We left ABQ yesterday morning, headed for Red Rock State Park and Ceremonial, alternating between 66 and 40 whenever we could. We had to turn around near Correo and Mesitas when we couldn’t locate 66, and saw a depressing Native slum/ruins right off 40 near the latter. Other parts of 66 before and after Gallup were similarly destitute or desolate, but a few areas offered some great views of the terrain.
Outside Gallup, we rolled into Red Rock State Park only to find most of Ceremonial had finished already, except for the rodeo, so we wandered the park instead where Salome took some great pictures. Heading into Gallup itself, we stopped at Shima Grill, a little tent restaurant on the side of the road that served Native Tacos and Native Burgers, both on delicious frybread. In Gallup, we stopped at Earl’s to check out the small market of Native jewelry and crafts set up there and bought some really beautiful items, including a tourqouise and silver ring for myself.
Continuing West, we crossed into Arizona through some more beautiful terrain, coming across what appeared to be three separate groups of wild horses, including one hanging right by the side of the road like a deer. We’ve seen a lot of horses, cows and goats on this trip so far, and a bunch of prarie dogs, but no snakes, scorpions, armadillos, etc. Where are they hiding?
We arrived at the Petrified Forest National Park in the early evening to discover that Arizona doesn’t do DST, so we had gained an hour, giving us enough time to explore almost the whole thing, which we did, and it was amazing! We got some great pictures, but there are some breathtaking views that pictures simply couldn’t do justice. It was another highlight of the trip and made up for missing out on Ceremonial.
Between the Forest and Winslow, where we stayed at the beautiful but anachronistic La Posada Hotel, there is absolutely nothing, including the sad town of Holbrook, where we were originally going to stay tonight, at the Wigwam Motel, but since we did the Forest a day early, we changed our reservations and are heading down to Sedona a day early.
Yesterday was my actual birthday, my 40th, but this whole week will go down as the most amazing birthday ever!