09 May 2021

RAPEA - Day 25 - Gallup NM to Flagstaff AZ via I40 and Route 66

Farewell NM. I really liked the looks of your state but I hate your politics. If you ever get out of lockdown give me a call...maybe I'll return. But it's kind of disheartening when every tourist site is closed, motels no longer offer free breakfast or have the pools open and restaurants can't seem to find anyone to serve people.

Hello AZ! I can actually walk into a hotel lobby, restaurant or store with no mask! The downside of that is more traffic because more people are finally out and about. But few of them are staying at motels.

I started my day with a 1.2m hike around the rim of the Painted Desert at the Petrified Forest National Park. First off, will someone please notify the National Park Service of the definition of Forest? According to Dictionary.com a forest is:


1. a large tract of land covered with trees and underbrush; woodland

2. the trees on such a tract: to cut down a forest.

3. a tract of wooded grounds in England formerly belonging to the sovereign          and set apart for game.

4. a thick cluster of vertical objects: a forest of church spires.

Yeah...none of that exists in this particular "forest". This "forest" is horizontal not vertical. Petrified wood forms when fallen trees get washed down a river and buried under layers of mud, ash from volcanoes and other materials. Over millions of years, these minerals crystallize within the wood's cellular structure forming the stone-like material known as petrified wood. So scattered throughout the park these trees can be found from the miniscule to the ginormous. But they're all laying down on the job.

In my opinion, the best part of the park by far is the view of the Painted Desert floor. It just took my breath away...or maybe it was just the altitude since I was over 5,000 feet higher than where I usually reside. And Park Rangers are sneaky little devils. They place these informational signs just right so there's always another sign within sight beckoning you to come "learn things" as Dwayne Pride would say. Before I knew it I was hiking a 1.2 mile trail, one sign at a time. It felt great when I finished though.

While touring the the various overlooks I came across three Southern Belles of a certain age from northern GA in a red version of my car back home. I have dubbed them The Royal Wheeeee! because they were having an enormously good time trying to take a selfie with a stick against the backdrop of the Painted Desert. Their laughter was infectious and I envied their comedic intimacy as only three sisters on a road trip can be.

Next up was Holbrook AZ and the highly recognizable Wigwam Motel from the movie "Cars". And what a lot of classic cars there were! There was even a camper conversion of a classic VW Bug. I loved it! I even got to take a quick pic of the interior of one of the wigwams with it's typical, 50-60s made for TV, twin marital bed set up. I don't know how so many boomers were created when supposedly all parents slept in twin beds according to Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver, The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke...but I digress. But I've always wondered...whose bed wound up with the dang 'wet spot'.

"One of These Nights" "After the Thrill Is Gone" of "Life in the Fast Lane" in that "Ol 55" with all that "Fast Company" on "The Long Road Out of Eden" (I40), you'd be a "Certain Kind of Fool" with a "Frail Grasp on the Big Picture" to wait until you reach the "Hotel California" for an overnight stay. Don't end up like "James Dean", stop "In the City" of Winslow and enjoy a "Peaceful Easy Feeling" at the "Last Resort", or La Posada Hotel with a "Tequila Sunrise". "Do Something" for yourself and get "Busy Being Fabulous"! "I Can't Tell You Why" Winslow decided to "Take It To the Limit" after their resurgence in 1972 as a result of the Eagles/Jackson Browne song "Take It Easy" with the lyric "standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona". But "In the Long Run" it was a great investment. If you're a "Victim of Love" with a "Heartache Tonight" because a "Witchy Woman" claims you're "Guilty of the Crime" of belonging to the "I Love to Watch a Woman Dance" Club with your "Lyin' Eyes", don't become a "Desperado". "Get Over It"! You've "Wasted Time" enough in "The Sad Cafe". She's "Already Gone" and in Winslow there are plenty of "Pretty Maids All In a Row". "It's Your World Now". "You Are Not Alone". "I Wish You Peace". OK, "I Don't Want To Hear Anymore" either!

And of course no visit to Winslow would be complete without a visit to Meteor Crater National LandmarkThe crater is privately owned by the Barringer Family who claims it is the "best preserved meteorite crater on Earth", and as such it is not protected as a national monument, a status that would require federal ownership. It should be well preserved with what they charge for an entrance fee! But they do have some nice viewing platforms installed with labeled telescopes permanently focused on particular aspects of the crater and that was kind of cool.