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Up in the morning early, packed and into town for breakfast and pawn shops. May sound alarming, but these shops are regarded as the Navajo ‘banks’ where they hand over their possessions in exchange for money, and if not collected within the year or whatever the agreement is, the goods are put on sale, far cheaper than anywhere else. All run by the Navajo themselves in this extraordinary town. So we did our Indian shopping and went on the road again, with a last stop in Nature at Church Rock just outside Gallup.

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Freddie, Di and I walked up the arroyo (dry river bed) till we reached the head of the river (a large, damp, red rock) and came slowly back, loving every minute of this mini trek with its side canyons and caves and aromatic flowers and bushes,

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then back down to join the others

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and back on the road again, the mountains and mesas of the Indian tribal lands on every side. A very last stop off road for fry bread at this little shack, which turned out to be closed. So we left our camping chairs there for the next visitors

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and with the setting sun in the West at our backs, drove down into Albuquerque for our last stop. For the keen eyed, here is Betsy reflected in a shiny truck (well, you can just about make out her headlights..

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So now I’ve come to that part of the gig where we say our thank yous: to you, our friends and relations, whose interest and appreciation has been wonderful for us; to all the friendly, helpful and courteous people we met on the way who smoothed the way for us so well, and to my fellow travellers of course – extraordinary artists all. Jaki – visionary and, well, reason for us all being here; Diana – driver, organiser and all round expert on this area; Di – organiser, photographer and enthusiast; Fiona – kitchen boss and healer with ever ready first aid bag; Freddie – naturalist, explorer, general fixer and co-driver; and me – documenter and diarist. What a team! Off to the airport in a couple of hours. See you all soon.

Part 1 being Sedona to Gallup, where we are now in a motel, and it feels more like America to me (highways, trucks, trains, billboards, parking lots, diners, drive ins, Edward Hopper in fact). The start of the journey was more red rocks, stunningly so but I think we’ve all seen enough red rocks so I’ll just post one because it’s a nice one of Diana:

r66-9And then it was onto Route 66 which was everything I’d imagined it to be (not enough Harley Davidsons though, but loads of great long trucks, and a railway line running beside, with endless freight trains nose to tail – these came to haunt us later…..

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After miles of desert, we turned off the road actually INTO the desert: the Painted Desert as it is known. Time for lunch and we tried in vain to find a spot out of the wind. “And the wind it don’t stop for no one” is one of the lines of Jaki’s song written especially for us to learn on this trip. She’s so right. So we nestled by the car

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while Fiona tried to sort out a plastic bag. She’s in pyjamas too. Seems to be becoming de rigueur for us Lonesomes (limited wardrobes here due to limited space in Betsy).

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As fascinating as we are for people we meet, we find equally fascinating and enigmatic people:

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And the painted desert was, well, lush

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And here’s my image of the day: Fiona in pursuit of a photo:

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Back on the road again, and quite soon we were in Gallup. On the real route 66 ( the other one is the new fast highway):

 

 

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Not our motel, fortunately. We were next door, but this was a better sign. And here is the sunset view from our rooms. Much more Edward Hopper.

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And ps, the trains kept us awake all night, rumbling past our motel and sounding their massive sirens for the benefit of the level crossing just opposite. I worked out that they were a diminished chord, sometimes Phrygian, never reticent, ALL NIGHT.

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