We packed up the tent early and headed out of Monument Valley before most of the campers were up. We stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s in Kayenta. Our destinations for the day were Petrified Forest and Winslow, AZ.
We traveled back roads all day. What a joy it is to ride for many miles and see no cars. Also, it was cool and cloudy. We were surprised we had to put on the rain gear a couple of times. The rain wasn’t heavy, but apparently this is the beginning of what they call monsoon season. Our stops were for gas and coffee until we reached the park, where we had lunch.
After lunch we entered Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park. The first few stops of the route are above the Painted Desert. One of the stops is at the Painted Desert Inn, built in the early 20th century.
I was more interested in the geology of the park, so I didn’t pay attention to the history of the Inn.
The park road heads south over I-40 and the Satan Fe railroad tracks. A long freight was approaching as we crossed over. We waved and the engineer blew the horn. What fun! It was like being a kid all over again.
The area of the Petrified Forest was covered by a giant river 213 million years ago. The uplifted peaks’ layers reveal the river sand (dark brown), mud flats (grey), and volcanic ash (white).
The trees fell into the river, were covered in sand. Later volcanic ash seeped into the wood and replace the wood fibers with silica, which later formed quartz crystals.
This petrified log happens to lie above a modern day stream. The stream eroded the land under the log and it was in danger of falling apart. A concrete bridge was built under the log in 1917, to reinforce it.
There are some archeological sites along the road as well. This is a pueblo dwelling inhabited in the late 1200’s and early 1300s. There are some petroglyphs as well.
Some say the bird looks like a stork delivering a baby. Scientists say the bird resembles a present-day specie that eats frogs and other small animals.
Finally visited the Rainbow Forest Museum, where there is an extensive collection of petrified logs. There was also a cactus in bloom.
From the park we drove through Holbrook and stopped to take pictures of the Wigwam Motel (Historic 66 era) and the old cars parked in front of the tee pees.
My grandfather had a ’51 Studebaker. My dad had a ’55 Buick Special. I had a ’68 Kharman Ghia that I painted bright yellow. The one in the picture is a little older than 1968.
We moved on to Winslow, AZ and stopped on the corner to take pictures and visit the souvenir shop across the street. The city has set up the corner as a park. It draws a lot of attention.
Someone in the flat bed Ford is checking me out.
Finally we had dinner at the Falcon restaurant. I ate here with Road Glide friends three years ago. I remembered how good the food was and brought Beth here to share the authentic Mexican cooking.
Tomorrow we are going to explore the area southeast of Winslow and ride a few curvy roads.