This post documents our activities from November 15, 2021 to November 17, 2021. Additional pictures for this leg of our journey can be found here.
Continuing on our Winter 2021/22 westward journey, on November 15th we left New Mexico behind, enjoying some beautiful scenery as we headed further west towards Arizona, on one of our favorite roads, Route 66. Note that the original Route 66 has been replaced in many instances by Interstate 40. However, there are still vestiges of the old road that remain which usually provide some very scenic and interesting driving. Be careful however, in some cases the old Route 66 is definitely not large (or sometimes even medium) vehicle friendly! The drive from Kingman, AZ to Oatman via Sitgreaves Pass is a good example of that (more about that in a future post).
First stop would be a place we had stayed at before – OK RV Resort in Holbrook where we would stay for 2 nights, giving us enough time to revisit (read our 2017 post) the Petrified National Park and the Painted Desert.
From our basecamp at Holbrook it was a 27 minute drive along US-180E to the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor Center in “Red” our Jeep. At the visitor center “the Blue Mesa Room presents a slice of time in Petrified Forest’s long history. A mural of a Triassic river ecosystem sets the stage while the surrounding panels and displays explain how scientists and artists know what the land was like over 200 million years ago. Information on fossils, river ecology, plate tectonics, climatology, and stratigraphy all contribute to the painting of that mural. There is even a simulated fossil dig pit.”
After perusing all of the indoor exhibits, we moved outdoors so we could meander along the .4 mile Giant Logs loop trail which features some of the largest and most colorful logs in the park. “Old Faithful”, at the top of the trail, is almost ten feet wide at the base!
After leaving the museum, we spent the rest of the day driving through the park. Even though we have been to this area several times before, the scenery was just as awe inspiring as it was the first time. Below are some of the highlights. More photos can be seen by clicking here.
The Crystal Forest Trail is a .75 loop trailhead, named for the presence of crystals that can be found in the petrified logs.
Agate Bridge, formally known as Natural Bridge, is a partially exposed petrified log spanning a gully at Agate Mesa, forming a bridge. The log is about 100’ in length and 4’ in diameter at its base. It spans 40’ across the chasm and is 16’ above the canyon floor.
Named for their cone-like shape and similarity to Indian dwellings, the Tepees showcase the cool striated colors of the Blue Mesa Member in the Chinle Formation dating back 220-225 million years. They consist of thick deposits of grey, blue, purple, and green mudstones and white minor sandstone beds, and are colored by iron, manganese, and other minerals.
Newspaper Rock which is neither newspaper or a single rock boasts 650 petroglyphs covering a group of rockfaces within a small area. These petroglyphs were created by ancestral Puebloan people who lived, farmed and hunter along the Puerco River between 650 and 2,000 years ago.
A pullout created in 2006 with a vintage 1932 Studebaker pays homage to the old historic Route 66 which passes through the park.
After a wonderful day of sightseeing we headed back to the campground, taking a quick ride through town. Of particular interest in the town is the historic Wigwam Motel built in 1950 which quickly became a popular stop off location for Route 66 travelers.
That evening we enjoyed an absolutely spectacular sunset from our site.
Before we departed Holbrook we had breakfast at Tom and Suzie’s Diner. Not favorably impressed – food was mediocre and expensive! Stay tuned for more of our 2021/22 winter adventure!