This rock is how Window Rock, AZ got its name. In the foreground is a monument to the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII. Window Rock serves as the capital of the Navajo Nation.

Just had a long conversation with the 26-year-old editor of the Navajo Times. She’s the newspaper’s first female and youngest ever editor.

Trains with dozens of box cars pass through the high desert prairie in northwestern New Mexico, across the continental divide, surrounded by mesas and scrub brush.

It’s before dawn in Grants, NM. We’ll soon drive the last leg into Window Rock, AZ, to visit Navajo Nation.

Cailey Schiafone, 21, is originally from Fort Myers, Florida, but moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and then to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to work on her music career. She’s a singer, currently starting a band while working full-time at Kakawa Chocolate House.

"I hike all the time, I love the culture and everything here," she says of Santa Fe. But she expects to move on at some point. "It just doesn’t have as big of a music scene that I would like."

Cailey does plan to vote in the midterm elections. The issues she cares most about are “equality amongst everyone” and the environment.

-Rachel

Day 18: Santa Fe, NM to Navajo Nation

Our Vanagon is out of the shop and has a clean bill of health from a longtime Vanagon mechanic in Santa Fe.

We’re back on the road, heading to Navajo Nation, which occupies portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico. I already have a few interviews lined up for tomorrow with Navajo twenty-somethings. I’m really looking forward to hearing about the issues that matter most to them, and about what life is like on the largest reservation in the U.S.

Navajo Nation covers more than 27,000 square miles and has a population of about 175,000 Navajos within the Nation’s boundaries.

-Rachel

Before sending us on our way, our mechanic took me for test drive in his 1989 Vanagon. He’s had this shop in Santa Fe since 1981.

Trying out 3 oz. of drinking chocolate at Kakawa in Santa Fe, after doing some work at the public library.