One Goal Down...Westward Ho, Day 45 & 46: Cortez, CO, to Chambers, AZ, to Gallup, NM
With winter storm Draco threatening to dump a load of snow on the area, we left Cortez Tuesday morning, heading south on US-491 (the renamed US-666) toward New Mexico. Today was our day for slipping into Arizona for a quick visit so we could check it off our list, but our visit had to include finding and planting letterboxes there.
As we crossed the Colorado-New Mexico border, we entered Navajo Nation territory, the largest semi-autonomous area governed by Native Americans in the U.S. Covering parts of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, the Navajo reservation is slightly smaller than South Carolina, larger than the ten smallest states.
|Navajo Code Talker Memorial, Window Rock, AZ|
Continuing south, we left Navajo territory as we reached I-40. Since we already driven into New Mexico, Arizona was officially the last state to check off on our ambition to visit all of the 'Great 48' contiguous states this year. It seemed only fitting that we pause at the state welcome center for a commemorative photo.
|#48—We did it!|
|Petrified Forest National Park snitch sheet|
|Conscience Rocks (photo by Cronkite News)|
Entering our 48th state for this year completes part 1 of our goal. We have visited all the 48 states. Two parts remain: finding a letterbox in each state and planting a letterbox in each state. Our state find count stands at 47, with a New Mexico find not yet complete. On the plant count, we have six remaining: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Twelve days remain. Can we get the job done?
As promised by the weather forecasters, snow began to fall overnight on Tuesday, enough to inhibit travel and close schools on Wednesday. Since we planned two nights in Gallup, this gave us just the opportunity we needed to take a time out and deal with some long delayed matters. With snow falling outside our window, it was a great day to launder our clothes and prepare holiday cards for mailing.
By afternoon, the sun had arrived on the scene to work with the brisk winds in clearing streets. We are optimistic about conditions as we move on to Santa Fe tomorrow.
More Photos from Tuesday and Wednesday
|Variety of soil types give layers different colors.|
|So reminiscent of the Badlands|
|Searching for a letterbox|
|New Mexico Welcome Center on I-40: clean, friendly, nice smell, and beautiful Indian music—the best!|
|How Window Rock, AZ got its name|