New Mexico wine
We had breakfast at the hotel and hit the road about 9:15 am. After stopping in Newkirk to fill up the gas tank, we drove to Alburquerque. We met up with a friend of mine and had lunch at Duran Central Pharmacy, located in Old Town. With lunch finished we walked around Old Town for a bit and then headed to the St. Clair Winery & Bistro. There we tasted a few wines and ended up purchasing their 2005 Merlot. By far the most interesting concoction there was the Green Chile wine. You could smell the chile and it had a little spicy aftertaste in what was an otherwise sweet wine. Once we left the winery, we said goodbye to my friend and headed west on Interstate 40 until we hooked up with Highway 53 on a little loop from Grants to Gallup. Along 53, we drove through the El Malpais National Monument and stopped at the Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave.
Volcanic explosion leftovers
We saw many ancient twisted trees and lava flow from thousands of years ago. In the cave, which stays at 31 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, we saw ice that was hundreds of feet deep and with the oldest of it thousands of years old. Further down the highway, there was Inscription Rock, the 200 foot high sandstone cliffs of El Morro which have been enscribed by visitors going all the way back to 1605. Then we headed to Gallup where we had dinner at Coal Street Pub and walked around the town for a bit. We also visited the El Rancho old school motel located on Route 66 to take some pictures before continuing west on Route 66 and Interstate 40. We finally made it to our motel, located somewhere in the middle of nowhere Arizona (Chambers) near the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park.