December 20, 2014, El Morro, NM- I set out for Zuni, a bit after noon today, preferring to wait for the last little bit of mail to arrive at my house. It was an inconsequential piece, but better safe than sorry. Gassing up at Costco, I headed to what I hoped would be a satisfying lunch at a local organic farm stand. As it happened, the farm stand’s sandwich maker has Saturdays off, so the choice was pastry, or pastry. I waited until Camp Verde, got a tuna sandwich from one of the chains, just off I-17, and continued on, past Flagstaff, to Winslow, where a delectable acai smoothie, from Mojo Coffee House, re-energized my focus.
The terrain is low-lying, through the Little Colorado River Valley, past Joseph City, Holbrook and the Petrified Forest National Park, then rises into chaparral forest near Navajo Travel Center. After taking advantage of good, inexpensive gas, at the Giant in Sanders, I followed HWY 191 to Hwy 61, which leads to the New Mexico state line. At the junction, I looked back and saw this:
It was getting dark, though, as I approached the settlement, where I met Penny, my late wife, on December 6, 1980. There was no visible place of accommodations, on the main road and Chu Chu’s Restaurant shut out its lights, just as I pulled into the parking lot. Getting the message, “Beat it”, I resolved to come back to Zuni in daylight.
My next choice for a dinner stop was Stagecoach Cafe, in Ramah. It was marvelous- a small, cozy room, filled with Southwestern decor, and offering hearty New Mexican-style cuisine. I opted for Red Chili Beef Enchiladas, followed by coffee and blueberry pie. I’d stop again at the Stagecoach, anytime. The owner told me about El Morro Cabins, so that’s where I headed next, and where I am now. This is a lovely reminder of the Cabins at Wolf Creek, where I stayed last year, on a return from Denver. One of these journeys will be spent entirely in one spot, a cabin like this, somewhere. (Photos in the next post).