Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Sort of visit to Sedona

You can't accuse us of great planning.  Somehow, with all the time we have, we managed to visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona on Memorial Day weekend.

We knew it would be crowded in Sedona on Sunday, because we had just watched the Phoenix news the night before. They listed Sedona as the Number One destination for vacation!

From Flagstaff we take Lady Blue down Route 89.
Looks easy on the map.

Within a few miles, we realize it's 7% grades down, with 15mph curves and switchbacks.  We lost track of how many.  

But---a beautiful road.  And we did see a number of tour buses coming the opposite way.  Only met one on a sharp corner. 

We were in Oak Creek Canyon with a number of parks and day use areas on the way.  So full, the rangers were blocking off the parking lots and cars were parked all along the road.

Not too many cars in front of us.  That's because we were going slowly.  Eventually all traffic stopped for a backup into Sedona.

Didn't bother us.  We were enjoying the scenery.

A very interesting town.  There was no parking today, but we plan to come back.  Any day other than major holidays would probably offer abundant parking for cars and motorhomes.

Lots of shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

We saw the Pink tour vehicles all over Sedona and the Grand Canyon.

While enjoying the downtown, you also have great views of mountains.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Petrified Forest to Standin' on a Corner

We could have stayed much longer at Blue Water, but it was time to move on.

Into Arizona to the Petrified Forest National Park.

First stop is the beautiful Painted Desert

Even the flowers are quite beautiful.

Some of the nicest views are from the Painted Desert Inn.  A popular stop along Route 66 in the 1950's.

Three names kept coming up .  One was Fred Harvey, who was famous for a number of hotels and restaurants in the 40's and 50's.  Note the movie poster on the wall for the movie Harvey Girls--about the waitresses in his restaurants--starring Judy Garland
Mary Colter-architect--was another.  She was meticulous in designs and building here, in Winslow,Az, and in the Grand Canyon.

Third was Fred Kabotie

A Navajo artist, he painted a number of  murals here, at the famous La Posada hotel in Winslow, and also at the watch tower in Grand Canyon--where Mary Colter again was the architect in all three places.

 Yes folks, we used to call this set-up a soda fountain "back in the day"

Love the prices.

The skylight was an artistic highlight.  You could see why many stars from Hollywood would come here in the 40's and 50's.

You can imagine enjoying this view from the porch of the Inn.

Might want to stay a few days.

But----we must continue on the park road.  We are reminded that this park and further west were popular destination spots along Route 66.

They left the power poles up in the distance--no wires--to show exactly the path of the old Route 66.

And then, here we are in the Petrified Forest.

Some of the logs look exactly like the wooden trees they were millions of years ago.

And they were huge.

Remember the pictures from the painted desert, there are no trees to speak of here.

Turns out that this land was close to the equator back then.  It was a rainforest with 200 plus foot trees.   The trees fell in the river and were washed downstream into the silt.  They were covered with sand and volcanic ash which eliminated the oxygen and rot.  Then the silica and quartz particles began to replace all of the wood with stone.


Now, we see the rock eroding and the petrified wood is exposed.

This is just part of one tree

The minerals reveal some wonderful colors, which is why so many tons of petrified rock were hauled out of here before it was made a protected national park.

You can see many of the colors here.  Remember, you can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

Just an idea of how large this is.

The tree!! not me.

And on again to stay at Homolovi Ruins State Park in Arizona.

And right in the same town is  "Standin' on a Corner".  The song that made Winslow, Arizona popular--- from the Eagles in 1972.

Written, however, by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey.

Did you sing the whole song, or just that verse?

Jan was there!  In Winslow, not with the Eagles.

You know you're gonna hum that song for the rest of the day at least.

The wall behind the truck----is just a wall.  Like a Hollywood prop.  There are no windows or lights, or people.  Great mural.

And yes, the real truck is the same model as in the mural.

Just down the street is the famous La Posada hotel .

The same names of Mary Colter and Fred Kapotie are involved the artwork.  It was supposed to be Mary Colter's masterpiece, constructed in 1929.

A Fred Harvey masterpiece as well, costing 2 million dollars, 40 million in today's money.  The home of the Santa Fe railroad, it was a bustling stopover.

Like many other relics it was abandoned by the Santa Fe and then almost demolished until 1994.

Now , almost totally renovated, it is on the top ten lists of many travel magazines.

Follow this link for further info

It is an amazing and interesting hotel with a well respected restaurant.  On most days, now, it is fully occupied.

Some famous guests from a long list, were, Albert Einstein, Bob Hope, President Franklin Roosevelt, Betty Grable, and Diane Keaton

 Many interesting art works and sculptures.

But also baskets of varied chard--looking very fresh and delicious.

A giant totem by Peter Toth.  We were told that he has totems in many major cities in the US.

