Monday March 3, 2014 Quality Inn Suite 202 Winslow, Arizona 8PM MST
First thing this morning, after breakfast, we drove through downtown Gallup to another of my favorite shops—Perry Null Trading Company. I make an annual visit here for Native American jewelry, though I’ve purchased some beautiful pottery here, too. The first person we saw was Mel, a wonderful Native man who we always chat with about the trip and where we’ve been, where we’re going and where he suggests we go. Told him we still haven’t made it into Chaco and he said the road is awful. He was there with family one year for some ceremonials and they lost power and in driving out from the Canyon he blew a tire and wrecked an axle on the road. He said it is the middle of nowhere and there is no one out there to help you. Told him I was going to browse and he said great, just let him know if there was anything I wanted to see. An Anglo fellow, whose name turned out to be John, was doing some stocking or other stuff and I had wandered off from Mel who continued to chat with Bill about the trip and Bill’s favorite State and also what it is like being so close to Quebec at home. In the meantime, John and I got chatting and I told him that we usually stopped by once a year and were helped by Mel, Karen and Barry.
Karen, you may remember, is originally from Louisiana and she is back home for Mardi Gras, which I do believe is actually tomorrow. I’ll have to get out my Mardi Gras earrings for the occasion. We have been listening to New Orleans Jazz on XM67 for the past two days as we roll along. Reminds me of being in the Big Easy for JazzFest—a terrific time. Barry, in the meantime, has left Perry Null. He has been a chiropractor part –time and had gone to Mississippi to go into business with a friend. John said it apparently didn’t work out and he’s heard Barry is back in Gallup and is going to start a practice in town. He had been with Perry for 10 years.
I asked John to show me a terrific ring—an elongated coral oval set in silver that swiveled and is a lapis on the other side. Unfortunately, it was a 61/2 and though it fit on my pinky it was truly too long. A shorter one was a green stone on the underside and I didn’t care for it as well. So, with that I began my shopping in earnest. To begin I looked for a coral ring.
I should back up a bit here for those who are on this trip for the first time. Over the course of two years I acquired a full parture of turquoise—a squash blossom necklace with stud earring to match in needlepoint. I then purchased an unusual zigzag turquoise bracelet also in needlepoint and a small pinky ring to match. Last year I began my coral collection with another zigzag bracelet by the same artist. I wear these bracelets solo and sometimes together. I also purchased coral earrings and another pair that contain both coral and turquoise. The mission this year, then, was to complete the coral set.
To reiterate, I looked for a coral ring and found two florals that I liked. I also wanted a necklace that was somewhat simpler than the squash blossom which I sometimes find too bulky for what I’m wearing. The first necklace I chose matched the coral/turquoise earrings but was $600. That would have taken all of the money I’d allotted for this year’s purchases. While it is quite beautiful and I may, in another year, buy it, I found another which came with a pair of stud coral earrings and just loved it. When I took it off tonight, I was delighted to see that it is by the same craftsman who made my earrings from last year.
Lest one thinks I only buy for myself, I made some Christmas purchases too. Next year I start my lapis collection. Saw a bracelet I just loved but must save something to look forward to then. Having gotten everything wrapped up and after saying hi to Perry himself and several other of the sales force, we headed west to Arizona.
In looking at the map, we realized that we’d be in Holbrook by 11:30. There is absolutely nothing in Holbrook except the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Not that they are nothing—they are magnificent but we spent almost a whole day exploring them last year. Unlike Canyon de Chelley and Yellowstone they don’t call to us to return. So we decided to continue on to Winslow if not Flagstaff. I noticed that a State Park with ruins lay just about a mile north of the Interstate just outside Winslow and suggested to Bill that we explore it.
Oh, my Goodness! Stopped at the visitors’ center and paid the $7 fee—ONLY $7 ! And then we drove out across plains beginning to green up as a result of yesterday’s rain. The ruins were high up on a knoll and after climbing half-way up I gave the camera to Bill and sat on a bench, saying I couldn’t climb all the way. He felt badly for my disappointment but I was content on the bench. The sun was to my back so I decided to climb farther so I’d be facing the sun. We were the only ones there. The breeze rustled in the grasses, a bee buzzed me just to check me out, another bug landed on my arm but left when I moved it, a jet would fly over high in the almost cloudless sky and once in awhile a bird would chirp. I lifted my face to the sun and absorbed it all—there is always the suggestion of spirituality in these places. There are ancients buried here, their graves unmarked. A community lived here, with these incredibly unending vistas before them. The sacred San Francisco Peaks rise far in the distance, a second corner of the ancient homeland joining Mt Taylor back in Grants to mark its boundaries. There once was noise here—voices of adults and children and dogs and wild animals and the activities of weaving and pottery making and farming the three sisters. Now it is all silence and peace. I could have stayed all day with the ghosts just sunning and thinking of sub zero snowy Vermont and smiling.
After about 20 minutes I decided to venture farther up the knoll and in the end I joined Bill at the top, at the kiva and looked out at the sacred mesas to the North and the Little Colorado at our feet. Other visitors have gathered shards and placed them in nice arrangements on some of the flat rocks—we were asked not to remove anything and we assured the ranger that we had no desire to remove something –we would have no use for them and they belong where they were made and used. Just to make sure we kept our word we were observed by two little lizards to whom we spoke gently. As we ambled back down the hill we began to notice the tracks of animals: rabbits, mostly. There was some scat of horse and wild dog. And the frenzied tracks of canine that were too obviously a running, playing domestic dog.
As we drove toward the park exit we began to see where the water had gathered on the flat below the knoll. Lots of prints and the plants obviously greening up immediately since they don’t get rain that often. Off by the visitors’ center we saw the herd of wild horses grazing on the nice fresh salad bar. Turning the corner there was a huge jackrabbit on the side of the road. He took off into the brush but we backed up and I got two nice shots before driving off and relieving his stress. Continued to the second sight near the river but the rooms are outlined but not excavated. Not uncommon—those that have been excavated are now subject to deterioration by the elements. Often they are excavated, notes taken and artifacts noted and some taken for exhibit, and then they are filled back in to preserve them.
After about two hours at the site, we continued into Winslow and our suite at the Quality Inn. Took some pictures of the new purchases and then joined Bill in the grill downstairs for a light dinner. Met a man from Ky who now builds timber frame houses in Taos for a pretty penny and another who lives in Los Lunas and is an engineer for the railroad—Burlington Northern Santa Fe—one of Warren Buffett’s outfits.
We’re staying to do laundry and explore Winslow tomorrow before continuing west on Wednesday. One of the last of the Harvey Inns is here and there is an interesting museum as well as one of the Wolf’s Indian Heads. So, will tell you all about it tomorrow.
Did you catch the Oscars? What did you think? Oh,oh, The Blacklist. Later, KandB