Giddyup from Gallup…


We headed out from El Rancho in Gallup, NM this morning about 9AM, with a first stop planned at Starbucks, just four miles West – heading in the right direction for a change! Today’s end goal was to be Flagstaff, AZ.

Yesterday, we walked around Gallup and went into Michael’s Gallery where I bought a really cool ring made by Melinda Salazar (no relation to our friend Eleanor), and this wonderful little Frida Kahlo shrine that I mounted on the dash:

Before I knew it, we were crossing the Arizona line – so unexpected that I didn’t even get a picture of the Welcome to Arizona sign. But, within a few miles, there was the Indian Village right at the same exit as the visitor welcome center.

Look at that amazing red rock butte above the Indian Village!


Next surprise was a sign for Chee’s – Indian-owned shop selling authentic Indian-made pottery, jewelry, etc.

So what’s the surprise there? FRY BREAD – according to one of their signs, the best Navajo Fry Bread. So, I stopped in and bought my first Fry Bread…

At long last, I found Fry Bread – and what a cute little place too!


I have to say that our "fried dough" that we can get at the fair, is better than fry bread. But at least I tried it!


For some reason, I hadn’t realized we were on a trajectory to the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert, but as soon as I caught on, it became our next destination. I took many, many photos today, and rather than try to write a lot about what we did, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

I mean, seriously, who wants to hear something like: “We drove 1/2 mile and stopped at blah, blah lookout and took this photo: then we drove two miles, and…”?

Pictures are worth a 1,000 words, so here goes:

The painted desert…



By now, it was getting pretty windy, but Max was still willing to pose for me.


Some of the remains of the Puerco pueblo in the Petrified Forest National Park.


At the Puerco ruins, we met a couple from Damarisotta, and had a nice chat. They have been traveling since mid-January; visiting their son in San Diego and renting a car to come out to Arizona for a while. It’s always nice to run into folks from home; sometimes it’s the license plates, sometimes it’s Max that opens up a conversation.

For all you crow lovers out there, and especially my friend Carolyn, these two crows were hanging out at the Nizhoni Point lookout and let me get within five feet to take pictures.

And I swear they were the same two at Puerco Ruins, who only flew far enough out of Max’s range to tease him!

We stopped and walked the Crystal Forest trail:

Max jumped up on this petrified tree. How could I not take a pic??


I thought this was amazing – you can see the knots where branches once were!


I asked Max to pose next to this giant remnant for scale. The diameter was about five feet!


After the park, which was a day filled with lots of awe, we headed back towards Holbrook, and the junction of I-40, and on to Winslow, AZ (remember the Eagles’ song and yesterday’s post? Winslow turned out to be another totally uninteresting town for me, so we kept on going…)

In Holbrook, we came across the Wigwam Motel on old Route 66. Closed, but still interesting to run into it!

What a surprise to come across this on old Route 66 in Hobrook, Arizona!


There were vintage cars parked by most of the wigwams. It would have been fun to stay here if it was still open.


I couldn’t resist getting a pic of this place in Holbrook!


And for my friend, Lori, who told me on the phone last night about her experience with a huge snowstorm as she tried to get from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, here’s a picture of that sign you told me about!

Can you believe that they don't plow on nights or weekends??


I am still marveling at the beauty of this vast landscape. In spite of my desire to drive on two lane roads, the interstates in the Southwest have taken us through such beautiful country. With broad sweeps of sky, vast expanses of sagebrush all around, and red rock everywhere, I can’t imagine how poking along on two lanes would be any better.

Interstates in the Northeast are clogged with traffic, and the “views” aren’t that majestic. But out here, the traffic is light, and the views are sensational. Plus, we can make some serious time every day – which is becoming more important to me as we approach the West Coast (and take these interesting side trips to places like the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon).

Ever onward, we arrived in Flagstaff about 4:45 and found a La Quinta where we are safely and happily settled in. When we arrived, the temperature was around 54, so that alone is enough to make us both happy.

This is probably one of the nicest rooms we've had in the whole trip. El Rancho was all about the history and that stunning lobby; the room was just average.


Tomorrow, the Grand Canyon…

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About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in Coffee, Grand Canyon, National Parks, New Mexico, On the Road, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Random thoughts, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Giddyup from Gallup…

  1. One of my all time most favorite movies was filmed at the wig wam motel;Digging for China..very touching and beuatiful story about a freindship between the little girl whose mother owns the wigwagm and another mother taking her beloved son , with cognitive diability, to a residential fcaility. Always windered if it was a realplace somrwhere..and there it is.

    • Maureen Farr says:

      I’ll have to see if I can get that movie on netflix Lindsay. I knew about it existing somewhere but was surprised to just come upon it like that!

    • Ellie Adams says:

      Several work friends and I too a little road trip in Arizona in 1997 and we stayed at the Wig Wam. Your entry made me dig out my pictures and I am now smiling because of the the good memories that surfaced! I have one interior Wig Wam picture. Unfortunatly I don’t have a scanner! It appears I was quite taken with the place according to the number of pics! Sorry it has closed! (Or was it a seasonal closing?) I too would like to see the movie!

      Enjoy the Grand Canyon, and thanks for all the lovely view today!

  2. hank says:

    wow, momo. this was just a fantastic, really wonderful piece, photos (and photo captions) included.

    just beyond great.
    thanks

  3. hank says:

    the raven photos, the sequence, is so filmic. like being there

    • Maureen Farr says:

      thanks again Hank! those ravens – you’re probably right that they weren’t crows! – were amazing. they just sat there and let me take a dozen photos from all angles – and really, really close too! Interesting memory: when I was driving on the road to Holbrook, not far from the gate to the Park, there were two ravens by the road and I thought: You just might be those same two!

  4. Nice! I’m so glad you’re doing all this cool stuff there! I am excited to hear what you think of the Grand Canyon after today’s visit! Sorry we didn’t call you back last night, but we got in late after taking Jon out for a birthday dinner! xoxo–talk later?

  5. Gandalf says:

    This is probably too late to be helpful but if there’s any way you can take a peek at Oak Creek Canyon while you’re near Flagstaff you ought to do it. It was more than thirty years ago I was there but I remember it as well as yesterday’s ice-chipping on the roof took take advantage of a brief warm spell. It is beautiful with twists, turns, overhangs, trees at odd angles kept from falling over and in by their crevice-held roots. Your photos brought back a lot of memories. Mo; thanks.

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Hendrik, not too late to be helpful. I’m staying here tonight too. I’m going to ask where it is, because the woman at the desk last night gave me map and directions for a loop to and from the Grand Canyon. She said the return is just amazing, so maybe Oak Creek Canyon is on that route…

  6. Dana says:

    Great dogumentary Momo!

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