Published: May 12th 2012May 12th 2012
Wednesday, May 2nd
--USA RV Park on old Highway 66. Decided to spend another day.
We have absolutely no idea what time it is. The cell phone gives us one time, the GPS system another, the computer another, and none of the clocks agree. We crossed into Mountain Time outside of El Paso, TX when we entered New Mexico and everything was fine, everything agreed. Then we hit Arizona where they do not observe daylight savings time, except on the Navajo Reservation, which we went in and out of. To be more confusing, the Hopi Reservation, which is completely surrounded by the Navajo Reservation, follows Arizona time. Then yesterday, we left Arizona and bopped back into New Mexico again. We finally decided it really didn’t matter since we had no appointments, but it was a bit confusing with time pieces having a 2 hour time difference among them.
Worked on the blog, slept and read---basically a “down day”.
Thursday May 3rd
--75 degrees at 9:47 in the morning in Gallup, NM. Starting mileage is 24717.
We drove into town on the old Route 66 to the nearby Wal-Mart. Got haircuts and did a small
bit of shopping. The place was packed with people, who appeared to mostly be natives. Found out where there was a place to get our toenails cut and then drove there. All nail technicians were young Vietnamese males like the place we went to in Wasilla, Alaska. We finally headed out of Gallup, NM on Highway 264 toward Window Rock, Arizona.
Window Rock sitting on the NM/AR border is “Washington DC” for the Navajo Nation of approximately 175,300 people living on 25,000 square miles of land. The Tribal Council and all other Administrative offices are in this very small community. We drove around and through the government complex until we found the very nice “Window Rock.”
Since it was near lunch time when we arrived, we looked for a place to eat and chose a restaurant, named the Dine Restaurant, which was absolutely filled with Navajo, mostly women. We asked if something special was going on as we had also seen a flea market in full swing on the corner. The cashier said that it was Thursday, and the Navajo get paid on Thursdays. That was why so many in WalMart!
We went next door to the
Navajo Nation museum and looked around. Not much on display at all especially in contrast to the Native American art we had seen on display in BC, the Yukon and Alaska. There was lots of room for items in the building but, only some rugs, paintings, a few baskets, and pottery. I guess most fine collections are at the Smithsonian or in private museums.
Several of the displays at the museum were devoted to the Navajo Treaty with the US and what was called the “Long Walk” [1864-1868]. Over 8,500 Navajo endured 4 years of imprisonment at Fort Summer, NM and walked to the newly designated reservation land. Many died on the way due to poor rationing (such as flour, which the Navajos didn’t know how to prepare and ate raw), illnesses, and other hardships. When they finally returned home in 1868 they found their hogans, herds, and crops all destroyed.
Leaving due west out of Window Rock, continuing on highway 264 for about 50 miles, we came to the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. This post is the oldest continuously operated trading post in the Navajo Nation starting in 1876 by John Lorenzo Hubbell and later
with his sons.
Because of the “Long Walk” devastation, trading for food and products became extremely important. From all accounts, the Hubbell family was very fair in their dealings with the Navajo and because of this, they prospered. At one time, they owned over 30 trading posts with assorted warehouses and freight and stage lines. When Arizona became the 48th state, Hubbell was elected as the first state senator. We got a special treat by being able to view the inside of the Hubbell home whose walls are covered with art work and has the ceiling completely covered by baskets, some of them very old.
From here, we drove to the campground just inside the Canyon de Chelly National Monument and settled in for the evening in a shady tree covered spot. This pleasant campground is run by the Navajo Nation as is the lodge and restaurant nearby.
There are more photos below