RV Life: Painted Desert to Petrified Forest

Tuesday May 28th 2019

Day 46

A delicious and hearty breakfast started this day of long adventuring off damn good. Sautéed veggies mixed with eggs stuffed inside French bread with our favorite cheese’s. Can’t go wrong with that right?

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We hiked up to the visitor center of where we ended up last night which is Canyon De Chelly National Monument. What we deemed a safe place to stay for the night versus the unpatrolled roads of an Indian Reservation.

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To the side of the visitor center were replicas of historic homes showcasing the insides and explaining how they were built.

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Partial view of campground coming down from visitor center.

Not a whole lot of time was spent exploring this particular park for our sights were set on our 8th National Park, Petrified Forest. 1.5 hours away directly on Route 66 lies “one of the best places in the world to see the fossil record from the late Triassic Period!” (come right from the National Park brochure map)

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Petrified wood itself is hard to fathom but so is the history and stories this park has to offer. Unreal and totally not what we expected. Earth puts on a show!! The drive in leaves you oblivious to the fact that the earth is about to abruptly give way to a wonderous arraying display of colors among layers of rocks millions of years in the making. Going on for what seems forever the Painted Desert!

pfnp entrance

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Of course we stopped at the Visitor Center first as always getting all the “deets” needed to explore the park in a timely fashion. We opted to just drive the 28 mile scenic route and decide a couple random short hiking excursions picked by our curiosity along the way.

First few miles of the route immerse you right into the Painted Desert like the photos above. Giving you the options at 10 different overlooks mixed with its awe factor and a look at the Painted Desert Inn a National Historic Landmark it is extremely hard to not want to see this from every angle. We were keeping in mind though our curiosity of exactly how the park got its name.

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Remember how I mentioned the park is right off the old Route 66 well a 1932 Studebaker marks the spot where the road once cut through the park.

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After this point is becomes more a straight strectch with the overlooks becoming fewer and farther apart.

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In the moment of this picture I was feeling spectacular!

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Our first hiking excursion was the 1 mile loop trail among the Blue Forest. A very steep entrance drops you down into hues of blue, purple and varying gray badlands. We unfortunately did not dress properly for the arid weather and hurried the hike not taking the full loop. What a gorgeous mini hike though.

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The final discoveries of the scenic route were awfully gorgeous and so mysterious. By definition petrified wood is a name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation and there was no shortage here!

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Tired from the heat and full of more questions about this earth we made another 1.5 hour haul to Flagstaff. Unbeknownst to us Arizona has mountains. We were in the mindset of it being just vast hot desert but take a look at those beauties! After this discovering I took the time to study the geography of the state we were exploring. Along the way I also made reservations at the KOA in town scoring two nights.

Location of the KOA was perfect but damn our extremely unlevel spot made us nervous to beat hell. We used ever piece of wood we had to attempt to bring the back level up to no prevail. All wood used and we were still at such an angle I was afraid of our breaks giving out in the middle of night and us making the neighbors behind us pancakes as they were in a tent. There was no moving sites either, I was kidding when I mentioned scoring a 2 night stay it was the last one!

We bit our lip and prayed like hell nothing went catastrophically wrong. Doing our normal in town camp chores like our 3 loads of laundry, charging everything we could and everyone showering took up majority of the first night.

For some reason even though I was exhausted sleep invaded me leaving me to wander around the web putting together a spontaneous reservation for a jeep tour in one of Arizonas most visited cities. Could not wait to surprise the family in the morning.

Speaking of not waiting I knew we were all getting more and more excited for the one and only reservation we made before leaving. Just days away of finally getting to a place where we would stay put for 3 nights and 4 days!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. ourcrossings says:

    Wow, the Petrified Forest looks unreal! You live in such a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    Like

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