Published: January 7th 2007January 7th 2007
Longest day of driving so far - long, long stretches of straight highway and plains, lots of cattle, some horses, ranches, wind farms and deserted buildings. Just east of Albuquerque we began to see signs of snow and as the altitude changed along came the drifts of snow and lower temperatures. But there was not a cloud in the sky and it was relatively clear sailing to Gallup. The most colorful part of this segment of the trip was the billboards and brief encounters with historic Rt. 66 and then the dramatic change in the landscape as we passed through the Sandia Mts. of ALBQ and into canyonlands, mesas and Indian territory.
We ate lunch in Del’s diner on Rt. 66 in Tucumcari (eastern, NM) and then hit the road til sunset in Gallup (near the Arizona border) - and it was spectacular. Few clouds, but huge expanses of red rock, pink and gold sky and snow topped peaks in the far distance. The train system is alive and well in this part of the country. We lost count of the number of trains paralleling the highway and now in Gallup there is a constant rumble of double decker freight
trains across the street. We are staying at the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup for 2 nights - to gather our breath, watch the Patriots, explore a bit of this corner of the state and allow time for some exploration on our way into Tucson. The El Ranch is a glorious old hotel dating back to 1930. It was once known as the “home of the movie stars” because so many stayed here while making films in the area. We are staying in a room once used by Lee Remmick. There are loads of photos in the lobby of stars who stayed here like Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas, Katherine Hepburn and Ronald Reagan. This is also a major hub of Indian trading, although things are pretty quiet on a Sunday.
There are more photos below