Thursday, March 5, 2009
Adrift In The SouthWest Again - Part VII
As I mentioned in the last post we spent Wednesday night in Gallup. We arrived in late afternoon and before heading to the RV park we cruised down part of old Route 66. There were a lot of old motel signs to keep us entertained.
Probably the most fascinating old hotel/motel we encountered was the El Rancho. As you can see from the picture at the top of the post, they bill themselves as the "Home of the Movie Stars". Apparently this was the "in" place to stay when travelling through the area or when movies were being shot in the area. The lobby is a fantastic piece of western lodge style architecture and on the mezzanine they had autographed pictures of about every major star of the 30's through the 60's.
They also had a pretty nice jewelry story that featured Native American jewelry, all of which was made by local artists and picked by the owner of El Rancho, Armand Ortega. The sales lady in the jewelry shop said that Mr. Ortega is 83 years old and still takes a very active role in the management of the hotel.
After checking into the RV park we decided to have dinner on the town and stopped at a local family style Mexican restaurant. It was outstanding and just what we needed after a couple of hard days travel.
Thursday morning we headed off I-40, north on NM 491 towards Shiprock and Farmington. This road goes straight through the heart of the Navajo reservation and is quite scenic. At Farmington we stopped for a few supplies before heading to Chaco Canyon which is VERY remote. While in Farmington we stumbled on a Muffler Man....a very appropriate stumble before we immersed ourselves in a couple of days of ancient culture.
Getting into Chaco Canyon wasn't any easier that when I was there last fall. The last 12 miles of road into the canyon is severely rutted and it took one hour to drive this stretch. It is, as I said last fall, worth every bit of effort. I was really looking forward to seeing Guitar's reaction to this place.
I'll tell you this part of the story in the next post....
Thanks for visiting.