On the way out of Gallup, still hungry, we stopped at a place we had been seeing billboards about over many miles — The Hotel el Rancho. It did look like a fairly old building, and the lobby was a wonderful mix of lodge and inn with a 1930’s feel.
We had a great breakfast and as we ate, the dining room filled up with a large number of people, all at one time. Most of them ordered apple pie al a mode. We noticed British accents, and when we spoke to the couple at the next table, they said they were part of a tour and were on their way from Chicago to Los Angeles. Their tour guide had recommended the apple pie!
After breakfast we gassed up, got some ice for the ice chest, and set off toward Albuquerque.
Along the way we stopped at a very nice New Mexico Information office and had a pleasant chat with the ranger there. He recommended a state park in the mountains above Santa Fe that we filed away for future reference.
Back on the road we encountered even stronger winds which at one point were filling the air with so much dust that the highway patrol slowed us down to about 25 mph and escorted us through the worst part. Surprisingly the teardrop tracked behind our Forester very nicely and I rarely felt any effect from the cross-wind.
We arrived in Albuquerque in mid-afternoon and because of the continuing winds we booked a room at a Quality Inn (we’re a little gun shy of RodeWay Inns right now), unhooked the trailer, and explored some of Old Town. We met a silversmith there. Diana asked him how he got started. He had gotten into the art many years ago when he tried to steal a ring for his girlfriend. He was caught and when a friend’s father bailed him out he told him, “Don’t be stupid. If you like that stuff, I’ll show you how to make it.” So he was taught how to become a silversmith as a teenager and has been one ever since. He was a nice man and a great example of how lives can be changed by thoughtful, caring people. He is never out of work and well-respected in town.
We had dinner at a wonderful establishment, the Church Street Cafe, which had been recommended to us by a friendly lady at a shop on the plaza. The food was wonderful and very different — true New Mexican cuisine. Five stars from us!
Back to the Quality Inn for a restful night. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?