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  • Writer's pictureBlaine Hoppenrath

Get Your Kicks in Gallup, New Mexico

"Back then cars came across the country a whole different way. The road didn't cut through the land like the interstate. It moved with the land. It rose. It fell. It curved. Cars didn't drive on it to make great time, they drove on it to have a great time." -Sally, from Disney/Pixar's Cars

I have always loved the movie Cars. It wasn't until I moved to the desert Southwest that the movie took on a whole new understanding for me. Living in Flagstaff and then Albuquerque I see constant reminders of the mother road that starts in Chicago and ends in LA.

Large portions of I-40 follow the previous Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona. Due to where my job takes me I traverse the route from Albuquerque to Needles frequently. I often feel the nostalgia of the mother road when I pass through Grants and Gallup in New Mexico, and Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, Seligman, and Kingman in Arizona.

The movie Cars is loosely inspired by the town of Peach Springs, AZ and the landscape of Gallup, NM. I had driven through Gallup so many times. To me it was always just a town off the Reservation. I didn't know a whole lot about it other than to drive through it.

So one day I stopped.

True to my spirit though, I found the hiking trail. To pyramid rock I went. It was a pretty awesome three mile hike, through the red rocks and up the backside of pyramid rock. It's a short, moderately difficult hike with some stunning views at the end.

At the top the view looks down and two very distinct icons. The highway and the railroad. Both move people and fright across the country and the freedom that comes with our ability to mobilize cross country is something that no one should take for granted. But with that freedom can come oversight. The oversight of towns and trails, people and places. The interstate is a great thing, but our mother road is even better.

If you find yourself within the realm of the ultimate drive follow the bypass through the towns the interstate passes. Get off the interstate and visit places like Red Rocks Park, and mozie on through downtown Gallup past the old rail station and the local shops. Pretend for a minute you are there in the heyday of Route 66. It makes the drive that much better.

I have spent almost two years in this part of the country and I am still learning and understanding these parts. I may never truly learn and understand this land and these places. But heck, I am going to try.

So get your kicks on Route 66. You'll see Amarillo to Gallup, New Mexico. Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino...

Trail Info- Red Rocks at Pyramid Rock

Distance: 3.4 Miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 755 Feet

Trailhead: 825 Outlaw Rd, Rehoboth, NM 87322

Difficulty: Moderate

Estimated Time: 1.5-2.5 Hours

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