May 20, 2014

Tucumcari NM, through AZ, to Hurricane UT

We left Tucumcari with a four day weekend, and set off towards Arizona. We followed I40 and Rt 66 when possible. We were hoping to make another stop at Absolutely Neon in Albuquerque, but it was closed for the day, so we pushed on down the road. I did manage to snap this picture on our way through the city haha

Once we reached Arizona, things got windy. Terrifyingly windy. 50 mph wind gusts and an RV on the highway make for a bad time. We ended up pulling over in a gravel lot to wait it out, except that the wind was not predicted to let up for at least 5 hours. This was going to put a big dent in our travel plans. No problem, we'll just put on some music, have a beer, eat a sandwich, read a book, think positive. Check the weather...oh, now they just added SNOW to the forecast. At this point, Ed snapped, and jumped in the drivers seat determined to get us OUT of there.

So the wind seemed to have let up slightly, but then it starts snowing. Except it's not real snow, it's desert snow, and it's blowing sideways, and it's kind of like being in a slushy machine. Anyways, we make the bargain to drive the next 20ish miles to the Petrified Forest, and wait out the weather there, instead of in a gravel lot next to the train tracks. Best. Timing. Ever.

The snow stopped after we passed through the gates of the park (for free with our National Park Pass - thanks Mom & Dad H!) 

We were greeted with this unforgettable view.

The Painted Desert, as my Dad put it, "painted with snow"

Thawing out

People ask us if our RV has a name. We call it a number of things in a number of situations. It's our ship. Sometimes it's a starship, a TARDIS (you never know what's outside those doors), but usually we call him Hodor. If you're familiar with the Song of Ice and Fire books, or the Game of Thrones series, Hodor is not much look at...and he's pretty slow. But he is loyal, and really good at carrying you around. 

All the snow melted away in less than 40 minutes, leaving everything wet and more vibrantly colored.

Hodor portrait

Rt 66 used to go right through the park (I40 still does)

 Puerco Pueblo ruins

There are petroglyphs pecked into the desert varnish all over the park.

Hello again, Teepees

If you visit the park, the Blue Mesa Trail is a must.

Is this earth?

Stratigraphy, man.

Petrified wood

Thanks again Stephen. What a guy.

We rolled into Flagstaff that night and found a spot to sleep in the walmart parking lot. (due to weather and darkness, we missed this section of Rt 66 - here is part of it from the last time we came through) Flagstaff is a beautiful city surrounded by snow covered mountains, it's full of trees and campers and backpackers who look like they have a lot of stories. We turned north and took the scenic route 89 through the Coconino Reservation, over the Colorado river at the north end of the Grand Canyon. Then through the Vermillion Cliffs and up into the Kaibab National Forest. We were happy to see trees! They were pretty tall for being out west. It is a gorgeous drive the entire way, highly recommended if you're ever in the area. We finally reached Hurricane Utah, and set up camp in Sand Hollow State Park for the next three weeks.

Driving along AZ 89

Walking over the Navajo Bridge

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