Shared our 50th year together, doing what we always do, being together. None of the rest of the family was interested in attending a get together, as they were all too busy with their own lives. So the two of us just made like Elvis and ‘left the building’.
Wednesday was our day of anticipation, 50 years ago. Loading up the old reliable Holiday Rambler coach and Honda CRV tow, we then departed Albuquerque New Mexico for the Arizona Grand Canyon, just as we did back then following our wedding day.
Always seems that we are late leaving our home and doing the final details for the trips. Wednesday was no exception. We drove on Interstate 40 as far west as Gallup New Mexico, and parked for the night in the Walmart lot.
As we drove beneath the cloudy sky, on approach to Gallup, small hail and intense rain that slowed traffic to a crawl, pelted the coach for a few miles near last week’s horrific bus crash location west of Grants NM.
As we pulled into the Walmart lot 150 miles from ABQ, a real downpour engulfed us, leaving the lot appear as a river torrent with our parked coach moving backwards. The feeling was that we were a ship, still moving, due to the rivers of water flooding through the lot. We just sat and waited it out.
All storms in arid NM are welcome, relatively brief, and being patient, returns rewards of sunshine.
A Carl’s Jr was close and we planned on biscuits for breakfast… with something. The evening meal was from Walmart deli, chicken things [parts] that worked to satisfy the desire for a snack before nightfall.
True to Walmart ‘camp’, we bought a few supplies and apples for the trip. The goal for the day, was crossing into nearby Arizona, focused on Williams Arizona, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, [says the big iron arch over their entrance highway]. Along our anniversary route was also the Arizona Meteor Crater. An interesting bit of geologic history just off the interstate, which we bypassed on this trip.
We did turn north off of Interstate 40 and took the loop through the Arizona Painted Desert. The highway leads across some serious geologic erosion amid lots of colors of dirt, sand and rocks from a problematic environment long ago. EPA, if truly concerned in making all things right, ‘Must’ clean up that [naturally occurring] mess… some day. sarcasm bit on..
The loop, after showing our Golden Age Pass [free entry] crosses the Interstate 40 and begins to enter the Petrified Forest on the south side. A lot of big fallen trees that stiffened into solid rocks over the course of time, has intrigued residents and visitors since humanity first arrived.
Following the dawn of Creation ‘The Cambrian Explosion’, over 500 million years ago, set the forces of Intelligent design into play and growth of all sorts of living things of complexity spread across Pangaea, the solid single continent, prior to the tectonic plate drift so orderly and recognizable today.
225 million years ago, the dawn of dinosaurs, the big trees were growing happily in a sort of swamp/Savannah, like northern Florida conditions. Creatures [Dinosaurs] were now becoming prolific and very successful for their millions of years….,
That was until the volcanic eruption, ash and searing hot flow [akin to Mt St Helen’s], buried the flattened trees in this area.
The ensuing millions of years of burial and shallow sea submersion, encouraged the silica permeation into all cells. With other minerals adding their individual colors, the big ‘tree rocks’ today are interestingly decorated.
There are many other places in the world where similar sequence of events took place, leaving petrified forests preserved in their place. United States, Utah, California, New Mexico included.
The geologic formation’s position on the global landmass during this Petrified Forest heyday, was akin to being on the west coast of the USA today, but about 1,500 miles further southeast as continental drift continues unabated.
The end result is spectacular. The same log rocks are in place as when navigator and I first saw them 50 years ago. ISIS has not yet arrived to change history. According to the visitor center near the west gate, Holbrook Arizona, informed of Petrified Forest’s similarity not significantly changing for the last 80 to 120 years.
Fairly amazing, considering the fact that everyone and their truck has carted off countless tons of these treasures over the time of human history. The park itself covers over 200 square miles of area. Undoubted that millions of more tons of same is still buried, awaiting future erosion to reveal.
One large business lot near Holbrook, covers acres with the petrified tree rocks for sale. Do Not even think about taking the purchased rocks ‘into’ the National park. Severe penalties exist for those foolish enough to try.
The visitor center depicts the time of the trees and lush forests, with the ocean temperatures far warmer than today. On the center’s depicted scale of 1 to 6. We are below 1 today. At the time of the big trees, the scale depicts a 6, much warmer oceans back then. According to the graph, followed by countless cooling and warming cycles.
‘Climate Change’ has been in play for a long time, ‘nothing new under the sun’, is the old saying. This forest of ‘tree rocks’, to say nothing of studies in geologic history, is a must see for anyone erroneously being programed into believing politically about the earth’s natural cycles.
Note, Nothing to do with earlier Petrified Forest: Big meteor KT event [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qJPTjMnwNk] over 60 million years ago, harshly ended the Dinosaurs magnificently long, approximately 200 million year reign on their nice warm earth..
