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Sat. Oct. 11 to Fri. Oct 17- Westminster CO to Sun City AZ.

Saturday- We drove out of the Elks Lodge at around 10 AM, a late start for us. We drove west on I-70 to I-470, south to Castle Rock and on to Storrie Lake State Park in Las Vegas NM. We had a problem going up Raton Pass, as the engine overheated and we had to pull over to let it cool. Bob thinks he needs to clean the radiator. He put that on his to do list.

We parked in a nice spot in Storrie Lake, in the area of the park that we like, set up camp, ate leftover German food for dinner, watched TV and fell asleep on the recliners.

Sunday- We woke up to the MH rocking from the wind. We got up and watched the local ABQ TV stations showing the ABQ International Air Balloon Fiesta. They were unable to do the Grand Assentation due to the winds. The winds are supposed to get really bad later, so we rushed to leave and decided to stay in Santa Fe. We continued south on I-25. At a little after 9 AM, we called Santa Fe Skies RV Resort, where we have stayed in the past and reserved a site.

We texted Brian and Kathy Mungar our plans, as we have been planning to meet up with them. They have been attending the Balloon Fiesta. Brian texted back that he was going to call in a few minutes. Bob texted back that they better hurry as there were only a few sites left. Brian immediately called and could not get a site, so they are staying in San Felipe at the Casino.

We arrived and set up camp, $45 FHU 50 amp, drive thru. The drive was pretty windy, but the worst was yet to come!

We decided to run to brunch at Harry’s Roadhouse, a local favorite. We arrived to find it hard to park, but with a little patience we were able to get a spot.

My phone had been giving me an issue with the Google Messaging, so we went to a Verizon store. They were not helpful! As we left to return to the MH, it started to hail. We arrived back in time to watch the Redskin game, but could not get it on the satellite.

Bob called Direct TV and while he was talking to them the winds arrived. Wow, we were really rocking, with winds at 50-60 mph. It became really dusty! I had two dogs in my lap as they were nervous about the rocking MH. The wind only lasted about 1/2 hour, thank goodness!

Brian called and they came over to the MH. We showed them the changes and we all went to dinner at a Ranch House restaurant which was pretty good. Kathy and I had margaritas and the guys had beers. Kathy had the brisket platter, I had the pork, and the guys both had ribs. We all had potato salad and baked beans, except for Kathy who had coleslaw, which was pretty good. 

We returned to the MH and said our good-byes to our friends. It has been over a year since we had seen them! We watched TV and went to bed.

Monday- We left at around 9 AM driving southwest on I-25. We stopped at San Felipe, passing Brian and Kathy as they were leaving. We bought diesel, $3.49/gal., 30 cents less than anywhere else.  We traveled across New Mexico.

New Mexico scenery

New Mexico scenery

We continued west on I-40 traveling into Arizona and gaining one more hour. We are now on Pacific time, as Arizona does not change to Daylight Savings Time.. We stopped at about 2 PM at the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park.

DSCN3999

We went into the visitor center and watched the movie. The park was set aside in 1906. Several modern Native American tribes have ancestral ties to the area and Route 66 passed through the park.

We went to the gate entrance and Bob bought the Senior National Park pass for $10, lifetime! 10 days after his 62 birthday! We traveled 26 of the 28 mile highway stopping at various sites.

Our first stop was at Tipponi Point. to look at the painted desert.

Painted Desert

I guess since it was very sunny we could not see all the colors, as you are supposed to be able to see everything from reds to purples.  It was pretty, but not as colorful as we thought it would be….

We continued to our second stop, Tawa Point.

Painted Desert Tipponi Point

Our third stop was at the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark.

Painted Desert In Historic Landmark

Originally called The Stone Tree House, it is built of petrified wood and other native stone. Originally the vision of Herbert David Lore, who registered the inn with the land office in 1924. The house was originally completed prior to 1920 and was registered under the Homesteading Act.

