Day 9: Chama to Española

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There was no plan other than to drive South and look for a hotel when we got to a town we like.  That was the plan.  First though, breakfast.

We went to the Charma Grill which was functional and the potato and eggs were really pretty nice.  An odd feature was the separate knife, fork and spoon dispensers where you pull a little lever on the right to get one.  They'd put the dispenser too high on the wall that they'd had to put a fixed stool under this one for people that couldn't reach.  Someone actually did that.

We pushed the town of Abiquiu into the GPS.  The name rang a bell but I just couldn't think why.

The route was a single road from Chama through to Abiquiu but through lovely scenery.  The red rocks of Utah, into the pines of Colorado and now into more of a desert - though with the large hills continuing.

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Jane spotted a sign to the Echo Amphitheatre.  Walking up the base you can shout and hear a pretty decent echo.  Also, for the first time and in pretty much every expanse of rock you hear the angry-wasp-buzzing of someone flying a drone over it.

According to legend the curved stone cliff wall now known as Echo Amphitheater was the site where a group of Navajo executed a family of settlers. As the story goes, the victims were brought to the top of the cliff and killed, their blood running down the cliff wall and permanently staining it. Possibly in response to this legend another story says that years later a number of Navajo were in turn murdered in the same spot, once again staining the cliff wall with their draining blood. Now the natural echoing caused by the sites geography is often ascribed to the voices of the unquiet dead.
— http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/echo-amphitheatre
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Back onto the main road, we saw a sign and suddenly remembered why the town Abiquiú felt familiar.  It's Ghost Ranch the sometime home of Georgia O'Keeffe.

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We had thought there would be a hotel in Abiquiu.  Nope. Not that we could see from driving through.

After much driving around we hit a town and finally found a hotel.  Turns out it was super cheap and you can tell.  Putting a few things from the car into the room we went to find some food.  Sitting down waiting for the food to arrive we realised we had no idea where we were and if it hadn't said on the receipt we'd have remained ignorant.

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Day 8: Durango (Colorado) to Chama (New Mexico)

A two hour drive to Chama today.  This takes us into New Mexico - our final state of the trip.  Before leaving Durango we thought we'd give it another chance.  It has a population of 1.5 million so it can't just be what we saw when we were looking for a supermarket.  Turns out downtown is very nice.  Below is 'Iris Bridge' named after Durango Madam, Nellie "Iris" Spencer.

I enjoyed being a sporting person. Some of the guys were nice, some were sons of guns.
— Nellie "Iris" Spencer

Every hundred steps or so was a small picture of a rabbit with the slogan; "Books this way" and an arrow.  We followed them until we eventually got to some coloured chalk on the road with an arrow leading to a book store.  It was closed.

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We hung a right to try and find some food.  Turns out Colorado is closed on a Sunday.  There were some prettily coloured houses, but food?  No.

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Seeing a sign for another named rock (this time Chimney Rock) we headed over.  It was closed.  How do you close a rock?  No idea, but they had.

Further down the highway, we saw the Turkey Springs Trading Post.  I saw some cheeseburgers wrapped in foil vaguely heating.  Looked like the kind of thing that would come back and bite you.  Still - I was hungry.  The sign below was outside.  I decided against stealing anything.

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Leaving the red rocks of Utah behind the landscape somehow knew to change and was replaced by lot of hills in what I assume were pines or spruces.

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And then... goodbye to Colorado and hello to New Mexico.

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We couldn't seem to type the address into the GPS so we just headed for the centre of Chama.  We drove up and down the main street but no joy.  Back at the far end of town we stopped outside a bar and decided to go in, have a drink and ask.  The lemonade tasted like death.  We did, however, get instructions.  "Two miles down the road.  Over the river.  On the right."  Then there it was.  Booked into room 105 we unpacked then went for a small walk to stretch our legs before getting back in the car to look for old buildings to photograph.

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On the way back we dropped into the local shop to pick up some food.  I saw some "Fireball" Cinnamon Whiskey.  It was either going to be surprisingly nice, or we'd use it to unblock a drain. (Spoiler: It was actually quite nice - in moderation.)

I was ID'd.  Me.  They asked for ID.  I had to show my driving licence.

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Midway through the holiday Jules is flying into Albuquerque and we're all driving West to one of the locations from Breaking Bad since it's a nice accessible part of the desert.  It's only forty-five minutes from the hotel but it's not immediately clear how to get there with.  We'll need to get some lat/long co-ordinates.  It seems to be within an Indian Reservation.  Whether that makes access an issue I'm unsure.  Certainly last year were saw many signs saying we couldn't enter reservations - sometimes not at all because of prayer things going on - and sometimes without permits.  We'll have to investigate more.

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Sunrise kicks in at 7:16am so we'll need to leave at 6am to get there at 6am to get there.

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