Departed Gallup, NM about 9:00 am at 47105 on the odometer. Arrived in Flagstaff, AZ, perhaps as early as 5:00 pm at 47431. That’s 326 miles in 9 hours or about an average of 36 mph. We spent a lot of time at Painted Desert National Park and at Meteor Crater.
With the car full of our belongings and our stomachs full from the wonderful Hampton breakfast, we set out to traverse Route 66 from the eastern end of Gallup to points west.
We tried last night to view some of this but were foiled. Gallup has Indian artifacts, Indian Jewelry (wholesale AND retail), Cochina dolls, the works.
Gallup is a vibrant community. Not until we reached the far west end of Gallup did the blight of closed down gasoline stations and abandoned motels begin.
I-40 is the improved road and the preferable route, without question. But we continued on Route 66 which paralleled the new highway for miles, sometimes on one side, sometimes the other. There were some steep hills and roughly patched surfaces. At one turn under the expressway we espied this fascinating octagonal log cabin. We wondered if the octagonal structure was an aberration. Soon we were back on I-40 and stopped at Chambers to purchase gasoline.
The Shell station at Chambers was ALSO octagonal. Go figure. I was set upon by a young panhandler with a tale of woe. As he was painting his picture of a lost wallet, stolen cell phone, and broken vehicle, I suggested he’d have better luck with someone else. I saw him talking to the truckers as we left.
I was rewarded for my lack of philanthropy when I ignored a road closed sign on Route 66 and had to double back about five miles. Karma, I expect.
I-40 cuts through the middle of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. Mary has a national park pass so we saved the $20 entry fee.
The Painted Desert is reminiscent of our trip to the Badlands in South Dakota last summer. In fact, some of the literature described this area as “badlands.”
We saw a small “petrified forest” last summer, but the extent of the fossils today was enormous. The landscape is so stunning and simply cannot be captured with a hand-held camera.
Just before the Meteor Crater we dropped away from I-40 to visit the WigWam Motel at Holbrook, AZ.
Meteor Crater is a private enterprise. It’s facilities and presentation match any public museum I’ve ever visited. I’d been fascinated about Meteor Crater since I first read about it as a kid perusing the World Book Encyclopedia before bed. Mary and I were sitting in the theater, waiting for their excellent video to begin, when in walked part of the Ocean to Ocean GT-42 excursion. Follow their adventures on Facebook at “Ocean to Ocean GT-42.”
Flagstaff was a short run from Meteor Crater. We moved into our room and sat down to recount the past two days. As an aside, at this hotel, if one wants a room on the same floor as the front desk and lobby, ask for the “main floor,” not the first floor, which here is the basement. Actually, our rooms at each of the Hampton Inns we have visited thus far have been most satisfactory.