of the Navajo Park grins as always, framed by the famous buttes of his domain. I walk to the car in the 106 heat. It’s 1.30 and I’ve got a solid six hour drive to Taos. So home for supper with the little darlin’, and who knows how the evening might pan out? Quick scan of the check list, permits, PAs, water trucks, tower lights, etc etc, all the crap that a big budget Western with a high-end cast will need to shoot in this gorgeous, boiling valley in August. Reckon I’ve covered all for the production company’s arrival, and set off. Pump gas in Kayenta and ready to roll when the phone jars.

“We’re adding a crew hotel.” Says the coordinator in Santa Fe.

“Bollocks.” I’ll have to add it to the call-sheet map, and my key assistant, on whom I try to off load all map work is off today, it being July 4th, and the rest of my crew, working on set in Santa Fe, couldn’t do a map if their lives depended…aargh.

Swing into the hotel lobby for the wifi and get to work. Almost done when a Harley pulls under the porte cochere and a portly gent enters. I expect a redneck drawl but am startled by a broad British accent. He checks in and asks for the bar; his head sinks when informed of the dryness of the Navajo rez. I cheer him with the info that he can get a beer half an hour to the North in Utah at the Swinging Grill in Mexican Hat. We smile at the irony of two Birmingham UK lads looking for a pint in the weird west.

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