Cindy and I used to go out west a lot. She put together some fantastic trips. I want to take time to remember these times. One of the first ventures out west was to Chaco Canyon. That whole journey was an amazing trip. We started by staying at the Nora Dixon in Corrales. Cindy and Norris took really good care of us. We were pleasantly surprised when we completed our journey and found they could take us for our last night in New Mexico.
The Nora Dixon B&B was an amazing place with some great views of the mountains.
We started by staying in Corrales for a night and visiting Old Alberquerque. I hope I get the details right as this was back in 2007, so memory can be foggy at my age.
After Corrales, we traveled out to Grants to stay overnight for a venture into Chaco. I was a shaman in training back then and also studying Native American healing ways as well as Aztec medicine of Curanderismo. I felt compelled to leave a sand painting on the desert floor at Chaco. That was part of the impetus for choosing New Mexico to visit. I also wanted to visit the Dine’ Nation and go to Gallup to see the Memorial to the Code Talkers.
From Grants, we traveled into the Dine’ Nation to Crownpoint to pick up some supplies. We stocked up on water and sandwiches as we were going deep into the desert. On the way out Navajo 9 we passed a Dine’ man and turned around to pick him up. It was hot and Navajo 9 is a long road going from Crownpoint to Cuba on the other side of the reservation. It is a very barren area.
We picked up the man and found that he had just got out of jail for drunkenness. While normally that would be upsetting, given that Whites often set up liquor stores just outside the reservations to entice reservation Natives to drink. Poverty is rampant on reservations so there is not much to do. That is a whole other topic which I visited many years ago, but still exists.
We took our new friend as far as the Chaco turnoff and left him with water and some sandwiches. I want to believe that that act of kindness led to our wonderful adventures to follow.
I am so glad we got a large SUV. The road to Chaco can be quite the kidney buster. It is all dirt. The journey from Crownpoint is about 41 miles. Be sure to bring plenty of water.
When we arrived at Chaco, we first went out to one of the ruins away from all the rest. I smudged myself and took out my sands from my bag. I wanted to ensure that this spiritual part of my journey was done properly. I made an offering of tobacco to the four directions and asked that by placing the turtle on the desert floor that it would bring peace and harmony to all.
I painted this turtle on the desert floor. The colors represent the four races of man. The center panel is a mixture of all colors representing the coming together of all in peace. I feel I failed at that. I also sent this sand painting to people around the world. I painted another at High Rock in Foxboro. My prayer was that that two turtles would journey towards each other and we would find peace finally. Part of me feels I failed in my prayers, but then again, turtles are slow and one is coming from New Mexico.
Chaco was absolutely amazing. I did lose my hat in one of the ruins. I respect the ruins so I did not try to retrieve it.
What I found most amazing was that these buildings were somewhat still standing after centuries. I was really moved by it all.
We stayed as long as we dared, but we had other places to visit. We did travel out to Los Alamos and stayed at the spas at Ojo Caliente. Unfortunately, the spas made me ill. Kind of counter to their intentions, but still.
Once we left Chaco, we headed out to Gallup. That was interesting. We decided to stay at the El Rancho which was where all the stars stayed. Cindy went to check us in, they manager offered us the Presidential Suite, the Ronald Reagan room. We didn’t think we could afford it but he suggested we check it out. Wow! A huge bathroom with bidet and two chairs, double sinks, magazines, all tiled in blue. We went back and said we didn’t think we could afford that but he offered for around $90, Cindy asked about AAA and he knocked it down to $75. Yep, we took it. Had a great meal in their restaurant too.
When we left Gallup, our planned next stop was to be the Acoma Pueblo. Acoma is the oldest continuously inhabited pueblo in the US. I sometimes wonder if the spirits sought to delay us intentionally. We hit one thunderstorm after another on the way back to Acoma. It really slowed us down. By the time we got there, the last tour had left. We had to stay overnight at the Casino. I wasn’t keen on the smoke in there, but it was nice.
We headed out first thing in the morning for the tour. Unfortunately, due to the agreement I signed with the Acoma people, I cannot publicly share the pictures. Shame as I have one of a white ladder against a kiva that is an amazing pic.
We arrived at the top of the mesa and was greeted by Orlando, one of the elders. Orlando was a hoot. He pointed out a scrub pine growing out of the rock that held their rain water and told us it was the national forest of Acoma. He then pointed out the Porta-potties they had and said they were the national bank. You can make a deposit, but might not like your withdrawal. We bought a nice horsehair pot from one of the vendors. We were told the story of how Coronado thought that this was the lost city of gold. The mica used on the windows would glow gold in the sunlight. He set siege and was repelled. He told us other stories as well. It was a fascinating tour. I hope to one day return. It was spitting rain the whole time. Not a real rain, just drops here and there. As were were set to return, I gave Orlando one of my panchos to wear. You might of though I gave him my right arm. I don’t mind getting wet by rain. It is nature and I am one with it. It made him happy and that was good.
If you ever get the chance, you really need to visit this magical place. I was blessed to have visited. It led to a few other great adventures including multiple trips to Sedona. I love the area.
Thank you for following my journey.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.