Sunday, August 24, 2014

Towaoc to Casa Blanca

Kathi and I left the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc, CO about 8:30 this morning. It was a comfortable sixty degrees and the sun was shining bright, so I knew it would get hotter. We went south on US 491 and crossed into New Mexico. The mountain formations looked like sandstone, with dull yellow to tan coloring. Vegetation was sparse and light green.

We got to Shiprock and turned west to continue following US 491 which turned back south after a mile or so. Off to the west was a big rock that looked like an old European Cathedral. It turns out is called Shiprock which comes from the Navajo name. The Navajo name for the rock means winged rock.

We entered the Navajo Nation and stayed on Navajo land all the way through Shiprock, through Little Water and on to Gallup. We saw a lot of small Navajo villages, which consist mostly of trailers or prefab buildings. We also saw many trailers isolated and alone. The few communities we passed along the road consisted of a small grocery and gas station. We saw a lot of great rock formations during this part of the drive. Some through the windshield picture are included.

At Gallup, we got on I-40 and turned east. Our motorhome was kind of sluggish on some of these long climbs, so we had a lot of time to observe the scenery. From Gallup to Grants, most of the mountains appeared to be granite plateaus. As we passed Grants there was a lot of black and dark brown rock and dirt near the highway and granite plateaus in the background. The black rock always draws my attention, being in such contrast to the surrounding area.

We passed the Blue Water Lake State Park and the Sky city Casino on the way to Casa Blanca and the Dancing Eagle Casino at exit 108 on NM 23. This area of New Mexico and on east into Albuquerque is Pueblo Indian land.

We had a nice drive and will probably be here for a month or so. The price is right and I have a lot of writing to do while Kathi plays video poker at the Dancing Eagle.

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