The Inn was a tourist attraction for 12 years. Unfortunately , it was built on bentonite clay and with the changing weather conditions, it began to crack. In the 1930’s he sold the building and land to Petrified forest National Monument. The structure was redesigned by the CCC to Pueblo Revival Style. Below is original furniture.

Original furniture Painted Desert Inn

Concrete floors were etched and painted with patterns based on Navajo blanket designs.

Etched floor, Painted Desert Inn

In the 1940’s Standard Concessions reopened the Inn serving meals and lodging for travelers. In 1947 Fred Kabotie, a renouned Hopi artist, painted murals in the dining room.

Mural, Painted Desert Inn

Above, Planting Time.

Mural, Painted Desert Inn

Above, trek to The Sacred Salt Lake.

Mural, Painted Desert Inn

Above, the Buffalo Dance.

The stained glass ceiling tiles were painted by the CCC workers.

Ceiling, Painted Desert Inn

The stairs below are made of petrified wood.

Petrified wood stairs, Painted Desert Inn

Below, this petroglyph was at the top of the stairs.

Petroglyph, Painted Desert Inn

One room had this soda/ice cream fountain.

Soda Fountain,  Painted Desert Inn

Menu, Painted Desert Inn

We stamped our National Park Passport at the building and continued on our way.

Our third stop was at Chinde Point. where we took the dogs for a short walk.

Nizhoni Point, Painted Desert

Stop number 4 was at Route 66. There is a 1932 Studebaker parked right in the desert.

Rt. 66 through Petrified Forest

Petrified forest

1932 Studebaker Rt. 66 Petrified Forest

DSCN4024

The next stop was at Puerco Pueblo.

“Puerco Pueblo

partially reconstructed walls show outlines of rooms

The outlines of rooms within Puerco Pueblo help archeologists envision the living village this once was.

Moving from scattered, small villages into a large 100-room pueblo was one way that the ancestral Puebloan people adapted to a series of droughts from A.D. 1215 through 1299, during the Pueblo IV period. Puerco Pueblo is located near the Puerco River, a major drainage that bisects the park. The river would have been a more reliable source of water for crops than the reduced summer rains. Farming of corn, beans, and squash was moved to the floodplains and terraces along the river.

At its largest size around A.D. 1300, Puerco Pueblo may have been home to about 200 people within 100-125 rooms. The one-story high village of sandstone blocks was built around a rectangular plaza. Without doors or windows in the exterior walls of the pueblo, entry into the village was by ladders over the exterior wall and across the log, brush, and mud roofs of the room blocks.

Rooms around the plaza were used for storage and as living quarters. Within the plaza, three underground, rectangular kivas have been identified. The unusual shape of the kivas indicates strong Mogollon influence from the south.

a beam of light touches a carved spiral petroglyph

The summer solstice marker at Puerco Pueblo in action at the end of June.

A unique feature at Puerco Pueblo is best viewed in late June, around the time of the summer solstice. Petroglyphs (images carved into a rock surface) and pictographs (images painted onto a rock surface) throughout the Southwest have been found to mark astronomical events during the year, such as the summer solstice, winter solstice, and both spring and fall equinoxes. One such petroglyph can be easily viewed at Puerco Pueblo. For about two weeks around June 21, an interaction of light and shadow passes across the rings of this small, circular design as the sun rises.

Climate throughout the Southwest began to change in the late 1300s. Rainfall increased during the winter months, rather than being distributed throughout the spring and summer as it had been in pre-drought conditions. Summer rain was concentrated in short, violent thunderstorms. Erosion began to remove the terraces and floodplains farmed along the Puerco River. Without steady summer rains, crops could not be grown elsewhere.

symbols carved into a flat rock face

A diversity of petroglyphs can be seen at Puerco Pueblo.

Unable to adapt to the climate change of the late 1300s, the inhabitants of Puerco Pueblo systematically abandoned the pueblo around A.D. 1380 in search of a more suitable area. Only the sandstone bricks, potsherds, stone tools, petroglyphs, and other artifacts and features remain to tell the tale of these ancient people.

