Kingman, AZ, to Gallup, NM

It’s true — home is where the heart is.  And right now, the Hanson home is a rented Toyota Sienna minivan, rolling along Interstate 40 East. The four of us, our two puppies, the AAA Triptik book, loads of good music and catch up conversation.  We’ve left the familiar Mojave landscape in the rearview mirror, crossed the mighty Colorado through Arizona, through the Land O’ Enchantment that is New Mexico, and are overnighted in Amarillo, in the Top of Texas, the Panhandle.

Kingman, Arizona was our first overnight. The town has been an oasis and trading center for travelers since Route 66 was laid down, and vestiges remain: the Route 66 souvenir shop, the Route 66 Motel and two Chinese restaurants, all sporting Vegas-worthy neon signs.

We then struck out toward New Mexico. But first, we paid a visit to The Grand Canyon: The Beautiful Detour. I’ve known of visitors from Europe and Asia who’ll make the drive from Las Vegas or Los Angeles, just to peer out over the edge.  There was a dusting of snow, an absence of crowds, a few splashes of autumn leaves, and blessed silence.

We stopped overnight in Gallup, New Mexico, where Scott and I made a snacks-and-drinks run last night to the nearby mini-mart.  Turns out the mart was shy on provisions, but it was also a Greyhound depot, a post office, and a laundromat. A random gathering was seated, watching Sunday Night Football and either waiting for the Albuquerque bus or for their clothes to dry.

Freight trains a half-mile long have been chugging along Interstate 40, laden with double-stacked cargo containers en route to or from southern California ports.  Those containers are either outbound and laden US products or they’re empty, having delivered imported goods throughout the land.  Same goes for the heavy truck traffic. We’re seeing the grand story of the US’ global trade machine played out before us every day, and I dig that!

Tom’s dad and mom both made a living in the railways: Dad built freight cars and Mom was a clerk stenographer. The four of us call out hello to Gramps whenever a train passes us by, so he’s certainly riding along with us on this trip, and we think he’d approve of this whole project! So, indeed, trains matter to our family.