We made it to our third state and crossed the continental divide… Yay! On our way to New Mexico we did a drive-by-visit of Petrified Forest National Park. We only had about an hour before the park closed but thought it would be worth checking out (when will we be in the middle of Arizona again anytime soon?). We stopped at the visitor center and were entertained by the enthusiasm of the ranger. There were about 10 people in the room and she was eating up the questions. Sad, lonely ranger getting her excitement for the day. It took us a while to get what we were looking at (225 million year old fossilized trees) but once we did, our confusion turned to fascination. We sped through the park as the sun went down and snapped a few pics of tepees and other paleontological wonders (oy).
For dinner we stopped at the El Rancho Motel and Hotel in Gallup, NM for dinner, a perfect little Lonely Planet treasure. Apparently back in the day it was a popular motel for movie stars like Doris Day and Humphrey Bogart. The highlight of the stop was a quick 15 minute chat with the gift store attendant about Native American jewelry and a little bit of background on Native American politics in the area. Here’s hoping we spend more time with locals on the rest of the trip.
Going to (try and) wake up early and check out the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta launch at 7am, wish us luck getting up!