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©John R. Turner

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The El Rancho Motel in Gallup, New Mexico, near the Arizona border is an establishment recommended to me by my friend Dan Noel before he died in 2002. He had been there several times and told me it has a sort of 1930s funkiness which I would like. It advertises itself as a place where movie stars often stayed while filming in the Southwest. I had not had a chance to go until recently, but on the night of September 15, 2005, I checked into the El Rancho and found it to be pretty much as Dan had described. One thing about it, though, he had failed to tell me. It's motto is "The charm of yesterday, the convenience of the future." I was intrigued about how the El Rancho folk know the future is going to be convenient, but I didn't dare ask. All the rooms are named after movie stars and it turned out that Shirley and I were placed in the Richard Boone Room. There's nothing relating to Richard Boone inside the room, but as I dozed off to sleep, I wondered what it would have been like, in the 19th Century, to move about with a business card reading "Have Gun, Will Travel." The lobby, both downstairs and along a verandah on the second floor, is heavy and dark in the style of what was thought to be masculine fifty years ago. It doesn't have enough light for photographs, except for closeups. But, perhaps, the picture of yours truly reading a map upstairs will give you a sense of what it's like. The restaurant is pretty good -- not great but tasty enough for weary travellers. I'm glad I went there, at least once.
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The El Rancho Motel