Li Du and the rest were about to get into the Iron Knight; they had wanted to rent a car but the rental car business had not survived in the small town. So they had no choice but to drive the truck.
In addition to the items from the storage units, the truck was also stuffed with some old-fashioned accessories and handmade decorative items.
Seeing these messy items, Dickens asked, "Boss Li, are you in the storage auction business all the time?"
Li Du did not catch his joke. "What do you mean?"
Dickens laughed, "I mean, you bring along this old stuff even when you are on vacation?"
Li Du pointed at Hans. "His idea, nothing to do with me."
Everyone looked at Hans curiously. Olly asked, "Why did you bring this stuff? Old-style weaving machine? What's that? Hay cutter? Where did you get these antiques?"
Hans chuckled, "You ask me why. I ask you: where will we be after passing Lake Powell? Who used to previously own Lake Powell?"
Dickens realized it suddenly. "Oh, you are going to trade with the Hopi? The Hopi are not like the Amish, they do not welcome outsiders."
Turis said, "He would surely be able to enter, otherwise why would he bring all this stuff? Quick, let's get some stuff. Go take a look."
Olly asked in surprise, "How did you get connected to the Hopi? Those people hate whites to the core."
Han said, "I did not get connected to them."
Olly was stunned. "Then why did you bring all this stuff? They will never trade with you."
Hans patted Li Du's shoulder and laughed, "My brother is yellow-skinned. The Hopi will be willing to trade with him."
Li Du looked at him helplessly. "Buddy, is this considered racial discrimination?"
Hans said innocently, "Of course not. Even so, that would be the Hopi discriminating against us whites."
The Hopi were a Native American tribe acknowledged by the US government. They mainly resided in northeastern Arizona. Their population was very small: fewer than 20,000 people.
However, these 20,000 people occupied 4,000 square miles of land. Of course, more land had belonged to them originally. The US government had stipulated that the Hopi could cultivate, graze, hunt or build on these lands, which were entirely attributed to them. They have the right to deport anyone who entered the land, as they pleased.
This did not mean that the Hopi could do whatever they wished on this piece of land, and also did not mean they were happy to stay on this piece of land. This was because this piece of land was surrounded by the even larger Navajo Reservation. Both the Navajos and Hopi were to share the Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area.
However, the Navajos were more powerful. They would always mix up the boundaries and invade the Hopi's territory; the two parties were always in conflict.
In the past the Hopi did not have a good relationship with the US government. The land conflict had led them to think that the US government was bullying them on purpose by using the Navajos to suppress them. This attitude sometimes still affected their interactions with people considered "Americans."
Hence, they would sometimes decline to trade with white people, and only traded with other Native Americans or other minorities.
Li Du was willing to try; after all, his deal with the Amish had earned him a million dollars. If he could gain something from the Hopi, well, wouldn't that be great?
Driving along, they went toward the scenic Lake Powell.
In order to let Li Du enjoy more local scenery, Hans deliberately chose to travel from the east.
"What's the difference?" he asked as he looked at the landscape.
"The western valleys are vertical and have a steeper terrain," Hans explained. "The eastern part of the valley is much gentler and broader."
Li Du asked, "Does it mean we should go along the west line?"
Hans rolled his eyes at him. "Of course not. The west line is complicated, with many obstacles. The view there's no good. Going along the east would mean that we can drive to the bottom of the valley and let you come close to the Canyon's interior sights."
It was a smooth drive the whole way; there were few people, and even fewer cars. Looking out of the car, one could appreciate the vastness and beauty of the west of the US.
The view was good but it was a pity there were no colors on the ground: no green trees or grass, no colorful flowers, no golden wheat fields.
As Li Du looked around, he saw reddish-brown ground; this was the iconic topography of the Grand Canyon.
After a while, he thought something was amiss. "Why are there so few cars?"
With the developed road network in the US, and the vast land in the western region, there were few residents and pedestrians here. Driving, one would barely even encounter the loneliness of a single shadow.
For instance, Route 50, which was known for being the loneliest road in the US: one could drive along and not bump into another vehicle for half a day.
But this was not Route 50. There were many tourists in the area3 million of them visited a year. It should not have taken that long for them to bump into a few pedestrians.
Hans did not quite care, and said indolently, "Maybe today is not a good day for going out. And today is a work day, so there won't be that many tourists."
After more than 20 minutes, they came to the resting area at a gas station. The group of them got some coffee and topped off their gasoline before heading off again.
This time, they did not come across any cars.
Li Du thought something was bound to be wrong, but the treasure hunters in the other cars were getting excited. Olly shouted, "Great that there're no cars. Buddies, come on, let's race!"
A solemn Turis said, "Don't, our trucks are all full of stuff. Don't play anything too vigorous!"
"I'll keep the speed under 70 miles per hour," Olly said. "Buddies, buckle up!" As he finished speaking, he stepped on the accelerator and his truck flew off.
Hans also stepped on the accelerator and the trucks started to chase after each other on the road.
At this rate, Li Du did not have the heart to search for the route online. He held on to his seat and cursed, "D*mmit, I hate you jerks, why do we have to race!?"
But as the car sped up, he became thrilledit did feel good to be speeding along the road.
The cars sped all the way and got to a huge bridge within half an hour. Everyone started to slow down, as they observed the situation around the bridge.
They were right to slow down. When the cars got to the bridge, Li Du and the rest saw that the bridge had been locked!
"Sh*t!" Hans cursed angrily. "No wonder there are no other cars. We can't get through this road."
Li Du was even more furious. "F*ck, did you not check before leaving? You just drive around based on your experience?"
Hans said sorrowfully, "Who said I was driving based on experience? Look, I was using the GPS as a guide."
There were some stores at the start of the bridge. Hans noticed them and chuckled as something came to his mind. "Although the road has been sealed, we can still get our reward."