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17 May 2021, Gallup, New Mexico

From Chandler, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ to Gallup, NM

The trip took around 6 hours, including a brief stop for a snack at Taco Bell, in Flagstaff (where I experienced a brief hailstorm), and some wandering around in Gallup, 190 miles later, before I found Red Roof Inn.

After checking in and unloading my stuff to the room, I went looking for a place to have a cup of coffee and write some notes for the journal. I ignorantly went in the wrong direction on the highway/freeway and found I couldn’t turn back until I had traveled 24 miles and had reached Lupton, in Apache County, Arizona, just over the border from New Mexico, a place I had already zipped by at 75 MPH, around an hour earlier.

So, add another 48 miles to the ~300 I had already traveled.

But, there was a place to have a cup of coffee—Speedy’s Truck Stop. Speedy’s serves Lupton’s few locals (Pop. 25) and the many truckers (and lost souls such as I) who travel US Highway 40.

It is a restaurant and a food, drinks and snacks store, with Indian-looking faux artifacts and children’s gewgaws for the occasional tourist, plus small tools and supplies for truckers and other motorists. And toilets, and fuel.

The large interior is very neat and well-tended. It appears to have once been a small plane hangar, or an industrial plant of some sort which needed a very high ceiling and lots of open space.

Below, a view from Speedy’s. Those are loaded railroad cars you see. Gallup seems to be a hub for many, very long trains going both east and west. [If you right-click on any image, and then click on ‘open image in new tab’, you will get a larger, more detailed view]

I assume all the staff are Navajo, or at least Native American—they appeared to be so. I had a heavy, deep-fried beef and bean burrito with my coffee. Another view from Speedy’s. We are at 6000 feet elevation here.

Earlier, in approaching Flagstaff from the south, I was reminded of the last time I took this route. It was in July 1995. I was just out of a job and a marriage. To clear my mind and soul to prepare for the next iteration of my life, I decided to travel in Arizona, the northern part I had not yet seen. A friend had a friend in suburb of Flagstaff. She set me up with that friend so I could have a place to stay on my way through. I was a beautiful setting, the balcony overlooking a thick forest (the elevation is between 6,000 and 7,000 feet around Flagstaff).

As I relaxed into the view and the sounds of the forest, I began to ponder my life’s path. I perceived recurring patterns. Try as I might, to go in direction A or B, I seemed always to revert to C. And, after some thought-less viewing of the forest, I found myself at peace and wrote this:

Words to describe my path:

To let go; to not-cling
To accept; things are as they are
To be open; to learn about the universe/my “self”

To live simply
To nourish loving relationships
To create and maintain a private space
To contribute to useful processes
To avoid negative people and processes.

Twenty-six years later, these phrases are still true for me.

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