Thursday, September 21, 2006

Day 6 - "...Gallup, New Mexico...."

Albuquerque is a beautiful city, nestled in the mountains. We followed Route 66 this morning through Albuquerque's Old Town, then headed off west.

Shortly after you leave Albuquerque you travel through several Indian reservations. Old Laguna, a Pueblo reservation, is home to St. Joseph's church (1630), pictured here. Route 66 takes you through several Pueblo villages, with soft, square adobe homes that match the landscape around them. Everything here is sage green or a light terracotta. It's so different to my eyes -- beautiful, but rugged and almost fierce. As we drove I wondered how it would be to grow up with this landscape. Would the tree-lined gentle hills of my home seem crowded to someone from here? Artifically green? Too moist?

It's incredible to watch the landscape change as we drive. We've seen flat lands and mountains and everything in between, black dirt and rust-colored dirt and dirt that's almost pink. Lush, end-of-the-summer vegetation and dry stream beds that only see water a short time during the year. Today we moved from the mountains of New Mexico to flatter ranch land (but still southwestern in feel) in Arizona.

Before you leave New Mexico is the continental divide -- 7275 ft. above sea level -- the point where waters on the west of the divide flows to the Pacific Ocean and the east side of the divide flow to the Atlantic. As northerners (and lovers of northern Ontario) we're more familiar with the Arctic/Atlantic watershed -- a point on Highway 11 north of Kirkland Lake, Ontario where the waters divide between the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean (to the south) and the Arctic Ocean (to the north).

After you cross into Arizona, much of the driving is on I-40. There are a few loops through small towns, but generally old Route 66 is gone or in such bad shape that's it's undrivable. One of the last loops we took today was through Holbrook, where the famous Wigwam Motel is located.

Our schedule for this trip has been planned partially around our hotel for tonight, La Posada in Winslow, Arizona. We called about 6 weeks ago on a recommendation (thanks, Ray!) and they were booked up all around the end of September. Except the 21st. It ended up working out well -- this was good timing for us to arrive here today -- didn't require much of a stretch to coordinate.

La Posada is an incredible hotel -- the restored landmark of the Santa Fe Railroad, the Harvey Company, and one of my favorite architects, Mary Coulter. Coulter was the designer of the Grand Canyon lodges and the interior of Union Station in Chicago. The hotel was rescued from the wrecking ball in the late '90s and is now being restored. We didn't get any photos today -- so more about La Posada tomorrow....


Blogger 66 Productions said...

Glad you are enjoying the Mother Road. There's plenty left to see. One correction, though, that the highest point on 66 is actually just west of Flagstaff at the Arizona Divide. Can't remember the exact height, but it is actually higher than the Continental Divide.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous John S. said...

The Wigwam Motel, another famous landmark that film makers always seem to include in a passing shot.

I've been watching the blog but have not had a chance to post until today. I hope you're haveing a great time!

11:30 AM  

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