The largest community on old Route 66 between Albuquerque and Gallup, little Grants has an intriguing museum and enough chain hotels and inexpensive restaurants to make it a fair base for exploring the eastern half of this region. The night skies here are said to be some of the clearest in the world, making it a worthwhile stop for stargazers. The seat of Cibola County, Grants started out as a farming and ranching center, grew into a rail transport hub, and boomed during the 1950s when uranium was discovered in the nearby mountains. The city has struggled since then to find its economic niche.


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