Day Three, Sunday – Williams to Gallup:
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We awoke fairly early Sunday morning to discover that, like four years ago
, Williams had snowed on us again! Oh, not as heavily as back then, still, it managed to keep up the tradition...
It continued to dust us on and off with thin, wet snow as we headed east towards Flagstaff. Breakfast was going to be (as usual) at the Galaxy Diner
, and we were both pretty hungry. Actually, it was somewhat disappointing this time around – unusual for Galaxy
– but it was reasonably filling, and we didn't have to wait very long either.
Fed, the car gassed, and under dark, gray skies whipped by very high winds, we headed out on the 40 for Gallup. Just outside (okay, ten, fifteen miles
outside) of Flagstaff, we stopped at Twin Arrows, Arizona
, an old Route 66-era gas station/rest stop/trading post made famous by its two giant arrows stuck in the ground in front of it.
We discovered that the place had – in the last couple of years – closed. But the giant arrows were still there (if in need of a bit of paint), so we got out to take touristy pictures of ourselves in front of them, while the light snow blew horizontally past us in the stiff winds.
We pull off briefly in Holbrook so we can visit the "Wigwam Motel"
there. Forty or so years ago, Dee Dee and her family actually stayed at this rather cheesy bit of Route 66 theme motel (the rooms inside are actually more standard than they look) and says that – back then – they had a buffalo in a pen out front.
Now, they just have some classic cars parked in front of some of the teepees and, while you can still "Sleep in a TeePee," it's something you have to plan far in advance as they only do group reservations now – no "just drove ins" or such.
Then we went back to cruising the 40. As we headed east, the skies gradually lightened (snow vanished soon after Twin Arrows). In the distance, we could see the colors of the Painted Desert reflecting off the low clouds.
Stopping at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post
– halfway between Holbrook and Winslow, and another classic Route 66 tourist stop "Here It Is" – it was still gray,
and certainly still cold and windy, but we could see that the day was definitely improving. We also picked up some really good hot sauce there that we now wish we'd bought a bigger bottle of...
As we continued on we kept passing "Indian Trading Posts" – all apparently owned by Gilbert Ortega
– as the hills rose around us. Soon we were crossing the New Mexican border, just fifteen minutes from Gallup.
Once in Gallup, we drove around for a while, checking things out (and seeing the historic El Rancho Hotel
– note that an Ortega has a trading post there
too...) before we when and found ourselves a motel for the night. It was still cold and windy – though the sun was shining here and there – as we unpacked then got ready to go eat.
The motel suggested the Ranch Kitchen
, right up the street (Route 66, to be precise), so that's where we headed.
, do we recommend this place!
The Ranch Kitchen
serves diner, BBQ, and Navajo-style food, and serves it very well. Since I'd had it at the El Tovar
, Dee Dee had the Navajo Taco this time. Me, I tried the Lamb Stew – and enjoyed it very much. The place is very reasonable, with very large portions, and very tasty...
...Darn! Yet another
place we love over six-hundred miles from home...
(six-hundred and forty-seven, to be precise)
(addendum: And just to add insult to distance, it has since closed, as we discovered on the "New Mexican Eating Trip...")
(further addendum: And now it seems to have reopened! – though how the food is now is of course unknown to me)
(further further addendum: And now they're closed again...or a Chinese restaurant...it's hard to tell...
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