Holbrook - Winslow, Arizona
What was I thinking planning a drive day on Sunday during football season? Good way to find myself single!
I don't want the hassle of changing reservations at a state park, so I add a stop that will make that Sunday drive very short - whew!
High winds are expected mid-day on Friday so we're on the road at the ungodly time of 7:50. Surprisingly there are others also preparing to leave. I'm usually not awake yet :-)
We have seen much of Arizona, and love all of it. This northeast corner is new to us, and all Navajo Nation with little to "see", and no place to stay (during our drive we do notice a park in Chinle, that might be open). I route us on a combination of Hwy 191 and smaller BIA roads. All two-lane, I don't think there was a single passing lane, and no pull-outs. Fortunately there's only a handful of other vehicles except near the two small towns we pass. The last miles on BIA 6 are rough, but otherwise it's a nice drive with wide open views of the desert. By the time we reach I-40 the anticipated winds are about 25 mph.
Arriving before 11 AM at any park is likely to get frowns from the registration office. At the Holbrook-Petrified Forest KOA I'm reminded they can't guarantee a site yet (of course the park is less than half full). We're generously allowed to check-in and set up in the gravel lot with 50 amp FHUs and average space between sites.
We've stayed in Holbrook before. It's a cute little town with several good eateries and a nice Safeway. Petrified wood, dinosaurs and Route 66 are the obvious draw. I remember a place with excellent green chili and we find our way back to Romo's Restaurant for lunch. The green chili Navajo Tacos don't disappoint.
The wind reaches 30+ mph and we hang out inside for the remainder of the day.
The geology and natural beauty is stunning. But either because we've seen it before, or because Utah has ruined us, the area doesn't have the same impact it did the first time. It's still a lovely day to be in another national park, and there are no crowds!
|Vibrant colors as far as you can see.|
In 1947 Hopi artist Fred Kabotie was commissioned to paint colorful murals throughout the public areas of the property. Their color and details were beautifully restored during renovations in 2006.
The Harvey family ran the hotel and restaurant until it closed to the public in 1963, and is part of that family's historic role along much of Route 66.
It's definitely worth a stop when you visit!
|Painted Desert Inn|
|Kabotie's mural in the meeting room.|
|Restored snackbar with 20 cent shakes. The Harveys are part of southwest history.|
|When the skylights above the bar are pointed out to the five of us in the room, we all say "Wow!" at the same time then laugh at each other's shared response.|
|The colorful dining room showcases the CCC's handmade furniture and more murals - with plenty of natural sunlight!|
|Hopi Dancers. The murals are definitely my favorite part of the inn.|
|Beautiful views from the small patio.|
|We much prefer this size "crowd" to those we found in Utah!|
|Newspaper Rock petroglyphs are protected at the bottom of the canyon below the overlook.|
|The lighting is a challenge, but the abundance of rock art is prodigious.|
|The Teepees tell a layered geologic story.|
|Petrified log in situ.|
|These ridges make me want to take a big broom and sweep them off,|
|so they look pretty like these :-)|
|Blue Mesa. Okay, we didn't see anything like this in Utah.|
|The walking trail through Rainbow Forest is a great place to see the fascinating metamorphosis these logs have gone through.|
|Some look much more rock than wood.|
|Rings of stone.|
|In the Visitors' Center. I love that there are still some things we don't know yet.|
|Hoarding as a decorating style. Can't believe I didn't get a pic of the yummy meal!|
Over morning coffee, before we leave Holbrook, I see on Facebook that Steve and Debbie are already at Homolovi. She was the first person to comment on my blog, also starting the fulltime life from California, a year ahead of us. We've read each other for years now, but only had one opportunity for a quick meetup almost two years ago.
I reach out when we arrive (we can see their rig from our side window), and surprise them with our location! They stop by for a short happy hour on their way to a romantic anniversary dinner in Winslow. It's wonderful to get caught up in person, and before they leave we make plans to have breakfast at their favorite place. Her FB post about the tasty options already had us planning to go!!
La Posada is another historic Harvey hotel, and is a gorgeous place! The Turquoise Room is a visual delight of southwestern style and colors. As expected, the Arizona Green Chili Eggs are delectable (we all have them). The coffee is also really good and we spend a couple hours enjoying good conversation with fun people. They're moving on today, and we look forward to seeing them in Q this winter.
|Debbie, Bill, Jodee and Steve - one of us doesn't need shades to be cool :-)|
Which is what we do for the rest of our Monday. Perfect weather, broad views, and a peaceful spirit. Reading in the fresh air, a couple short walks in the surrounding desert, and wishing I'd planned more days here.
|Our large site. 50 amp and water, level asphalt.|
|Late afternoon views.|
|Tiny twilight moon.|
|The sun sets on a perfect day.|
The rooms were unearthed during early excavation, but are covered now. The remaining structures are extremely fragile and experts agreed that returning them to the protection of the earth was the best means of saving them. The frames of ruins are generally part of the foundation, but in this area they are the tops of the walls.
Sharing the space with insects, birds and a light breeze, we spend a quiet hour in the small area looking at pot shards and imagining a much different life along the Little Colorado River.
|Tops of walls.|
|Shards and carved rock.|
|There are a lot of patterned pieces.|
|One of two sections of exposed wall.|
|Built along the banks of the Little Colorado River, evidence shows the village was flooded numerous times, and may have played a role in their decision to abandon their home.|
|Shards can be found everywhere.|
|The park discourages leaving "collections" of finds like this because it is not the "natural view" of the site. Rangers come through on a regular basis and sweep them back to the surrounding dirt. They do show the large variety.|
|With the zoom I find the start of a fire in the distant Coconino National Forest. We learn later it's a controlled burn.|
There are thousands of pottery shards at this site, and I don't realize until I get home that I didn't take a single photo of them this time.
|A small section of the 1200 room village of Homolovi II.|
|This large kiva was vandalized in the 1960's and restored by the parks service with assistance by the local Hopi Nation. It was the focal point of the Central Plaza.|
|This young Native American woman tells her son the history of the place. Her soft voice and reverent tone explain that the sacred mesas are a part of him. Their story is in his blood. I give them privacy, moved by this special moment of tradition.|
|Tuutukwi, the Hopi Mesas.|
|You don't see me....|
|Move on, we'd like to be alone!|
In either case, I seem to have made peace with Grasshopper. It's a lovely gift.
There is one short dirt road that I take behind an interesting outcropping. (I feel like I'm cheating on Bill). It leads to the back of the village site where I turn around and return home.
|No idea where this goes.|
|Small cave with pretty green stripe entry way.|
|Below the ruins, I imagine youngsters playing here in the shade.|
|A subtle sunset for our last evening.|