Today, we visited Petrified Forest National Park, which is really two parks in one, the Painted Desert and the petrified forest. We started at the northern end, along I-40. This is the Painted Desert portion of the park. As we traveled south, the petrified forest part of the park took sway. It was extremely windy today. A red flag warning was issued for the day. After the park, we stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. We bagged the meteor crater, because we were feeling pretty crispy by then. We are in Flagstaff tonight and tomorrow night and then on to the Grand Canyon. We are staying in another old-time hotel, the Monte Vista, in downtown Flagstaff. Our assigned room was a little too quirky for us. Its shower and toilet were both down the hall. We upgraded to a much bigger room, the Alan Ladd room, with in room facilities. Yes, all of the rooms here are also named after move stars. Also, this hotel has neither a bellhop or bellhop carts. All of its entrances have stairs. How they get around the ADA laws I don’t know. So, we had to leave a lot of our luggage in the car. We parked beneath the hotel’s security camera. I hope everything is still there in the morning. Mostly what’s left in the car is our camping gear and there is no shortage of outfitters in this town. Our Route 66 guidebook steered us to a great dinner, at Pizzicletta, which features Neapolitan style, wood fired pizza. According to the book the best wood fired pizza in the state. It was indescribably good. We were going to be good and each only eat a quarter of the pie, but it was too good. Tomorrow, on weigh-in day, we’ll have to face the music.
We got up early this morning and headed back to Petroglyphs National Monument. This time we tried a different part of the park. We were rewarded with many more glyphs than yesterday. This section featured three pretty short trails, but one of them was pretty steep, a scramble to the top of the mesa and then back down the 70% incline. We did all three trails and got back to the hotel in plenty of time for checkout. Heading west out of Albuquerque, we passed a horrendous traffic jam headed east. An accident at a construction site caused the ten mile backup. There are a lot of trucks on I-40. We stopped in Grant for lunch and the pictured photo-op. We’re overnighting in Gallup, New Mexico, near the Arizona state line. Got here early, checked in and then walked around town, ate in the hotel and now I’m doing laundry. We’re staying in El Rancho Hotel. Founded in 1936, it has been New Mexico’s HQ for the stars. Built by the brother of Hollywood mogul DW Griffin, it has hosted dozens of movie stars over the years. Each room is labeled with the name of an actor that slept there. Our room was Irene Manning’s while she was shooting Desert Song, a WWII era musical that had been remade before and after.
The rule about art in Santa Fe is if you like it, you can’t afford it. We hit the Santa Fe art scene hard today and now at the end of the day it is hitting us back harder. We walked twelve miles today, which is well beyond our normal regimen of four. Today, we toured two art museums, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and we could have toured many more. We were not done there though, because in the afternoon, we headed up Canyon Road, where there are hundreds of art galleries. The Canyon Road corollary to the rule about art in Santa Fe is whether you like it or not, you still can’t afford it. We’ll miss seeing many more of the art museums that are in town and hundreds more art galleries too. Santa Fe claims to be the third biggest art mecca in the country. I figure NYC is number one, but I wonder which city is number two. We had dinner down by the railyards at another recommended New Mexican style restaurant, Tomasita’s. The place was full and we had to wait for a table. I suspect part of the problem was the waiting train next door, the Rail Runner. It shuttles back-and-forth between Santa Fe and Albuquerque daily, which is where we are headed tomorrow.
Today’s drive was without mishap, although we did encounter some weather, but there was nothing severe. I started off in shorts and a t-shirt. While leaving Amarillo, our motel was only a few miles from the iconic Cadillac Ranch, where some crazy Texan had plowed ten Cadillacs nose first into the dirt. Taggers have been working on them ever since. In some places the spray paint is so deep that it has taken on a form on its own. I posed for a token tag, but Anne was not willing to deface any art, even if she did get this great picture of it. When we crossed into New Mexico, I ended up in big boy pants and fleece,
We made it to Santa Fe. The last few miles on I-40 were a pain, too many trucks and too many rolling hills, needing the trucks to be passed and then causing the trucks to pass us. Also, there was too much rain and at the very end some very bad pavement. After yesterday’s happenstance this was the most concerning aspect of it all. This was all alleviated when we took the turnoff for Santa Fe.
Our hotel, the La Fonda, is one of the few remaining Harvey Hotels still in operation, though not still operated as a Harvey. It sits kitty-corner to the Plaza, the historic center of town and fronts on the old Santa Fe Trail. After check-in We explored the vicinity. The museums were closed today, so we concentrated on the art galleries, of which there were too many to see, at least in my opinion. We pretty much closed them and then we scored a table at one of the hotter restaurants nearby, the Shed. Tomorrow, is not a travel day, let’s call it an art day.