Would you like to visit Puerco Pueblo? The Puerco Pueblo Trail is accessed at the south end of the Puerco Pueblo parking lot. This 0.3 mile loop trail is mostly paved as it runs through the pueblo and to views of petroglyphs.”. Taken from: http://www.nps.gov/pefo/historyculture/puerco-pueblo.htm

Here are my pictures.

Petrified Forest

Below is a Kiva.

Village, Petrified Forest

Village Petrified Forest

Remains Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Summer solstis rock

Wouldn’t it be awesome to be standing here at the summer solstice to watch the sunlight drop through this crack?? How did these ancient people figure out this was the summer solstice? Wow, interesting….

Petroglyph, Petrified Forest

Petroglyph, Petrified Forest

Petroglyph, Petrified Forest

Isn’t it interesting that we can still see these drawings today?

Puerco Pueblo , Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

We continued our journey through the park. Our next stop was at Newspaper Rock where we looked at more petroglyphs. Unfortunately, they were in the distance and the pictures did not come out well

From there we stopped to look at “The Teepees”. These rock formations had more color.

Petrified Forest 

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

We just drove past these rocks taking pictures.

Our next stop was at Blue Mesa. Blue Mesa is out a side road, crossing to the Blue Forest. Many centuries ago, all of this area was underwater; it was tropical! The forest was present and trees grew. All of the ‘wood’ in the pictures is petrified, which means that it is rock!

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

The rock formation, below, was at the entrance to the forest.

Petrified Forest

We drove back to the main road and continued to the Agate Bridge.

Petrified Forest

DSCN4052

What the sign says is that the National Park service would not now put the concrete support under the wood. They would now let it deteriorate naturally.

Our next stop was at the Crystal Forest, another area of petrified wood.

Petrified Forest

Our final stop was at the Rainbow Forest Museum. Outside was this piece of petrified wood.

Petrified Forest

Inside were these prehistoric animals.

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

Outside, to the back were the Giant Logs.

Petrified Forest

DSCN4068

We turned around and returned to the visitor center where we were the only RV left in the parking lot. We returned to I-40, with Bob driving the MH and I was following behind in the CRV. We drove 19 miles to Sun Valley, pulling into Root 66 RV Park, a Passport America park, $16.50  for the night.

We settled into a pull-thru site at about 6 PM. We ate leftovers for dinner, watched TV and went to bed after a long day of traveling.

Tuesday- We left Root 66 at about 8 AM, and traveled to Winslow AZ.  along the way we were passed by Luke Bryan’s 18 wheeler on its way to a concert in Phoenix.

Cruising on Hwy. 40

We purchased diesel and parked the MH with the trucks, as the RV parking spaces were too short. We unhooked the car and drove into town to “Standing on the Corner” park. Below is Bob standing on the corner.

Standing on the corner in Winslow AZ

Now me, standing on the corner.

Standing on the corner in Winslow AZ

Another view of the corner.

Standing on the corner in Winslow AZ Standing on the corner in Winslow AZ

Standing on the corner in Winslow AZ

Of course there was the  “flat bed Ford.” On the corner, in back of the truck, was a souvenir store, which was playing the Eagles song and on the other corner was an ice cream shop, which probably does a really good business in the afternoon of a hot day!

We returned to the MH and Bob added air to the tires in the CRV. He could not figure out which tire was the problem tire. So he added just a little air to each tire. We hooked the CRV back up to the MH and drove to Meteor Park.

On the private road to the park was this sign.

Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator

Above is the view of the parking lot and our MH from the top floor of the Meteor Crater building.

Meteor Crator Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator

Meteor Crator

The crater is 2 miles in diameter, greater than 550 ft deep, and occurred 50,000 years ago.

We left Meteor Park and continued west on I-40 to Flagstaff. We stayed at J & H RV Park, $44 cash, the Good Sam price. It was a very nice park, but we would rather have had a lower price.

