Margaret likes to think she is a travel agent and has a particular talent for finding historic landmarks that also double as accommodation. In addition to smoothie making, she claims it as her super power.
Margaret discovered the El Rancho Hotel after a few talent-filled, back-breaking minutes with Google Search. Unfortunately her time was superfluous, as the freeway leading into Gallup is infested with billboards featuring Bob Hope and John Wayne and many others exhorting the traveler to stay at El Rancho.
Needless to say, the many billboards and other signage whetted our appetite for historic landmarks. It was a little disconcerting that the billboards all seemed to have been put up sometime in the mid ’60s and were showing a bit of weathering.
Upon arrival, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that Margaret’s historic landmark had turned into a truckstop motel. But looks can be deceiving. Inside, we discovered a spacious, cattle-horn-bedecked interior. Stepping up to the formica counter, we rang the little bell. A gentleman who was only slightly smaller than the turquoise stone on his belt buckle emerged from the back. He gave us our AAA discount and told us we would be in the Doris Day room.
We walked into the depths of the El Rancho, along a red carpet. The décor quickly changed from Cowboy Chic to Jailhouse Retro. Whitewashed brick walls led down a very narrow corridor lit by a lone naked bulb, buzzing angrily.
Margaret’s mother is accompanying us on this section of the trash blog. Her room was notable for the rhomboid shape of its shower, half of which could not accommodate anything shaped remotely like a human body.
All through the night, Margaret and I debated whether Doris Day had actually stayed in this room, or if Armand and the staff at the El Rancho were being creative with their décor. Whatever the case, we were treated to a four foot by three foot portrait of Doris, looming over our bed. There really is nothing quite like waking up in Gallup to the studio portrait of a pensive Doris Day.
The El Rancho is the first hotel we have had the pleasure of staying at on the trash blog. I can’t say that it stacks up too well against the many wonderful campsites we have visited. However, what it lacked in amenities, it made up for in…
[at this point I wanted to say something special about the plentiful horns of cattle that contributed so successfully to the decor of the El Rancho, but I realized that I didn’t know the singular form of cattle. I turned to Wikipedia for education, only to discover that this is actually an issue that the entire English language is struggling with. Under the heading “Singular Terminology Issue” I discovered that ‘Cattle’ is a plurale tantum, and that there is no non-sex or age-specific singular term for cattle. In the three paragraphs on the singular terminology issue I learned that ‘Cow’ is about as close as you are going to get to the singular of cattle, unless you are willing to go with ‘Cattle beast’, ‘Beef critter’ or are prepared to become a lot more specific with your bovine terminology.]
…beef critter horns, which were everywhere. Lamps, chairs, couches, tables, coat-hangers, beef critter horns were even used to mount and frame other beef critter horns. Truly charming.
Featured image credit: Gary Dee, found on Wikimedia Commons.