|We had another day to kill while waiting on a solution to our engine problem with the Dutch Star. So, we decided to take the 97 mile drive out to Canyon de Chelley and do some exploring of the area around Gallup. We made a full day of it. The drive was nice on Hwy 264 and then 191. Good roads and beautiful scenery. Upon arriving at Canyon de Chelley we stopped in at the visitor center. Cottonwood campground is just below the visitor center and is run by the National Park Service. The park is open year round, no reservations. Restrooms, but no showers or hookups. 40' RV's or smaller only. We had a picnic lunch there before checking out the overlooks. There is a north and south rim. Because of the time of day we explored the south rim, as the north rim is better suited for early morning viewing. We didn't expect to see all the farmland and greenery down in the canyon. There are so many different colors, shapes & textures in the rock formations...simply breathtaking. Jeep tours are offered starting at $75 pp on up to $250, but we opted to drive the 37 mi round trip of the south rim. There are 7 different overlooks providing wonderful panoramic views of the canyons, the Defiance Plateau and the Chuska Mountains. We started at a elevation of 5,500 feet at the visitor center and it rose to 7,000 feet at the last lookout, Spider Rock. We hiked down to the White House Ruins, the subject of another post, but we could feel the elevation. Had it not been for breaking down in Gallup, I don't think we would have taken the time to visit Canyon de Chelley, but we highly recommended it. It is as beautiful and breathtaking as the Grand Canyon and much less people. Today we turned lemons into lemon meringue pie, what a treat!