A visualization of the immediate and long-term environmental effects of the impact event which marked the end of the Cretaceous period, circa 65 mya. Produced by …
Leaving the Petrified Forest, we proceeded to Williams, west of Flagstaff Arizona. The shear numbers of freight trains seen on this trip amazed us. For the last ten years of travel, the trains were seldom seen strung out with containers of goods, stretching miles. Some even require several engines [five engines pulling on one ‘consist’ [the type and arrangement of train cars] pulling and others pushing, the loads were so heavy climbing the passes today.
With this resuscitated economy, business is obviously still good, Very good. The Arizona highways are being repaired and resurfaced after years of neglect. Miles of new pavement caused our speed to often be limited to one lane travel, slower than average.
Our RV park track side, was next to the Grand Canyon Railway siding, so we noted the train leaving and returning each day we were parked. Two other train railways, crossed on the mountain sides some distance from our RV park. Trains of freight regularly crossing those other roadbeds, periodically sound their horns, but distant and not loud. Trains, Trains, Trains, the sound of still vibrant economic activity for sure.
The day of our trip to the Grand Canyon was perfect, blue skies and white fluffy clouds. Entrance was free with the Golden Age pass [today $80]. The handicap card in the window afforded us also the entrance to the tour bus routes. Right up to the canyons edge just steps away, was fine viewing indeed. No problems finding a parking spot close, due to most children in school and those families not present at this time of year.
The El Tovar Hotel, classic old and right on the rim, has fine dining at reasonable prices. A plus, was the presence of articulate international servers. We enjoyed the recreation of our anniversary trip, by having finely prepared lunch turkey sandwich and salad. Good portions, at rates comparable to fast food joints in tourist areas.
After peering over the edge in a few choice spots, deep into the magnificently eroded abyss, we headed back to our Williams RV park for the night. The day trip entailed about 100 plus some miles…. of interesting forest and varying landscapes along the route. Camping is ongoing in the Kaibab Forest and other spots along the route we traveled. We could have easily driven the coach into the forest for a few nights.
One does note, paying attention to language spoken, that the overwhelming majority of visitors this time of year, are from abroad. Asians are well represented in economy of today’s exchange rate. According to brochures, 80% of visitors are international today.
Another quiet night in our RV park. The next day we headed for Flagstaff for a day of browsing for antiques and stuff. Not a lot of shops to easily locate, as we are not familiar with the city. Found one small interesting shop and talked with the owner that ironically recognized navigator from his visits to her ABQ antique mall, while she attended to the mall’s check out desk on her day shift.
Returned to Williams for another night of quiet relaxation, observing the Grand Canyon train with two diesel engines returning and precisely turning around the twelve rail cars, maneuvering back and forth on the Y track. Temperatures were mild every day and no rain while we there. Associate in California, informed us that the Ponderosa forest surrounding Flagstaff Arizona, was the largest in the world.
Prescott Arizona in the Honda, took up the following day. A nice trip of of about 70 miles each way, we did encounter several many ’round-a-bout’s controlling traffic along highway 89. Not that it has a lot of traffic crossing, just new traffic controls for the future, we surmise?
Prescott is very nice and lots of modern facilities. Visiting relative was the highlight of the day. Not visited for many years, we enjoyed the hour or so before returning back to Williams for the night.
In spite of overwhelming propensity for cinder mountains, including cinder base soil around this intensely volcanic area, I did some metal detecting at the nearby rodeo arena close to the RV park, and found some treasures lost by the riders. The Jr Rodeo was in progress the weekend we were camped nearby. Fun to watch the little kids on their full sized horses, timing their efforts to hogtie a goat, after riding their horse full speed to where the goat was tethered, jumping off.. rolling in the dirt at times. Some of those little kids [girls included] were actually very fast.
We slept one last night, breakfast in the coach, vacuum the floor, stow the gear, batten the hatches, drain the holding tanks, stow the hose and shore connection cords, bring in the slide out sides. Only then did we roll out of the pleasant little RV park and onto I-40 for the trip home. The free, excellent waffles and eggs breakfast were appreciated hospitality.
We decided to do the entire trip home in one day. At casual highway speeds, the trip is about 7-8 hours in a large slower vehicle, including stops for a fueling and lunch, touristy stop for leg stretching, and buying a little ‘wedding vase’ made from Indian hand fired clay, with horsehair decorative lines, before moving on east, back to ABQ NM.
Arrived home by 6:30PM. Clean out our gear, park the veteran Holiday Rambler rig, after separation of tow Honda, and we retired for the night. Will dump holding tanks tomorrow, refill the water storage, check the vitals, in preparation for the next trip to visit ‘America, the Beautiful’..
All in all, a most fine celebration of our life together. 50 Years 😊