Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chinle AZ to Gallup NM

Thursday, June 07, 2012
Canyon de Chelly, Chinle AZ to Gallup NM

Our night was quiet in the Cottonwood Campground. When we first went to bed there were a few dogs barking but they soon quit and it was very quiet. We slept well and woke up to another glorious blue sky. Our day started with breakfast in the Turquoise Lodge Cafeteria. The Turquoise Lodge is the hotel/motel run by the Navajo on the national park. The food was provided in a cafeteria that served both Navajo and American food.  One of the reviews said it was probably the only place in the world you could get a Navajo Taco and a Jello Salad.!!  Jane had blue corn pancakes and Ben had biscuits and gravy.  Both were good but not outstanding. 

Our first action of the day was to finish the visits to the Canyon de Chelly overlooks – the ones on the south rim. There were two arms of the canyon and the south one was not quite as deep. There was also no wind like yesterday afternoon so Jane made it to the edge to view down into the canyon. The most outstanding of the outlooks was the Spider Rock overlook with great views of Spider Rock – a spire probably 600 feet high. It was the end of a long ridge and most of the ridge was gone. 
Spider Rock
Ben views Canyon de Chelly
Leaving Chinle we drove south towards Ganado and Hubble Trading Post.  The journey of about 30 miles was through mostly desert plains with farms and some cattle but no crops. There must be hey or alfalfa grown somewhere because bales are for sale lots of places.  Not certain I mentioned the huge fields of hay grown just north of Cortez – but they were huge fields and had large storage facilities. 

Hubblell Trading Post National Monument was much as it was 100 years ago. It was full of beautiful jewelry and rugs as well as everyday merchandise. It operates much as it has over this time period. We bought a pound of the coffee that has been sold there for most of that 100 years and some blue corn flour. We could have easily spent $500 for a rug but resisted the temptation. We also were able to walk around the entire farm that had been managed by the Hubbell family – it is still an operating farm today. The tour of the house had just been completed and we opted not to wait for the next one in 1 ½ hours.
Hubbell Trading Post
 From Ganado we headed west to Window Rock, the headquarters city of the Navajo Nation. They have a legislature, and many national offices. We ate lunch under some trees across from the House of Legislation which did not appear to be in session.  They also had a very nice park near the “Window Rock”.   Since 2001 they have installed a monument to honor the WWII Code Talkers.  The original 29 were given the Gold Medal of Honor by President GW Bush in 2001 and the other additional Code Talkers or their family members were given a Silver Medal of Honor. Each of the Navajo’s who served as a code talker had a commemorative brick with their name near the monument.  The Navajo seem to be very patriotic.
Code Talker Monument
Window Rock
 After lunch we visited one of the Navajo Tribal Arts and Crafts Cooperatives. There was so much beautiful jewelry, pottery, rugs, and other crafts – we could have stayed all day but we had to get to Gallup before the Indian Supply Stores closed so Ben could by silver!  One really interesting thing we observed in this store was a young Navajo mother with her baby.  In one of our museum stops a guide told us of the usefulness of the baby carriers. The traditional ones where the baby is laced onto the flat frame that has a support or shade over the babies head. A story was told of a mother whose baby fell off the side of a horse but was not hurt due to the protection for the head.Well we saw a definite blending of the old culture with the new – the young mom we saw had her very healthy looking probably 6 month old baby laced into one of the old style carriers but it was then placed in a modern baby stroller! 

We made it to Gallup about 2:30 and found a campsite at USA RV Park. It has some really nice art work.

 We immediately left for Indian Supply to look for the flat silver Ben wanted. The place was very busy but did not have the type silver Ben wanted. After looking around we headed to the main area of downtown Gallup. There are more trading posts and galleries for Indian Arts and Crafts in Gallup than even in Santa Fe or Albuqurque. We looked around for about an hour and Jane finally selected a pair of silver earrings inlaid with coral, turquoise, and lapis.  We headed back to our campground to rest and passed another Indian Supply store – so we tried them and they had the silver Ben wanted as well as some beads in the same colors as Jane’s new earrings….now we have projects for when we get home! 
Gallup Shopping
 We wanted to have a green chili burger while in New Mexico so we went to the best restaurant in Gallup – according to Virtual Tourist – The Badlands Grill.  It was a very nice restaurant. Our appetizer was green chili won-tons with green chili marmalade – outstanding!  They were gone before I remembered to take a photo. We also had green chili hamburgers and some in-house made chips that were quite tasty.
We are back at camp, trying to catch up from several nights of poor internet. Not sure this will be much better but we shall try to catch up the blog and pay bill or two since they have a secure server.
Tomorrow Chaco Canyon – the last of Ben’s Indian sites to see – then we start east !

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