As one of the purposes of this trip was to do as much of Route 66 as possible, we had to drive into Gallup along the olde Route. Unlike Arizona they don't appear to have a 'preservation' society so even though the old road is there and marked, there isn't much on it. Lots and lots of 'tourist trap souvenir' places and stores that sell native Navajo wares. We had asked our host at the campground where she would shop as I was determined to buy at least one piece of turquoise jewelry. We went to the one shop she recommended and found beautiful authentic pieces priced very well. After much deliberation I picked out a bracelet and Don was just about to pay for it when I could hear something calling 'Melody - over here'. There was the most beautiful pendant of turquoise AND topaz. I have several topaz items already so it was the perfect pendant. We walked away both very pleased - me pleased with what we'd found and Don pleased with the price.
While downtown we did walk around and view some of the murals they have painted on some of their buildings. We also found a statue of a Navajo Code Talker from World War II. Apparently there was an entire battalion of Navajo who put a code in place to exchange secret messages that no one, to this day has been able to break.
We did find the Hotel El Rancho which was on Route 66 in it's heyday. Someone bought it in 1963 and restored it to it's original splendor. Several movies have been filmed in this area and this is where the stars stayed. The lobby is full of autographed pictures of all those very famous stars. We even found an autographed photo of Howard Hughes. It must be worth a fortune. It was bolted to the wall. I checked. We wanted to have a drink in the bar but it was only 4 in the afternoon and the bar wasn't open yet. I guess their happy hour starts later than ours.