Day five of the long way round. Have you seen any of these marvelous sights? If not, you better hit the road yourself. It is well worth the trip. Not as many miles covered on this day, but many miles of wonder…..
There was no time to post last night. I was on the road from 5:30 am to 9:30 pm with a few stops along the way. Starting out in Alburquerque I wanted to mention the fabulous public art. Along the I-40 expressway as well as other locations you can find sculptures, mosaics and paintings. This is an aluminum yucca and I understand it is illuminated by neon at night. Check out their Flickr page at the address at the end of this post.
I set myself a daunting task today. Not just a long drive, but I wanted to stop at several places along the way. The first was the Painted Desert followed by the Pertrified Forest. Since I had sprained my knee the day before I wondered if I should risk it. But I did and I was glad. I have seen both of these parks before but they are worth visiting again. Last time it was late in the day, this time in the morning. The ranger at the entrance gate asked me if I had any rocks in the car. Of course it is illegal to remove anything from the park. I had to admit that I did. I had brought a small collection of Maine granite with me. He packaged it up and sealed it so I would not get in trouble upon leaving the park. This is part of the formation called the teepees. The colors in the desert are red, brown, pink, yellow, green, blue, white and almost every color in between. Is this where rainbows come from? If you are able to stay long enough you can watch the colors shift. The petroglyphs on Newspaper Rock are fascinating. One vistor exclaimed there are aliens there. And a young boy approaching the rocks asked his father why they called it Newspaper Rock? This friendly raven greeted me in the parking lot and walked right over. When I said goodbye, he grocked twice as if to say goodbye back to me. It is almost impossible to take a picture that looks like anything in the painted desert. It is immense and subtle. And so very quiet there.
Next was the forest. To really get a good look at the petrified trees you have to get out and walk the paths some of which are rough. I thought it was not smart to try them so I settled on what I could see from the turn outs. It is weird to see all these trees scattered over the landscape and know how old they are. Outside the park people sell petrified wood they collect on private lands. At one store they must have had over an acre of samples for sale. Large enough for tables to the small book shelf pieces. I had no idea there was this much of the stuff around.
Off to the next event, Meteor Crater in Winslow Arizona (where you can take your picture with the girl in the flatbed Ford). This is the first certified meteor crater and the best preserved as well. Thank goodness they had elevators as well as an exceptional interpretive center. I couldn’t take the rim tour but I saw plenty. The first big hole of the day. This is another thing a picture doesn’t do justice to. The people are there to give you an idea of the scale. Then it was off to the next big hole in the ground. The Grand Canyon. It was getting late in the day and I wondered if I would get there too late. You can no longer drive through the park but there are free shuttle busess that stop at the viewing spots. True enough it was going to be too late to see both of the viewing routes so I took the one that I and the bus drivers deemed the best.
The whole day had been extremely windy. Have you ever seen a gas pump shaking in the wind? I thought it was going to blow away while I pumped gas. Add the snow on the ground covering many of the paths, it was interesting.
The clouds were coming in and more snow was predicted so picture taking ended early. I have been fascinated by the canyon ever since I first heard Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite . Once again no picture does it justice and the scale is more than you can ever imagine from the pictures or film you have seen.
Was that enough for one day? I think so. Off to Kingman.
Albuquerque Public Art