Whats the American road trip without Route 66? On our journey zigzagging all over the country we managed to pretty much avoid it. Which is a shame, but we gotta follow where the attractions lead us. I originally didn’t think we would get to drive on this iconic highway. I knew we would pass over it a couple times. Turns out I was wrong. Within the next 2 days we will hit a 150 mile stretch of it through Arizona. Yes!
We drove south outside of Najavo land today. The stray dogs and wildish horses grooming the shoulder of the road unfenced became a regular fixture in our short stay here, and we are glad to see it go. It’s sad here. Reminiscent of a third world country. From highway 191 we hit the infamous route 66 and took it west to Petrified Forest National Park. The problem with going to amazing parks like Yellowstone, White Sands, Zion, and Bryce is that it kind of ruins it for other parks. You come to expect a lot more from nature outside of these parks and it doesn’t always deliver. Especially just coming from Southern Utah, we are a little snobby when it comes to natural features now. So while in Petrified Forest we tended to look over things fast and were waiting for that wow moment, as Tim Gunn would say. It never really happened. All snobbery aside PFNP is a pretty interesting park due to the combination of interesting natural and human features within its small boarders. The park contains some old pueblo ruins, nothing at all like the cities of mesa verde more like mesa verde’s tool shed. Near the site are some pretty cool petroglyths beaten into the rocks.
The park is also know for it’s “Painted Desert,” layers of easily erodible fine grain rock combine with iron and manganese giving it different layers of color. At first it looked a little tame compared to some of this similar rock formations we’ve seen driving through Utah but as we got deeper into the park we realized that its vastness and colors gave Utah painted deserts a run for their money. It was pretty rad.
Cool guy on the loose in the desert
The name sake of this park is where all the action is though, at least for me it is. I am fascinated and in love with petrified wood. There’s something about 250 million year old trees that were once part of the super continent, in subtropical Arizona, feed on and lived in by dinosaurs, becoming buried by volcanic soot and water, attacked by microscopic quartz and turned into solid rock, then exposed through millions of years of eroded soil and plate tectonics, that really gets me going. Can you dig it?!?! I find this stuff almost as cool as dinosaur fossils. The colors in these prehistoric tree rocks due to trapped minerals are amazing. I just can’t get enough of it. I’m kinda afraid that when i get older and have a house and some money I might spend a little too much on petrified wood decor. There is tons of this stuff in the park, scattered all over. There’s also some pretty large logs as well. Petrified wood will you marry me?
After PFNP we headed west on 66 and stopped in the small town of Holbrook AZ. The town is your typical 66 town, kinda run down, Antique cars, memorabilia everywhere, themed restaurants and hotels, touristy but shotty. In addition Holbrook also had a large collection of petrified wood shops and roadside boulders. or whatever you call these large chunks of fossilized wood. We ate dinner at a steak place with a stagecoach wild west theme. The waiter wouldn’t let us leave. I asked for the check 3 times. He kept bringing out food and ignoring my request. Nice guy but I wasn’t planning on sleeping at the steakhouse tonight . Instead,in true route 66 fashion we are spending the night inside of a cement wigwam. Whaaaaat?!? Check us out
On a side note, The van has been the topic of discussion among us and pass byers, and not because the the really awesome job i did on the interior but because of locks and security of the exterior. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked if it a a prisoner transport vehicle. What would small talk be if I didn’t follow with the corny joke about jill being my prisoner of course. Its happened in almost every state from Tennesee to New Mexico. They can’t seem to wrap there heads around the fact that there are places where your window will be broken just so someone can see if there’s anything inside. In New York i’m complemented by the security i have, in the middle of the country i’m looked at like a threat. I bring this up because today at PFNP another traveler commented on my locks. I had to say “yea well I’m coming from Brooklyn so…,” Then they always say “well thats a hell of a way to have to live.” And I guess there right.
Next Stop: Meteor Crater