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Route 66 - New Mexico

Petrified ForestThe Ninth Day

Well that was a bummer! I've been on the road for only nine days and I ran out of unmentionables and had to do a laundry.

Approaching the Arizona border I was struck by the number of garish homemade billboards that are strung out one after another and mostly advertising the Yellowhorse Trading Post—God, what a mess. I felt I was cheating by travelling the Interstate from Gallup, New Mexico but I tried twice to follow old Route 66 sections I saw beside the highway but they turned out to be dead ends.

Route 66 - ArizonaI was headed to the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. It's not really a side trip as my map shows that 66 used to follow this route. It cost $10 to enter both places but it was definitely worth it. The Petrified Forest was unbelievable but if they cleaned up all the old logs lying around it would be a tidier. And trees, a forest needs more trees.

Teepee MotelI went to Holbrook for lunch. One of my guide books suggested Joe & Aggie's—which is where I went. Nothing fancy, but the food was good. I ordered the enchilada and taco platter with the red sauce which was supposed to be spicy but really wasn't. The hot sauce with the natchos was though. Also in Holbrook is the Teepee Motel which is really cool and each teepee has a classic car placed in front. Too bad it wasn't time to get a room.

Standing On A Corner

I then headed to Winslow, Arizona to see if the was a girl in a flatbed Ford. There wasn't, but there were two Route 66 souvenir stores and a neat wall mural.

StormMeteor Crater

My next stop was Meteor Crater. Driving there was an adventure. I experience my first desert storm. The lightening, wind and rain came out of nowhere and was biblical in nature. The wind raised the dust of the desert and in the beginning it seemed like a mini version of the dust storms shown in the dust-bowl era photos. I made it to the highway exit and started down the 9 mile road to the crater hoping the rain would give out. About halfway there I gave up and turned around as the ditches were filling up fast and I was concerned about the flash floods you hear of in the desert. I ducked into a gas station for a coffee and spoke to the attendant who told me to wait five minutes as the weather in the desert changes fast—and she was right. Once the rain let up a bit I started down the road again parts of which were mud covered. The temperature in that short time dropped from 32°C to 17°C (90°F to 63°F).

I had always wanted to see Meteor Crater so that is why I was so determined to get there. It was worth the hassle and was very impressive. I'm not sure they should charge $12 though, after all it's a natural hole in the ground and the superficial movie, the gift shop and the museum are not wanted by the casual visitor like me.

Rest For The Weary

Tonight I'm staying in Flagstaff, Arizona. I put in 417 km or 259 miles today and for tomorrow, depending on whether it's still raining, I'm trekking up to the Grand Canyon—another must on my list.

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Meteor Crater
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