This post is challenging to write–how do we sum up 2.5 challenging years in a way that is honest, vulnerable, and still conveys that while Gallup wasn’t for us, we appreciate our time in Gallup. Well, we will try.
We lived in Gallup for 2.5 years. We tried, we really tried, to make the most of it. Gallup is a town that feels like it is insiders vs. outsiders. We were outsiders who desperately wanted to become insiders. We hosted weekly potlucks, we ran for office, we hosted movie nights, we participated in Main Street Gallup events. And it felt like we couldn’t get our footing no matter how hard we tried.
We made wonderful friends with other outsiders–people who were new to town or in town temporarily and a few select and very special insiders. Alas, as time went on, all (literally ALL) of those outsider friends moved on. We felt like we faced a never ending, uphill battle to make and re-make friends. Frankly, it got exhausting. Eventually, we stopped trying. Which led to feelings of isolation. We were in an ugly cycle. Plus, we moved there for Caitlyn’s job and that did not pan out as expected or advertised (and caused a lot of soul searching and angst). We saw the end of Cas’ term as the Chair of the Democratic Party as a logical departure for us.
It wasn’t all bad!
Gallup wasn’t all bad, despite that introduction. In fact, it strengthened our partnership–it was us against the world!
Gallup is in a breathtaking setting and there has been a lot of investment in hiking and biking trails throughout the area. We took advantage of hikes that rival hikes in Sedona and Garden of the Gods several times a week.
We also appreciated how many points of natural beauty were a day-trip away: Grand Canyon, Four Corners, Flagstaff, Zuni, Albuqueruqe, El Morro, and we could go on and on…And, we also love the friends we made and honor all of the time we spent in their company.
We admired all of the Navajo people we met who were true activists within Gallup and on the Navajo Reservation. The Black Mesa Water Coalition is a force! Janene Yazzi is someone to watch–she is going to make things happen in terms of environmental protections! The Red Nation is speaking up, loud and clear, about abuses to Native peoples. And a million other people are making statements by how they live their lives–with integrity, by honoring their ancestors, and making positive changes for them and their children. There is abounding inspiration.
Things come to end…
At the end of the day, we decided to break up with Gallup because it just is not a compatible match, we tried, we really did!
However, we recommend that you come to Gallup, though! Don’t get us wrong, come and enjoy the arts, the dancing, the special events! There are two main highlights for you to consider as you plan your visit! They draw people from all over the world to attend!
Gallup hosts the countries second-biggest Hot Air Balloon festival in the country! There are events at Red Rock State Park, at the golf course, and, believe it or not, the mall parking lot.
If you go to the events at Red Rock, you can climb up the mesas and see the balloons flying at eye level. It is a sight you will never forget. The festival is always at the beginning of December. It is weather dependant, of course, as conditions have to be right for flying.
Where to stay in Gallup
If you decide to visit during one of the events, book your Gallup hotel early. The events begin early in the morning (like 6!), so I’d suggest spending the night before in Gallup and, if you’d like to zip out of Gallup, you will have time after the events to drive to Albuquerque. If you are feeling adventurous, show up early, early, and offer to be on the run crew for one of the pilots!
Gallup also hosts the annual Intertribal Ceremonial at the start of August. It is a week packed with Native dancing, pow-wows, rodeos, art shows, and the crowning of a pageant queen. Tribes from across the country come to Gallup to celebrate, compete, and sell their wares. The Ceremonial has taken place every year since 1922.
Book your lodging reservations well ahead of time; hotels will sell out completely. It is a huge event.
And of course, if you are looking to go move to Gallup, stay in Gallup for a while, or date Gallup, please consider staying at our AirBnB!