Monday, November 28, 2011

The Panhandle, Acoma Sky City and land of the Navajo

Day 5

I got up early and headed down for breakfast, there was an enormous trucker and and a drug addict helping themselves to the buffet, I smelt weed in the air; which was fitting considering where I was staying. It was probably the worst hotel I have ever been to in my life, and this was a Super 8. I wrote a bad report and turned it in then poured some cereal and cheap coffee, gagged on the hard bagel then the extra strong cheap coffee. I was literally filtering the grounds though my teeth. I paid for my night, was asked how I slept and how everything was, I replied horrible as I walked out the door. I did a quick scan of my surroundings. The wind was blowing fiercely, kickin up loads of dust, the surrounding desert area was populated with the occasional outcroppings of  Denny's, Chevron and Golden Arch sign. I was literally in a populated dustbowl. I felt no need to check out anymore sights. This was Texas at its finest, and that was enough. I threw in my luggage and was off on the highway rollin away the miles. More Texas wasteland welcomed me. The area was called the panhandle. The terrain was flat as a pancake, with no intriguing points of interest besides that of the occasional tumble weed blowing across the road. Demitri Martin's joke came to mind about the more square a state is the worse it is to live there, "if your in a regular polygon get the hell outta there and move to a squiggly area. The culture is in the squiggles".  It was obscure but ironically true. I thought Texas isn't square enough to fit that mold, but it should be an exception.

             I finally crossed over the New Mexico border and stopped at the visitor center. and found way more intrinsic destinations throughout New Mexico than I thought was here. I'd always pictured it as a hot n' dry Navajo wasteland. But there was lava beds, national forests and volcanic lakes.; as intriguing as these natural prospects were I unfortunately faced a dilemma. It was saturday and I needed to get to Arizona and my mom's family for the Super Bowl. I grabbed a map and observed all the national forrests and sights to my north and wrote them down. I decided I was gonna come back through Colorado and Utah another time to see it all, but that would be another trip, it was the dead of winter and the further elevation I climbed the worse the weather would be.  I met these intriguing old people at a Starbucks in Albaquuque who had a knack for the area's history and were tellling me all aobu the culture and places to visit, which added to the feeling I was missing out. I explained my need for haste and they brushed it off as juvenile naivety when I brought up the super bowl. But I had the tour guide and I fully planned on coming back.

              I stop at this place called Acoma Sky City, which was an indian village ona cliff. It was nestled in between steep outcroppings on a lone plateau.It was only 11 miles off the freeway, and I wanted to feel like I saw a New Mexico attraction. However, I thought violent thoughts on leaving visitor center. I wanted to maul the squaw and brave in there. It closed at 5, and I get in there at 4:30, open the door and he stares me down; I stop and say  "I'm here to check out the sights" He just said were all closed here, I said "whatta mean? the sign says 5 pm?" He just said your our last visitor and were closing early, I said "now wait a minute, there's a good half hr, isn't there a video i can watch somewhere? or like some gallery explaining your native history?" He said, sorry were closing. I cant say at the time I blamed the westward expansion for forcing these Indians out of their native habitats. Armed with a plethora of knowledge form the useful Indian I headed out to find the sky city myself. I had to discover it, if I had taken the red skinned pony-tailed man's advice I'd been down the road and on the freeway missing the entire city. The roads were muddy and I felt like I was scaling a 45 degree incline on my way  up the mountainous dirt road. It was a winding route with no guard rail, which was mind blowing to me they'd risk cars careening off. But it was an indian road so that explained it pretty well. Once I breached the summit, I saw some cool sights up on top. the buildings were made from clay and grass molded and sun-baked to reconstruct the material the ancient city was once comprised of. It was getting dark and the sun was dropping low on the horizons and did'nt have much time, so I ran around and through the city snapping photos the whole time. The edge of the city opened up to  idyllic scenery below, with red mountainous plateaus outcropping a flat plain with snow-capped mountains of Northern New Mexico behind it.  I was glad I stopped, but I was not impressed with the Navajo; contrary to anyone's belief that Indians are nature lovers, from my experience, none are.  The western pioneers were fortunate to see that, and relocate them to trash the un-intriguing peices of land, they needed to be eliminated. My line of thought was along those lines as I sped away from the Acoma sky city and back on the freeway.

            I wanted to check out some points of interest I noticed once I got to Gallop New Mexico, but it was already dark. I thought about staying the night and checking those sights out in the morning, but of course that would have been the wise and safe move, so that wasn't decided on. In hindsight I definitely should have stayed in Gallop, because I ended up sleeping in a rest stop 17 miles west of the Arizona border. I considered back-tracking since my GPS couldnt find any motels til Holbrook, AZ 90 miles SW. There was the Cheiftan Inn, but I didnt like the name. If I thought it was cold the nights sleeping in the car before it was nothing compared to this, I meanin AZ? I expected warmer weather at night than this, I kept waking up and turning on the heat and getting a good circuit of warm air pumping through the car. Then decided to keep slippin on layers,  I had 2 layers of pants, sweatshirt, fur coat, and then I was warm enough to doze.

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