Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

< Previous | List | Next > Almost getting lost in Malpais NM, visiting El Moro NM, sunset at Canyon de Chelley NP.

I'm in the middle of my US trip. This time next week, I'll be on the plane back home again.

Lava fields and yellow sand stone at El Malpais National Monument I didn't get much westward movement done today, but rather zigzagged north and south around the Grants/Gallup area. I departed around 8am from Grants, and headed south to El Malpais National Monument. The official viewpoints were not much to write home about, some volcanic flow and some sandstone, but there is an unpaved scenic byway, S.R. 42, that goes North on the West side of the park and provides an alternative route to El Moro NM.

The only problem was, I didn't have any map of the area. Furthermore, I had under-estimated the distance. So what happened was that I felt lost for a while, especially whenever roads would go left and right without any marks or signs. And indeed, if something had happened to me or the car,I would have had to walk perhaps twenty miles back to civilization - I didn't see a single soul the entire time.

Eventually, I found back to a highway, and headed West towards El Moro NM. Spent some time there, but quickly figured I was hungry, and therefore headed to Gallup, NM, to get something to eat.

"Spider Rock" minutes after sunset in Canyon de Chelly National Monument After lunch at KFC, some minor shopping and fueling up, I drove North to Canyon de Chelley. Time was running out before sunset, so I only toured the viewpoints of the South Rim. Shot some very nice sunset pictures.

Drove back South in the dark. In Sanders and Chambers, no inexpensive accommodation was to be found, so I backtracked to Gallup and checked in at the Ambassador Motel. While furniture was less worn and the room pretty big, one light wasn't working and there was no TV remote. I guess you can't have everything. In opposition to the other budget motels however, there was quite a bit of noise in the evening, probably from one of the other rooms. Walls didn't seem to be very solid.

The weather isn't as nice as it was on the first few days, but the day was relatively pleasant. In the morning, temperatures were close to freezing, as I discovered in a bottle of water I had left in the car, but throughout the day the sky was mostly clear and temperatures were higher. I guess it's still only March, and I'm at over 6000 feet of elevation. Weather reports indicate the Midwest is much worse, with temperatures of less than zero degrees Fahrenheit in the northern states.

Miles driven: 425mi (684km)

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Ambassador Motel (Gallup, NM): $23.40

Written on Sunday, March 10th 2002 in the Ambassador Motel in Gallup, NM.