Overland Expo Road Trip, Day 15


I  aware of a certain gap between day 10 and 15. Those were the days I was at the Expo, and were so full of friends, stories, classes, and laughter I didn’t get much writing done. Its more than can fit into a short daily blog, too.

So, we are instead picking up with me, Curiosity, and Blue back on the road. When I’d left home I’d hoped to go north to Salt Lake, but storms made me reevaluate that choice. Instead  following Route 66, more or less.

I left the Expo late, and just reached Gallup, NM as night was falling. I’d hoped to get to El Morro National Monument, but I felt like I’d hit a mental wall and had to stop.

When I woke up it was only 29f, so I waited a bit longer before leaving. I reached El Morro mid morning.

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El Morro (The Bluff in Spanish, according to the signs) was an important trading stop for the Native Pueblo people, and the for the Europeans who came later. Its the only water source for miles in an direction – there’s no spring but a sheltered area at the base of the bluff fills with rainwater and snow melt, somehow lasting the rest of the year.

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Since it was a popular stopping point, it developed into a center for trade, then a base of operations. The sandstone bluff was easy enough to carve, and through the centuries people passing through left their mark.

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The carvings stop in the early 1900s, when the national monument was established and defacing the bluff became a crime.

It was after noon when I was done hiking and back on the road. My trip to El Morro, while fun, hadn’t gotten me much closer to home, and I started to feel the first pangs of pressure to get the miles done. Of course, I still stopped for pie.

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You can’t skip pie.

My impression of Route 66 is mixed. The landscape is amazing, and some of the architecture harkens to a different time.

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But there are a lot of empty lots, closed buildings, and cracks in the road. The feeling is less of America in its Prime and more the aging high school quarterback, still wearing his letter jacket to the bar on weekends.

Of course, this melancholy attitude might just be post-expo blues. I’ve never done any real distance on Route 66, usually just to link to other roads I want to be using. Perhaps it gets better?

Tomorrow is a new day.

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