We set up camp and left to run around Flagstaff. Wow, was there terrible traffic! We drove through downtown, then drove west on Rt. 66 out of town, looking at the retro motels.

Flagstaff

Above, we went into Babbitt Brothers to look around. They had a nice T-shirt for $86, so we turned around and walked out!

Below is the county courthouse.

Flagstaff

Flagstaff

We returned to the MH and sat out with the dogs, enjoying the nice weather until the sun went behind the mountains and the temperature dropped. We ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

Wednesday- The owner of the park stopped by to give us this little card before we left.

DSCN4109

Okay, it was cute, but not worth staying at the park.

We left at 8:10, driving west on I-40 to I-17 south. We dropped from 7000 ft. in Flagstaff, on the Colorado plateau, to 1200 ft. in Sun City. The temperature in Flagstaff had been in the 60’s, Sun City is in the 90’s!  We arrived at 11:30 at Paradise RV Park where we are spending the next 5 1/2 months. We had already paid for Oct-Dec, and have to still pay for Jan-Mar. Averaged our cost will be $480 per month with Jan-Mar more expensive.

John, one of the security guards, escorted us to our site. Bob backed in and started setting up. John asked me if we had an Alfa, I said yes, and he said his son has one and has the blisters. So we discussed having the MH re-skinned and painted.

We ate lunch, returned with paperwork to the office, got our mail set up and I called Dakota Post, our mail forwarding service to ask them to send our mail. We set it up for twice a month, automatically, while we are here.

We returned to the MH and I went online to download the application for us to vote. We suddenly realized we had not received our absentee ballots, so we filled those in. I went to the drawer to pull out the box of envelopes and discovered that the entire box had been exposed to the humidity and the flaps were all stuck.

MaryAnn arrived to greet us and we sat and talked. She and Ray were doing the same thing for voting, so Bob ran over to their MH to get an envelope and she took both our envelopes to the Post Office. We also paid her for our tickets to the Oktoberfest dinner tomorrow evening.

We settled in, setting up to stay for the 5.5 months, which means we put out a lot more ‘stuff’ around the MH. We ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

Thursday- I started laundry and Bob started working on his ’to do list’. We went to In N Out Burger for lunch. We love their burgers, but their fries are just not that good. Bob had found on the internet that if you request ‘well done fries’ off their hidden menu, that the fries are better. So we ordered them that way and they were much better. Not the best fries, but definitely edible.

We ran to Costco for gas $ 2.89 gal. and to Home Depot for a few items.

We returned to the MH and continued some chores. We went to the Octoberfest dinner, cooked by Fat Freddies, the park café. Paula and Charlie  Gray had arrived, so it was the three couples, including MaryAnne and Ray. We had a great time eating brats, sauerkraut, German hot potato salad ( the potatoes were not well cooked) and apple cobbler for dessert. We closed the place down, talking until almost 8 PM. We returned home, watched TV and went to bed.

Friday- I was out the door early and went to the pool for water aerobics and to swim some laps. I returned, ate breakfast, then had a nice girls day with Paula and MaryAnne. We went to WOW (Women of Worth) restaurant for lunch and then to two different Bon Worth stores. They are still open!

I bought a shirt for $2.99 and Paula bought a pair of capris at one store and the matching top at the second store. MaryAnne did not buy anything.

We stopped at Paula and Charlie’s Alfa to see their new dishwasher, washer dryer, and cat litter box. Bob continued to work on his to-do list.

Bob and I left at 4 PM to go to Tempe, and the Hilton at the airport to pick up Nancy Shambaugh and one of her co-workers, Rachel. They were in town for a conference. We had a nice dinner at Gordon Bierch’s before we dropped Rachel off at the airport to catch a 10 pm flight. We dropped Nancy off at her hotel, saying a fond farewell to our good friend, until next time we see her! We returned home to go to bed.

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