Our RV Camp last night was just half a mile from Route 66 so I was able to ride directly from the campground to begin the ride. The sun was shining warmly and brightly, but the air temp was still a very cool 45F. I opted to take off without the long pants and jacket, knowing that I could always stop and “suit up” if the riding was too frigid. The optional goals today were to visit all the National Sites available at Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. By riding just a little harder than normal morning speed, I could ramp up enough body temp to make riding without the extra clothes possible, if not totally comfortable.
From the entry gate to the National Park (where our Lifetime Senior Pass got me on my bike, and Cathy with kids in Bridget, the RV, in for zero dollars! Entry price; $55!} it is 48 wandering miles across both parks. I was reasonably sure I could do that in the time allotted (park closes at 1700) but I probably wouldn’t be able to spend as much time at the many sites along the route as Cathy and kids could. So be it.
The incredible “stone logs” of the Petrified Forest were a source of fascination and awe. That they are still here after so many millennia is a wonder in itself. This area did not receive Federal Protection until the 1930s, and much of the highly sought minerals had been pilfered and removed from the area.
This immediate area and the surrounding countryside has been a rich source of fossils and paleontological finds. Grandson Gunner Goode is totally fascinated and immersed in all things dinosaur related and would have had a grand time here with his vast knowledge. 🙂 The cataclysmic climate change that saw these creatures disappear was also the event that laid down the giant rain-forest trees, eventually covered with river-borne sediment, that had their very cores changed into the solid mineral artifacts that we could enjoy today.
The constant climate changes and continually shifting techtonic plates that ever so slowly change the entire landscape have moved some of these tree specimens far out into the surrounding desert.
The afternoon sun worked against me getting the multiple colored hues that were so evident in the constantly changing geography of the area. It couldn’t keep the similarity of this giant “head” from reminding me of The Great Sphinx of Egypt! Cathy and kids made at least four other “off the main circuit” stops for views and info, but I’m not able to get the pix off her phone and the kids cameras to show you here. Maybe they’ll get published on a “slow day” off in the future travel.
Eons of change graphically displayed in an amazing palette of colors.
There was a time much more recent than the these earth altering events when Americans realized that they could get in their Model As, or, as in this case, their 1932 Studebakers, and actually drive to this part of the country on Route 66 and see the wonders for themselves. This relic is parked directly on a section of that early route, which was laid out and confirmed in 1926. The “comfort level” of that travel would have been FAR BELOW what these two present day travelers would deem acceptable.
Those that did make that adventurous journey often stayed in this luxury “Desert Home” made available for travelers. It even had the famous “Harvey Girls” of Hotel Fame as hostesses! The building has undergone several metamorphisms over the years, including being totally rebuilt by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936 into the Navajo Modern style. It is now staffed by the National Park Service for tours and special events.
The home was built before there were restrictions on using the materials and minerals from the Petrified Forest, so much of that was incorporated into the home. The skills of the local Native American craftsmen and Early Spanish Settlers influence can be seen in the construction.
RV Camps were non-existent from here to the border of New Mexico, so it was a short run down I40 to Gallup where the USA Camp RV welcomed us in with a big smile and a Veteran’s Discount, always appreciated. The welcome included the notice that overnight temps will be in the mid 20’s, so no water hookups may be left on overnight. Yeah, I know, it’s still below zero and single digits at home, so no loud complaining. And we know tomorrow will warm up quickly.
Glad to have you all along! We’ll listen to the trains go by again tonight that were in your backyards yesterday.
Thanks for visiting!