Thursday, January 8, 2015

Roadtrip into New Mexico

Driving along the North rim of Canyon de Chelly then along the Eastern side of Arizona, still on the Navajo Reservation, the scenery remained breathtaking. Since we were driving through the Navajo Reservation, we could observe small communities of houses as well as scattered single homes often hogans. I read later in a weavers tour brochure available at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, this area is rich with Navajo weavers who have joined together to form sort of cooperatives. They have their own sheep, or other such animals producing fine fleece, that they shear, then spin their own yarn which they dye often with native plants then weave their rugs. With all these hours of labor it is no wonder the price of rugs is what it is. Navajo rugs speak to me, so a tour of these "cooperatives" sounds like it would be awesome!


During our brief stay in Gallup we visited the Richardson's Trading Company on Old Route 66 where the founder still comes to work even though he is in his mid90's. In this place one could spend days and still not see everything.  It is like a museum rich with very high quality, often very old, jewelry, rugs (check out this link to see awesome rugs!), saddles, kachina dolls, pottery and more. The people who work here are extremely knowledgeable about each weaver whether presently weaving or now passed, where each piece originated, and how it arrived at this trading post. Native Peoples come here to leave their heirlooms for dollars which they will use to survive. Some come back and retrieve their hocked pieces, others are not able to do so they are offered for sale.

Once we had worn ourselves out with taking in the museum quality atmosphere and asking numerous questions, we enjoyed lunch at Genaro's Authentic Mexican Food (#2 of 90 restaurants in Gallup). The simple place in an old neighborhood just off old Route 66 was packed with locals. We managed to get a table and a delightful waiter who explained the local dishes the restaurant offered. We ordered way too much food! But we enjoyed the variety of flavors and tasting new to us foods like the pozole which is unlike pozole eaten in California and comes with all entries instead of rice. I had not had a delish sopapilla since I moved from El Paso where I use to eat them regularly at Leo's. Overstuffed, we took Shasta to Red Rock Park for her lunch then took a hike into the beautiful red rocks dotted with patches of snow.

Just North of Gallup in the late afternoon with the
sun mostly set so the colors of the rock formation
is not as vibrant as in midday.

Red Rock Park just East of Gallup where we hiked before
departing to Albuquerque

We stayed in Old Town Albuquerque. We were within walking distance to the Rio Grande River along which are bike/walking/running trails. Along the river the city supports restoration of the bird habitat (famous for Sand Hill Cranes in the WInter) and has just received national recognition for its effort with a national prestigious annual grant. 

At night Old Town was awash with luminarias, both paper bags ones as well as electric. The whole area was simply enchanting!


This impressive center is owned by all 19 Pueblos and tells the stories, both past and present, of each one. In Pueblo Harvest Cafe we enjoyed a delicious dinner of New Mexico native cuisine of which blue corn and chiles (not always hot but always tasty) are central ingredients.


This spectacular lava mesa has over 17,000 petroglyph images created from 400 to over 2000 years ago!

Kachina figures 400 to 700 years old with an even older one on the right.

A Yucca blossom on the left.

A live rabbit taking in the scene.

A rock shelter at the top of the mesa facing snowy mountains and at dawn the rising sun.


This spot where these ancient Pueblo peoples settled is not only spectacular but conveniently located near the Rio Grande River. The original paintings lifted from the kiva walls are enchanting, telling stories of not only everyday life but of spiritual aspects as well. In respect of the "no photographs" there is no pictures of the Pueblo ruins which are behind the scene below.

As you contemplate a way of life unlike your own


  1. An email: "Wonderful pics and info. You planned this trip well. Thank you.
    Andrea Engelmann"

  2. Another email: "Hi Cathie, Really enjoying all your amazing pics and awesome info on your blog....INCREDIBLE! Thank you sooo much for sharing and so looking forward for more blog updates. Truly AWESOME!! Loads of LOVE and HUGS, Vickie"