|The trip from Albuquerque to Gallup was a short one, only 150 miles. The scenery along the way beautiful, with lots of colorful rock plateaus. Gallup almost seems like different country than Albuquerque. Albuquerque and Santa Fe have mostly Spanish influences while Gallup is completely Native American Indian. We are spending a week at the USA RV Park just west of Gallup. The park is very nice, although it is located near the end of the landing strip of the Gallup Municipal Airport. It isn’t all that noisy, only small planes land here, it just seems strange to have small planes buzzing by several times a day and night. The first couple of times they seemed awfully close but I’m getting use to it now. The campground has a summer café that serves dinner every evening, ice cream later in the evening and even has a resident country and western singer performing nightly. The temperatures in Gallup seem to be about 10 degrees less than those in Albuquerque so it seems to be a little more pleasant and it has rained just about every day this week. It has been nearly two months since we have seen any rain so this has been very welcomed.
Historic Route 66 runs right through Gallup so we spent an afternoon checking out many of the dozens of Trading Posts/Pawn Shops along there. Pawn Shops are not looked on unfavorable as they are in other parts of the country. Many of the locals use the Pawn Shops as ways to raise money when they need it, then they make monthly payments, probably with interest, to the shops to hold onto their items until they need them again. If you are interested in buying Silver and Turquoise jewelry, woven rugs, leather goods, beads or any of type of Native American item Gallup is definitely the place to go.
We took an afternoon to visit Window Rock, Arizona that is about 25 miles from Gallup. The town of Window Rock is the capital of the Navajo Nation and is named for a large rock formation resembling a window to the sky. A memorial to World War II Navajo Code Talkers is located at the base of the formation. Navajo soldiers were use to transmit messages during World War II because their language was impossible to decode. While in Window Rock we ran across an Indian Marketplace where we were able to check out some more Native American items. After leaving Window Rock we drove another 30 miles into Arizona to see the Hubbell Trading Post a National Historic Site and part of the National Park system. Established in the late 1800’s, it is the oldest continuously operated trading post in the Navajo Nation. Hubbell family members operated this trading post until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1965.
As we drove into Gallup last Wednesday we noticed some beautiful red rock formations so we had to take a trip back that way. Just about 10 miles east of Gallup is the town of Church Rock, NM and the Red Rock State Park both aptly named for the rock formations located there. We decided to go to the park on Monday, thinking it would be less crowded than the weekend when a regional rodeo was taking place. That plan worked out pretty good because the park was mostly deserted for our visit.
We did a little shopping on Route 66 and had lunch at an authentic Route 66 diner that has been in operation for over 60 years, Earl’s. Native American crafters, mostly jewelry makers, were set up in front of the restaurant and many brought their items right to your table in an effort to make their sales. There is so much beautiful jewelry available in this area it is almost impossible to decide what to buy.
Tomorrow we are on the road again; our next stop will be Holbrook, AZ.