Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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"Hi,how are you guys tonight? My name is Ray and I am your server this evening" So began our meal at the Best Western.Ray was chosen no doubt for his relentless cheerfulness and positive attitude even when faced with a couple of grizzlies like us.He even pitched up this morning with the same attitude.His dog may have died during the night and the neighbour may have stolen his best spanner - nothing was going to get this bloke down.Absolute pain in the butt.
So we struggled to get back on the I40 (Interstate 40) and whilst Roger was busy trying to get in touch with his SatNav side I drove slowly through the town of Williams and guess what?I found we were on part of the old Route 66 and there they were - wooden manikins at the doors of drug stores and swing door bars lined along the street. Lots of old fashioned American store fronts..Great.Quite a lot of the old Route 66 lies under or parallel to the I40
What would Kerouac's book have been like if he had travelled the North Circular Road instead.Not quite the same resonance
In the hotel tonight (Howard Johnson - free dead lizard with every room) there is a party of 6 Germans staying who are touring on hired Harleys.I can remember when HD were going bust after the onslaught of the Japanese bikes arriving in US and now people fly from all over the world and have bikes shipped around US to drive the American dream.I'm told they are not even the best bikes of their generation,that BMWs are the bike of choice but it doesn't carry the same image does it ? So we have each just had a meal of catfish so we are beginning to eat the dream as well.I do not know how Roger will describe the landscapes but in terms of scale and colour,nothing on our previous sojourn gets anywhere near.Over to you Roger.
Thank you Martin, very kind introduction, I must say. Well, I don't need to
Once again early start, this time after a much better breakfast
Sat nav gave trouble today, not sure why, but it refused to locate Flagstaff or Winslow for me, which meant it wouldn't calculate routes for us. Fine, I can read the map, but knowing just where you are on the map is helpful, as is knowing what roads you take to get exactly where you want to go.
On the way we stopped off at the Meteor Crater, the first proven and the biggest crater in the world, created by a meteor. Cost $14 each to get in. Very interesting museum there, the problem is that you could spend all day there, and we didn't have all day. So we missed out on the film and the ranger guided tour. But we went to the viewing platform, and had a good look round. Places like that are all very well, but they are difficult to get some sense of perspective - its a hole in the ground. 3/4 mile wide and 700 ft deep. So, its a big hole. Then you look through the telescope they have set up on a cardboard cut-out of a spaceman, 6 ft tall, at the bottom. But you can hardly see him with the naked eye. Why a spaceman? Well, they used the crater as a training ground for NASA, as its the closest terrain to the moon. They also had a wall of honour for the American spacemen (and women), and no mention of Valentina Tereshova (see Kazakstan if you don't know what I'm talking about!)
Went on from there to the Petrified forest
Essentially its a load of wood lying on the ground. But the wood had lain under the sea for ages and absorbed the chemicals until they turned to stone. So its lots of stone logs lying round. Doesn't sound all that impressive, but then I'm not writing a guide book. It really is worth seeing. The deposits are scattered around, so there are areas in between where there is little to see, then another outcrop. Some of the logs are huge, probably 4-6 ft in diameter, which shows they were big trees.
Moving on up the Park, we came to the painted desert, which is a huge canyon, with the hills(?) in all shades of colours. Mainly pinks, and such but really outstanding. Well worth a visit.
Continued on the route, and we made it to Gallup. Not an impressive place, its in Navajo Indian territory, and I guess the Americans aren't pumping money into Indian territory. Stopped off at a roadside shop to try and get lunch, but all they sold was frozen sandwiches, which didn't appeal. Also loads of Indian jewellery, but as we were the only people in the shop, they don't do a lot of trade. Lots of places along the road appeared run down, if not deserted altogether
Met some Indians outside the shop, who were very friendly to us, trying to teach us Indian language. The one guy was well pickled as well, but at least they were friendly.
Arrived here in Gallup with a powerful headache. Walked about a mile to the local store for some painkillers (our medicine chest seems to have none!) where we discovered that they don't have paracetamol or ibuprofen. So bought some local remedy - $1.29 plus tax for 2 tablets! What a rip off.
Anyway, set up in hotel for the night, the lady on reception in very hard working, also covering the bar and the restaurant. They certainly have a work ethic in the US.
Mileage 254, climbed almost 7000 ft today. Stanley has done a load of work.