Tag Archives: Grants

White Horse and Seven Lakes


The Drive from Grants, New Mexico over to the Indian ruins at Chaco Canyon was a pretty long one.  The website cautioned against relying on a GPS to find the place, as I guess it’s so ludicrously far out in the boonies that even satellites can’t find it.  From their website:

Warning: Some of the local roads recommended by map publishers and services using GPS devised to access Chaco are unsafe for passenger cars. Please use our written directions below to avoid getting lost or stuck.”

So I let their mediocre grammar slide, and printed out this here map.  I marked our starting point and our destination on there for you.

I didn’t figure it’d be too hard to find; the drive took me through the little towns of White Horse and Seven Lakes, so I figured I’d have some landmarks, and maybe even a gas station or two.  Boy, I figured wrong.

Um… This is Whitehorse?

Unbelievably enough, this intersection has a name. It’s clearly where 509 and 9 intersect. And Whitehorse is clearly located at that intersection…

Looks like a nice place.  I hope Benny gets the Littleton bump.

So this is it, this is the ‘town.’

Glad I didn’t grow up in Whitehorse.

And with that, it was on to Seven Lakes. Ok. This place will actually be a town.

So this sign used to say “Seven Lakes Ranch.” This doesn’t look horribly encouraging.

I guess this is it… Seriously, how did these places get put on the map? At least this place appears like it maybe, sort of used to have a store, a little bit.

The dead old ranch was pretty any who.

There’s actually what looks like some pretty old white-man ruins on the right there.

Yet another thriving metropolis in the beautiful southwest.

Fine. I guess I can’t buy any Gatorade on the way. At least I found my way around.  And when that sign says “ROUGH ROAD. May be Impassable, Travel at Your Own Risk” they do mean it’s totally safe for a tiny little Mazda 6 rental car right?  Sounds like Hertz’ risk to me….

20 or so miles down this here dirt road I finally found the place.  If it seems like I’m dragging my feet on showing you actual pictures of actual Chaco Canyon, well, I am.  I took well over 1,000 pictures on this particular day, and sorting them has proved to be a rather daunting little chore.  But I’m getting there.  I assure you, you won’t have to hold your proverbial horses too much longer.

-B. Littleton

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The I-40 Experience – Part 2


Unfortunately, what goes up must come down.  Well, I guess in this case what goes west must go east.  After the long drive to and a couple of days of work in Holbrook I headed back towards Albuquerque to Grants, NM.

It was a damn pretty day for the drive. View was decent too. Here we are at some random rest area tourist store thingy.

I like it.

Who’s up for some flapjacks?

I guess I misspoke. It wasn’t some random little shop. It was the Fort Courage Trading Post.

I don’t think it’s all that necessary to put ‘Keep Out’ on the sewage disposal sign.

I wonder if I have time to rebook my hotel…

I’m a little bit surprised this wasn’t a Pony Express sticker.

Hey, tourists in the west like busted old wagon shit.

Wild west wagon wheel with sun spots shot.

Later on down the road. Getting to beautiful Gallup, NM now.

A truly one stop shop. You can take care of all your gun, bow and arrow, and jewelry repair needs.

A refinery with a view.

The landscapes in the area really are gorgeous.

I love the sandstone cliffs.

Decent little sunset too. The start of one anyway.

Some random dilapidated building by the side of the highway.

Finally got to Grants just as the sun was setting.

Gorgeous sunsets in the area, that’s for sure.

Finally, Handy Andy’s Groceries. I actually really like some of the cheesy, neon, Americana, route 66 signs. This is where I get my Fat Tire around here.

And I’m pleased to announce, that that’s all for I-40.  Coming real soon, pictures and crap of Chaco Canyon.  And trust me, it’s worth seeing.

-B. Littleton

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The Sandstone Bluffs at El Malpais National Monument


While it might not have looked like it when I took my 250 mile jaunt through the desert, this area is home to some downright gorgeous places.  One of them being El Malpais National Monument.  As I’ve mentioned, I lived in this area for a few years as a kid, and in fact, my childhood dog was named ‘Malpais’ after this place.  That means that I kind of, sort of, know something about my subject for a change, and won’t have to rely on Wikipedia to tell you about what is it that I’m showing you.  However, I did still give you the link if you’re so compelled.

El Malpais translates to ‘the badlands’, and it’s composed of a massive lava flow, I don’t know it’s size, but I know it takes up miles upon miles of the desert.  The lava flow was created by Mt. Taylor, a long-since dormant volcano maybe 30 miles from the national monument itself.

It erupted about 3 million years ago (ok, I learned that from a placard while I was there) and the lava formed some incredibly ragged and dramatic black volcanic rock fixtures as it cooled.  This is in stark contrast to the sandstone that composes the majority of the landscape in the area.

They call it the badlands for a reason; these lava flows are impassable except on foot, and even then it can get pretty hairy.  Luckily for this flip-flop donning passerby, just inside the park was an overlook that sits high on top a series of these sandstone cliffs.  An incredibly dramatic place in it’s own desolate, wild west sort of way, and a nice place to stop and look around…

You are here.

And here we are.

Decent view from up there. You can see for a mile or two.

Gorgeous up there, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  The weather has been a major plus this trip.  70’s and sunny the whole time.  The high desert (surprisingly, we’re probably at about 6,500′ elevation, give or take) has a pretty sweet climate.

Erosion is a pretty sweet sculptor, really.

So the black stuff down there is the exposed lava flow, if you hadn’t figured that out for yourself… You probably had.

Obligatory I’m-in-a-desert yucca shot.

A couple of examples of the volcanic rock they had up at the overlook.

And there’s your volcano, Mt. Taylor.

Found these little ruins by the side of the road not too far from the overlook.

Cactus.

I was a little bummed when I noticed this. Seeing as how I’m pretty sure angle iron wasn’t around when this was originally constructed, they’ve done some work on keeping it intact… Or as intact as it is now anyway. Still pretty.

And finally, some other little sandstone cliff I seen on the way down from the top of the other, bigger sandstone cliff.

That’s all for today…  I hope you enjoyed your little scenic overlook.  If for some reason you ever find yourself bored in Grants, New Mexico (hey, you never know) I strongly suggest you give the place a look.  More from my Southwestern excursion coming before long…

-B. Littleton

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Filed under The Sights, The Sights of the Good Ol' US of A