Saturday, January 9, 2010

Paint the Desert Red

Back on the road at last! It feels good to be back in the Dod with her sweet aroma of gasoline mixed with sweet cherry air freshener and coffee, feeling the engine rumble beneath our feet and listening to everything from Prairie Home Companion to the Mars Volta.

Yesterday we drove north from Phoenix into Flagstaff and made a pit stop at Montezuma Castle - dwellings built into a stone wall by the Sinagua in the 1100s. There are about 45 rooms in the "castle" pictured below.

Unfortunately, visitors are not permitted to tour the dwellings due to much deterioration over the centuries.
How did they get up there?
This was the view (and, of course, the source of water) for the Sinaguas from Montezuma Castle.

After Montezuma Castle, we drove through Flagstaff and froze our butts off. We ran a couple errands and headed east towards Winslow, AZ. On the way, we came across signs for the meteor crater attraction. The 50,000 year old meteor crater is two and half miles in circumference and over 500 feet deep. Unfortunately, "the man" has been able to fence off and privatize that land and charge $15 a head to see the big hole. So, Chris and I give the man the finger and take pictures from the brochure.
Wow! For free, we even got to see the actual meteor plummeting towards Earth!
Even though we missed out on the Grand Canyon, we got to see a picture of another big ditch.

This morning, we continued east and drove up through the Painted Desert. We watched a short film on the history of the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Theodore Roosevelt and Route 66 before taking a stroll through the petrified garden. You might recall the visit to the petrified garden in South Dakota that charged $5 a person. Remember, the rock that resembled a ham? Yeah, that's the one. Well, come to find out, petrified wood isn't as rare as SD would like you to think. Petrified wood has been found in every state in the country! And that makes me this happy:

But, you know what makes me sad? Thieves. Damn greedy tourists steal a ton (literally thousands of pounds) of petrified wood from the Petrified Forest EVERY MONTH. It took millions and millions of years it took to turn the trees into stone. People are disrespecting Mother Nature and Father Time when they steal. Legend has it, anyone who steals from the Petrified Forest will be cursed with bad luck until they return the stolen goods. We're talking about relationships collapsing, planes crashing, alcoholism and even... giant blisters.

Dozens of people write in each year sending back the stones. Many testify that the guilt and bad luck they've endured since they stole the rock has been overwhelming.

Creature from the Triassic period at the visitor center.
Petrified wood, what!
OOoohh... AAaahh....
Petrified wood gets Chris pumped!
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore' to make plunder out of petrified wood.
Petrified wood rock face.
Does not make good firewood.

A whole petrified tree trunk.
Hm... this wood is hard as a rock!

We picnicked down the road at Lacey Point with a view from the Dod of this:

The layers of color are similar to the hills in the Badlands.
El Desierto Pintado
The painted desert.

In the afternoon, Chris pulled into Mark & Stoney's Garage to have a mechanic take a look at the new belt that was just put on. Stoney tightened up the tension of the belt but he said we should put a smaller one on soon.

A site from the road near the border of Arizona and New Mexico. How would you like to live there?

Once we entered New Mexico we headed to the historic city of Gallup developed on Route 66. It was lined with a pattern of Indian arts & crafts shop - cheap motel - gas station - drive-up diners - repeat. We're currently camped out at the Gallup Walmart, the strangest and busiest Walmart we've visited since Salt Lake City.


  1. I really LOVE your Blog!
    Makes me smile from ear to ear!
    Missing you both!
    xoxo Aunt, Kiki xoxo

  2. You guys need a shot of you and the Dod in the desert all Walt and Jesse style with Chris in his underwear with a gas mask on.