Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bonneville Excursion 9/4/07 - Painted Desert, Petrified Forest

We started out in New Mexico. Towards the western edge of the state it was finally starting to look like what you think of when you think of the southwest.

After a bit of saddle time, we stopped for lunch in Gallup where I saw some bathroom graffiti that I'd never thought I'd see in m life.

East side TB, yo!

Today we only covered about 200 miles, the fewest total number we've done in a single day so far. However, we saw some pretty incredible stuff today, and I'm nothing but happy about it.

For the most part so far, Andrew and I have been making time, basically trying to get over near Arizona before we had any sights in mind to see. Today marked the first day where we actually came across one of those sights, and we spent a good bit of time checking it out.

When I was a kid I loved dinosaur stuff. I remember reading about the petrified forest and wanting to visit it, but when you've got a family of five, trips to Arizona are pretty far out of reach. Thirty years later, I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to actually experience this amazing place.

The Painted Desert is part of the same protected grounds as the Petrified Forest, so we were able to check it out on the tour. Pictures don't do this justice at ALL...but I tried to give you all an idea of what I saw here.

Me at the Painted Desert.

I have more than 150 photos from this day. It was just amazing. Having spent the majority of my life in the midwest, this was just amazing.

"Get your kicks..." What's left of on portion of Route 66.

Vintage rust near the old roadbed of Route 66. We could see these rain clouds all day, but we never got any of it, fortunately.

At Crystal Forest we got to see fossilized trees up close. I felt like I was seven years old. It was awesome!

Me with a genuine petrified tree! These aren't like those little fossils you find in river beds. These things are HUGE!

Tree closeup. Gorgeous colors. It took millions of years to make this.

We were in the park so long we ended up catching the sunset. This is looking west from the site of Crystal Forest.

We stopped for the night at Holbrook, AZ. It's kinda seedy in spots, like many towns along the old Route 66, but we found a decent Holiday Inn that we picked 'cause it looked like the bikes would be safe.

When I got the room I said, "Where can we get dinner?" The woman at the desk said, "Go down the road two miles on the left. Mesa Italiano Restaurant." As you can see by the sign, the place has seen better days. You can't even see the non-lighted arrow to the left that's supposed to be pointing down towards the restaurant name. All the bulbs are burned out. Nevertheless, we had a fine pizza there. It was the kind of "nice" place where the carpet had stains on it, but the tables were clean and set nicely. We actually looked like we matched the carpet more than the table settings.

In Holbrook, you'll have the "nice" place located adjacent to the bar and grille. These two places were physically connected. I sat right next to the door that opened into the bar and could hear all the talk and music, but only employees are allowed to use that door. It's kind of like a magic portal that regular people can't pass through. To actually go to the bar you had to go out of the restaurant and walk ten feet to the other outside door, which we saw two people do as we pulled up. I guess you can have a steak over candle light, and then go next door, shoot some pool, and and have a Lone Star or a Bud.

I'm beat, kids. I think we're going to be in Flagstaff tomorrow. Oh, and that dang tire thing happened again today. I dropped some pressure from the tire to try and ward off future problems. We'll see how this annoyance irons itself out. I'd sure hate to put on a new tire and score a groove in it two days later. That's an expensive way of making your way across the country.



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