Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A CITY IN THE SKY...


The days are warm but the nights are getting increasingly colder. So we head towards the setting sun.  We stop at the Acoma Pueblo, well the Sky City Casino to be more specific.  We arrive at their RV Park and we are the only ones there.  Ahhh… alone at last LOL….  It’s a parking lot with gravel spaces and small islands between each space. But for $13.50 per night with a Good Sam discount there is no complaining.  They also offer a package that we purchase for one night that includes: the RV space, Sky City Pueblo Tour, Photo Permit, a breakfast buffet at the Huwak’a restaurant in the casino, entrance to the Haak’u museum and lunch at the Y’aak’a Caf√© in the Sky City Cultural Center.  Since this is off-season, the Pueblo tours are only given on the weekends, so we originally plan to stay three nights.  However, by the third day we are having so much fun a forth night is added. (Gotta love the ability to change at any whim.)

The Sky City Casino is probably one of the nicest small casinos we have visited.  Everything is really clean. All of the employees are extremely friendly and the general atmosphere is comfortable.  Security is ever present and absolutely no one under 21 is allowed on the gaming floor.  The restrooms and restaurants are located along the perimeter and can be accessed without entering the casino.  The slot machines are loose enough to keep us playing for a long time and by the end of our stay, we have won enough to cover the cost of our stay and are a few dollars ahead. **

The Hakuu restaurant has great reasonably priced buffets.   A $2.00 discount is offered with: a player’s card coupon, an out of state driver’s license, if you’re over 50 or if you’re a truck driver… there are probably other discounts, but these are the ones displayed at the entrance.  The best buffet is the Friday night seafood buffet.  Thankfully we arrived early, because after 6:30 there is a line and a 20-30 minute wait to be seated.  This meal seems to bring in all of the locals with their families. (Plates piled high with King Crab Legs explain it all.) Everyone seems to know each other and it feels more like a crab feed at the community center than a casino buffet.
Huwak√° on Urbanspoon




The Sky City Pueblo is located about fifteen miles from the casino.  We park at the cultural center and a shuttle takes us with our guide up to the mesa top to the oldest continuously inhabited village in North America. The people of Acoma migrated here from the four corners region.  They originally settled on top of the nearby Enchanted Mesa, but did not stay there very long as lightening struck and destroyed the only access route to the top of the mesa.  So they moved a couple of miles over to the current location and have been there for over a thousand years.  The homes are all built from stone and adobe, similar to the ancient structures in the four corner’s area. The connections between the ancient pueblos of Hovenweep, Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon and the Sky City are evident.  There is no power, water or sewers on top of the mesa.  There are natural cisterns that collect rainwater, but this water is not considered potable and is used only for making adobe.  Potable water, firewood and propane are hauled up and outhouses line the perimeter of the mesa.  There are about twenty households who live year round in here and a hundred or more who stay seasonally.  Originally everything was carried up pathways in the side of the cliff, but in the 1920’s a Hollywood production blasted a road up the side of the cliff and later in 1975, while filming “My Name Is Nobody,” Henry Fonda paid to have the road paved.

The San Esteban Del Rey Mission built in the 1600’s during the Spanish occupation of the area still stands.  The original fifteenth century paintings of Saint Stephan and the Stations of the Cross hang on the walls.  Because the mission stays at a constant cool temperature and there is no direct sunlight, these works of are in exceptional condition. 

Bellamino
Local artists display their artwork, pottery, jewelry, and crafts in the cultural center patio and along the roads in the pueblo.  We are impressed with the pottery of Daniel Lucario his designs are more contemporary but do not completely abandon traditions.  We meet Conran Levantonio a Flint Napper.  He creates beautiful arrowheads and blades from obsidian and other stones.  A translucent obsidian arrowhead is added to the decorations inside of Dimples. From Bellamino we purchase a small talisman for good luck and to protect us from evil spirits.  (It works – see above ** above.)

Meteor Crater

After leaving Acoma, we stop at the Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona.  This is one of the places we both have wanted to visit since we were kids. We spend the night at the Meteor Crater RV Park just down the road from the crater.  The park is good for a no frills overnighter.  We each get a $2.00 discount off admission since we stay there.  Total cost: $26.00 to tour the museum and a giant hole in the ground.  All in all it’s fairly pricey and it’s really quite underwhelming.  Well, now we can check this off our bucket list and move on.

And moving on… it looks like Vegas, baby Vegas…

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