April 29 Grants NM to Farmington NM via Gallup
What better way to start the day then a trip to a Walmart? The 90 degree fitting Joe had on the water inlet to the camper was leaking so Needed replacing. Reprovisioned the fresh veggies and fruits and off we went up route 53 headed to El Malipas and El Morro National Monuments. The ranger at El Malipas explained that most of the walks there were of the extreme back woods type but there was a mile walk to see bat caves and lava tunnels. I thought of Roy and Terri Garland and their caving. The bat caves are closed to all activity due to the white nose disease that is wiping out bats. The walk was a gentle uphill but our living at sea level makes the lungs work harder at 8000 feet. Beautiful scenery all along the way especially the sight and smell of the junipers and pinion pines.
On to El Morro which is a towering rock formation. It is also known as Inscription Rock as there are petroglyphs from early Indian settlement, to Spanish explorers to early pioneers. We walked about two miles around the base of the rock, all alone except for bird and wind sounds.
We followed 53 to 36 and ended in Gallup. The land we crossed is so sparcely settled it was startling at times to meet another vehicle. In Gallup, Joe stopped at the local Ford dealer to see if they had a brush guard in stock. They had one left from when they used to be a dealer of Trail FX guards. The quoted price was low because they wanted it gone and the body shop worked us in. So now bring on the cattle, moose, elk, brush, rocks, etc. It was exactly what Joe wanted so it was just meant to be. I'd been not keen on the guard as I figured it would weigh a lot but the two of us lifted it very easily as it is tubing. While it was being installed we walked about a half mile to Jerry's Cafe. Since it was 2:30 by then, the line wasn't long. Does a line at a tiny hole in the wall place at 2:30 tell you the food was good? Oh my! Most of the patrons were Navajo so you know it was authentic style food. If ever in Gallup, you have to stop in as long as you don't mind a wait to be seated.
We are headed now for Chaco Canyon and all the rangers we talked to said to go in from the northern end. We followed route 666 out of Gallup to to Shiprock and then over to Farmington. Tonight we are in a flat, quiet Walmart and will head to Chaco tomorrow AM and hope to spend several days there before heading over to Canyon de Chelly.