We have reservations beginning Wednesday just east of Holbrook, AZ, and figure they'll have space for us a few days early. Don't have to worry about that - Root 66 RV Park is empty. And it is still empty as we just keep on driving. The park is on the off-ramp. Seriously, the back of the "sites" is the freeway fence.
We figure we could do better. And we do.
OK RV Park in Holbrook is much quieter, cleaner, and feels a lot safer. It's also at the edge of town with access to eateries and stores. Not a lot of them, it's a small, somewhat quirky place.
|The popular 1960's wigwam motels of Route 66|
|Lots of dinosaurs in Holbrook|
|The pick ups are at the back of us, so more room than it looks|
We are excited to see the Petrified National Forest and Painted Desert. It's why we're here.
With high winds in the forecast for early in the week, Sunday is our day to see them.
Coming from the west side, our first stop is the Rainbow Forest. Small visitors center and a 1/4 mile loop trail with lots of petrified conifers to see and touch. I've seen petrified wood, have owned some nice small pieces. But I've not seen whole trees, and they are incredible.
|Buried for centuries, whole trees lie completely exposed today|
|Some have little wood grain remaining|
Information plaques note the logs that are still partially buried, and ones that have recently (since becoming a national park) come loose.
|Colorful deep canyons cut through miles of grass plains|
|Many petrified logs are still being "found" as erosion continues|
|This log fell over 100 feet when its tomb of rock and sand was washed away|
|The nice trail at Blue Mesa, begins and ends with a very steep trailhead.|
|Several miles of lavender-blue|
|Layers of historical information|
|No words necessary|
|There is no access to the canyon below the trail. The petroglyphs are well protected here|
|I'm happy with how well the zoom picked these up in the shadows|
|Feet and hands help tell this story|
|At the bottom of the cliff are these stones that look like they are cut and stacked - amazing|
|When I see bundt cake in the rocks I know it's time to find some lunch......|
The original structure had up to 100 rooms with hunting, fishing and small crops believed to have sustained a community of over 200 people. Building materials are a combination of stacked stone and adobe bricks.
|Rock and mortar foundations|
|Stacked stone with mud|
|I enjoy this more recent study of old places, giving us insight into the culture of belonging.|
|Large water fowl and frog|
|I thought maybe birds on top. Bill says hammocks :-)|
The north end of Petrified National Forest includes Painted Desert National Monument. With all the colors we've already seen, I suspect it will be more of the same. And I am so wrong.
|Completely speechless. Nearly cried.|
There are more pull-outs in this section, so fewer cars at each one. At a few we have the place to ourselves and it is completely silent. With the warm sun and slight breeze, just standing there and taking in the expanse of incredible beauty is very humbling.
The sun is fading as we head toward home on I-40. From the freeway there is no indication of all there is to see on either side. One could pass by all of this at 75 mph and never know what they've missed.
Don't. You'll miss so much.