The carving is quite amazing.

You notice in the above picture that the Santa Fe Railroad runs right through town.  This is still the headquarters for much of Santa Fe's organization.

While we were at Homolovi Park, we could watch all the trains in the distance.  Huge , long trains being pulled by three to four locomotives.  All kinds of containers on board from UPS trailers to Hyundai containers and many more.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Coyote Creek to Bluewater

Coyote Creek has to be one of our favorite state parks in New Mexico.  First is the great scenic ride from Taos over route 64( see last posting), and then this little gem of a park--quiet on the weekdays, good hiking, and lots of wildlife.

As you can see, we are crowded at our camping spot.

 Lots of birds.  The Imperial Blue Jay (last posting), black headed grosbeaks, tons of wrens,and warblers.

This hawk was one of two that  spent hours around the motorhome hunting for meals. 

Best shot I could take with our small camera, but this gives a little idea of the great color on the bluebirds.

There were three beaver lodges that we were able to see along the creek.  The rangers indicated that they were active though we didn't see any --probably needed to get up a lot earlier.

This lodge did show fresh wood on top.

The locals that came on the weekend had a good and successful time fishing here as well.

Not sure how long this was at the campground.
The water was always running into the water trough.

Eustis is always happy to be on the road. 
He got excited by the "Watch out for Elk" signs, but we were told they migrate back to higher elevations in the warmer weather.

Maybe next time Eustis!

We made a quick one night stop at Storrie Lake State Park.  Our site backed up to what was left of the lake.  Most of the lakes are quite low---up to 50 feet or so low. 

Storrie Lake looked very sad to us, especially when the rangers told us about years when the water was so high, it went over the road.

On to Villanueva State Park

  Ah, another favorite park. 

Villanueva is on the Pecos River, which was running quite full from mountain snow runoff. The road from Route 25 was quite interesting with old adobe buildings, lots of red dirt, and slow --15mph curves.

We would set our chairs out here right at the river's edge.

The sites here were huge.  We kept thinking there were supposed to be 2 sites instead of the one.

We could hear the river day and night--a wonderful background.

They had a great, solid bridge crossing the Pecos River to the hiking trails.

We carried a lot of water on this hike.  Quite dry and temperatures close to 90.

What do you mean  "steep dropoffs?"

Long views from way up.

The river flows south through this canyon.

The green trees follow the river's edge.

 You're probably wondering why I have my phone and Kindle out during a hike.

Well, I'm glad you asked.  You see, we had no phone signal at our campsite.  We could do without internet for a few days, but I knew I would really miss my daily Boston Globe on the Kindle.

So, I kept checking during the hike for a phone signal.  And, sure enough, close to the top, there was at least one bar of signal.  On goes the "hotspot" connection on the phone and the Kindle picks up the WIFI signal from the phone. A few minutes later(it was a weak signal) I had at least one day of the Boston Globe.

The view from the top.
What do you see Jan?

With very low humidity and good elevation, the views are long and clear.  Snow covered mountains, towns, and the Pecos river.

Much easier to see where the river flows through the canyon.  Just look for the light green spring foliage on the trees.

The long wide view

 Watch out!!  Wow , that was close!

Do you see our Lazy Daze?

Finally, the end of the Loop Trail brings us back to the bridge. 

The part is over rocks--nothing to the right of the trail but the river--straight down.

On the road again.  This time heading south on Route 25 towards Santa Fe.

Great colors in the hills.

And note the heavy traffic----not.

We had a few things to check on with our Lazy Daze.  So back to Enchanted Trails in Albuquerque on Route 66/40.  A very friendly park right next to Camping World .  The owners are very much into antique RV's. 

They were happy to take Passport America for two nights--same as our last stay on the way to Santa Fe.  Passport America allows half price at campgrounds.

The trailer is a 1954 Vakasunette and the car is a
1950 Hudson Commodore named "Evelyn"

Lady Blue is happy with her furnace running fine(the thermostat needed adjustment), the refrigerator still questionable at elevations over 7,000 feet on propane( but it works), and brand new valve extensions for the dually wheels( so we can easily check the tire pressure)

And here we are , about 90 miles west of Albuquerque, at Bluewater Lake State Park.
Another favorite.  No hookups, but to us--with our Annual Camping Pass for New Mexico--the site is free.

The view from our lounge side window.

If you remember, we paid $225 for the pass.  Since dry camping is $10 per night, we were camping for free after 22.5 nights. We are now into the mid 30's nights or--we have been camping for free for more than 10 nights.  And the pass is good through March 2014!

And--don't spread this too far, but---most of the electric hookup sites do not have views of the water.

Not only free, but we had a fantastic dinner and we both sat on the same side of the table(with the extension for you Lazy Daze fans)and then----