Gallup, NM

i arrived in gallop around 7pm and started driving up and down the route 66 motels looking for the right spot. it’s dark. in the peripherals i could see giant rocks shooting out of the ground but not clearly cause it’s dark. i hadn’t eaten. the hanger’s taking over | fuck this car | fuck that truck | how’s the la quinta inn gonna charge 9 shrimp cocktails for a night at their nursing homtel | fuck la quinta | I’m sick of all the music | why isn’t there some kind of new music I’m not sick of | I’ve heard all these notes before. why isn’t there some new note I’m not sick of | fuck notes | I’m hangry, that’s a buffet

the now-hiring sign and empty parking lot didn’t detour me from the buffet. i was sat at a dirty table. all the troughs were empty except one with some shitty chicken. i ate a couple bites of shitty chicken then left without saying anything or paying – i paid for it in the parking lot on my shoes. why do i do this to myself? i told god i’d stop eating at buffets if he’d save the shoes. i promise god i’ll stop doing shit all the time. they were good shoes. fuck that buffet.

el rancho-d.w. griffith’s brother, r.e. griffith, was a silent film actor who opened a chain of theaters in texas and a hotel in the desert. as the western genre was rising in popularity r.e. built a quality hotel in gallup, new mexico and lobbied to everyone he knew in hollywood that gallup was the place to shoot their western and el rancho hotel was the place for them to stay.john ford stayed there while directing the grapes of wrath, as did ronald reagan, spencer tracy, john wayne, jane fonda, joan crawford, mae west, lucille ball, rita hayworth, humphrey bogart,  katharine hepburn. it was in natural born killers when nearby route 491 was named route 666 (it was changed in 2003 due to christian protest and the native americans believing the road cursed- it’s where jim morrison saw the dead indian).

armand ortega-armand ortega grew up down the street from the hotel. his first job was pumping gas around the corner. on paydays he’d take his friends for burgers at el racho’s restaurant: they were fifteen cents a piece. later he began opening trading posts along the southwest highways and during the 70’s and 80’s when indian was chiq he and his team of salesmen were the goto guys for supplying department stores around the world with native american jewelry.

by the mid-70’s el rancho was in sad shape and up for auction. armand showed up won the auction and closed it for a couple months while he brought it back to the place he took his friends for burgers. while checking in he poked his head out of the office and walked over to say hello. i was so excited to talk to him; he thought i was funny.