Looking for native artwork? Stuffed bison heads? A heart attack on a plate? Dinosaurs? Petrified trees? Petroglyphs? Draw a line on the map from Albuquerque to Sedona, and you’ve got all that and more.

We started our slow crawl across the desert in Gallup, New Mexico, along what’s left of Route 66. (Let’s face it, there’s not much left of Route 66.) Karen is looking for paintings by a particular Gallup artist, so we hit the local pawn shops.

Of course, Karen is always looking for culinary delights as well. Top of her list for this trip: a Navajo Taco.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/Xf1zSf_v2Pk”]

Stumbling out of Jerry’s Cafe, we noticed that the line on the map goes through a green patch called the Petrified Forest National Park. Sounds cool- let’s go there.

Making the stop was almost an afterthought, yet the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert around it were a revelation, as jam-packed with cool stuff as that pawn shop. The desert colors leap out at those seeking natural beauty. Petroglyphs on desert rocks speak of early human habitation. Budding paleontologists can walk among evidence of some of the earliest dinosaurs, while the gem-like petrified wood gleams in the setting sun.

Yet another small spot on the map that was a big deal in real life.