Another day on the south west culture tour and we made it back into New Mexico. Gallup was a short 128 mile drive from Winslow. There’s not much to see on this section of I-40 except trains going by heading west. Also, it wasn’t as windy on the road as the day before.
We spent the night at the USA RV Park right in Gallup. When we arrived, there was a line of 5-6 rigs pulling in all at the same time. Everyone must have been on the same schedule. It was a nice enough park at $30 for the night. Basically, a pea stone lot with about 100 spaces with full hook-ups, cable, and free wifi.
We spent the next morning checking out downtown Gallup and listening to Navajo radio as we drove around. Yup, KYAT 94.5 fm, its all in Navajo – Yah-ta-hay! The town is on the edge of the Navajo and Zuni reservations and it’s the Native America Jewelry Capital of the World. At least it seemed so with all the retail and wholesale jewelry shops.
The Visitor Center was very helpful in directing us to right areas and shops. We visited the Cultural Center which has a nice museum of the Navajo culture. We visited a few jewelry shops. It appears that retailers buy jewelry from the artists in the reservations. Since Gallup is right off I-40 and near the reservations, it’s a good spot to market the jewelry. Gallup is also known for its wall mural depicting Navajo events. Here’s a picture of one.
We were looking for Zuni jewelry and found the best place to be Joe Milo’s Whitewater Trading Post which is about 17 miles south on Rt 602. I like Zuni pieces because of their inlay and geometric designs. I found a couple nice Zuni bolo ties made my local artists. One’s a Navajo rug design and the other is Rainbow Man, a Navajo Yei (sorta of a deity).
We drove thru Zuni Pueblo and then proceeded west on Rt 53 towards Grants. Rt 53 is the road less traveled and it is a very scenic road thru the Zuni reservation. A key point of interest is El Morro National Monument, also know as Inscription Rock. Its a really big outcropping of sandstone and was a traveling stop for the Indians, Spanish, and US settlers because of its natural water spring. Over the past 400 years, people left inscriptions on the rock. Its a dramatic setting and a piece of living history to see the signatures and inscriptions going back to the 1600’s. Here are some pictures.
This is a pretty area of New Mexico. Its not heavily traveled and it was nice to get off the highway and do some exploring. I read several Tony Hillerman novels that took place in this area and it was nice to see what I had visualized in his books.
We ended up the day in Grants, NM. The wind was blowing hard again with gust up to 50 mph. Luckily we had a tail wind most of the way. Next stop – I don’t know. We’re seeing where the wind blows us 🙂