Today we set off for Window Rock (or, Tségháhoodzání in Navajo). This takes us into a fourth state. We'd only planned on three. But, Arizona here we come. The journey takes us through Gallup (murder capital of New Mexico) which we know sits on Route 66 as we stayed there last year.
We saw a sign for Route 66 so came off the highway and started on down it before... A u-turn and so back onto the highway we went.
After a short while we saw a second sign at Los Lunas, so again we pulled off the highway and started down Route 66. Look away now if you don't want to see how that panned out
Third time lucky. We ended up in Mesita (Population 804, just 10.7 square miles in size and a quarter of the residents living under the poverty line). A sign on the approach stated a bunch of rules including; No Photography, No Sketching, No Tape recording.
The little town consisted of buildings in various states of repair, but with three to four cars outside each. In the yards of most houses were small round adobe ovens called a 'Horno'.
Onwards we came across a big rock. I know. Another big rock. Wedged into a gap was a framed photo of a couple on a bike containing the text; "Klaus Dorrer 30.04.1956 - 08.03.2012. Aalen, Germany."
Route 66 continued on through Laguna and we started to recognise places from last year.
Ever onwards and into Budville.
Soon we were into San Fidel. It has a pleasing sign saying; "Geezerville". I've no idea why.
Into Grants there were loads of great old, rusting signs to photograph.
Nestled between a Sonic Burger and a McDonalds was the 1st Street Cafe. A no-brainer. A father was arm-wresting his son inside.
On the door of the cafe was a sign saying; "Guns are welcome on the premises. Please keep all weapons holstered unless a need arises. In such a case, judicious marksmanship is appreciated." I went to ask the owner if this was serious, or a joke. She said that a guy had come into the cafe and put his gun on a table. New Mexico is open carry so they couldn't ban guns, but the sign seemed to the best way to tell people they could bring guns in but to be careful. While I was asking about this a customer inserted himself into the conversation. He acted as a good example of how it's pretty impossible to have a nuanced conversation about gun control and legislation with an American who loves guns. The word liberal was bandied about a lot. I've been entirely sure what liberal means when used by certain Americans. To him, it meant "people who hate guns and hate successful people." By "successful people" I took it to mean Capitalism versus Socialism. We shook hands and no one got shot. Jane said that during the chat everyone else left the place, but I'm sure that was a coincidence.
The more we drove the more things we recognised from last year's trip. Passing the small shop in Bluewater Village we chatted to the owner that we remembered from last time. Jane bought a small butterly coaster.
Back on the road, at Continental Divide, we had to rejoin the I-40 and made good progress to our hotel at Window Rock