Gallup to New Mexico

05 July 2008

This morning we said Goodbye to The Grand Canyon State and Howdy to The Land Of Enchantment, New Mexico.

Flagstaff, Arizona was a relatively short drive along Interstate 40 from the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park where we have been staying for the last three nights. We arrived there just after 10:30am and wandered around the historic parts of the charming town for an hour, including a local art fair in the park where we amongst some of the nicest arts and crafts that I have seen for a while, we picked up a wooden butter server and knife.

Our South West USA guidebook mentioned a modern American bistro called Josephine’s that serves the best lunch in town. I’m not sure about it being the best in Flagstaff that Flagstaff has to offer, having not eaten in the dozens of other cafes and bistros that line the streets of the town’s historic district, but it was pretty damn good. It was also a perfect place to gather up our energy for the next, much longer drive, out of Arizona to Gallup in New Mexico where we’d be spending just one night.

It seems we have brought some English weather along for ride and heavy rain followed us for much of the way along I40 until the mid-afternoon and the Petrified Forest National Park. This was my first experience of driving on roads that are so straight that they disappear ahead of you into the horizon. The driving was easy as I set the RV’s cruise control on 65mph and pointed the bus east. The Petrified Forest National Park has some amazing scenery and geological formations along its 28 mile private park road, that I’m not sure exist anywhere else in the world. But I was tired, becoming grouchy and an encounter with a National Park ranger did little to improve my mood.

It was dark when we crossed the border from Arizona into New Mexico, but the Grand Canyon State did have one final surprise for us in the form of a coyote, caught in our headlamps and in the middle of the highway. Fortunately the coyote escaped unharmed and so did we as we arrived into Gallup a little tired eyed but otherwise safe and sound.

By Andy Clarke

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