A crazy drive, three shifts and now another crazy drive (pale in comparison to the last). I woke up this morning, made some toast, did the dishes and took Myra for a walk. We wanted to get out early as it was going to be a long day. Starbucks and gas for the car were our first stops getting us out of Farmington around 10:00am. I was headed to Phoenix to visit my Aunt and pick up a friend who had traveled there for work.
The first stop on my “to see” list today was Gallup NM, a historic town on the reservation along Route 66. Gallup is mentioned frequently in “The Code Talker” and I really just wanted to see it for myself.
Gallup was bigger and cuter than I thought it would be. There appears to be a mall and Home Depo as well as other big chain stores, then you get down town and you can just see the age on the buildings, but they don’t look rundown at all, just dated. And in this case dated was good. My next stop was only slightly out of my way and that is Window Rock and the Code Talker Memorial. I met a Native gentleman there selling pots who grew up in Salem living with his grandfather. It is a small world.
Only seven more miles up the road was Fort Defiance, where the Navajo people were herded and marched to concentration type camps down in the south near Fort Sumner. Many pregnant women old men and children died on “the long walk” because if they stopped for anything, including labor, they were just shot as the rest were forced to continue. It also was and may still be a boarding school where Navajo children were sent to learn English. At one time all Navajo children were sent to these schools where they were treated poorly by the matrons. I asked a Navajo friend when they stopped being sent to boarding schools and she said they haven’t, still on the reservation 50% of Navajo children go to boarding school but now at least
they can come home on the weekends. Fort Defiance was very run down and looked like a poor oppressed community.
At this point I wasn’t all that close to Canyon de Chelly and it was north and I needed to go southwest but it was the closest I had been and I just couldn’t resist so I turned north for the 1+ hour drive.
In front of the visitors center was a hogan so you could look inside and see how it would have been set up.
I was not able to go in the canyon, or even see all the overlooks as I would have liked, but as it was I got out of Canyon De Chelly at 5:00pm and still had a 5+ hr drive ahead of me. I had some how turned a six hour drive into an all day affair. I have now made it to Phoenix and need to crash. Tomorrow is another day but this one will be filled with friends and family.