After leaving the Grand Canyon area, we headed east on I-40 to explore another National Park, but first we made a much anticipated stop in Winslow, AZ.
You see, we needed to do an ultimate touristy thing and go Stand on the Corner in Winslow, AZ. Yes, the Eagles song folks, and the town really capitalizes on it! They have a corner in town dedicated to the song that you are able to stand there and hang out by the flatbed Ford. Yeah we weren't the only ones being the cheesy tourists, in fact it was a steady stream of folks! Did we mention it's is also on Route 66? Score, kill two birds with one stone there!
We also had heard others talk about stopping at the La Posada Hotel for lunch in the Turquoise Room while in Winslow so we decided to check it out and boy were we glad we did. What a beautiful place, steep in history. Mary Colter, who is well known for her architectural masterpieces at the Grand Canyon South Rim, such as El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, Hopi House and the Phantom Ranch at the canyon bottom. What we found very interesting, is that back during her time, female architects were few and in order for her to get her work considered, she submitted her Grand Canyon designs under her initials and last name. She also worked for the Fred Harvey company, designing many buildings along the way as the railroad pushed west. She considered La Posada, a 1930 railway hotel in Winslow, to be her masterpiece. She designed everything from the sprawling hacienda style hotel, to the acres of gardens, down to the china. We walked thru the hotel and grounds, admiring all of the intricate details throughout. The Turquoise Room restaurant within, is also beautiful.
To top it all off, the food was really good too! Rick had the Barbacoa tacos with a smoky 3 chili chipotle sauce. I had a delicious fresh cut turkey sandwich and caesar salad. Their food had some unique twists that make it really memorable, like the smoked sunflower seeds in my cesar salad, which was really good!
After our stop in Winslow for the afternoon, we were on our way to boondocking spot for the evening. Petrified Forest Gift Shop has two camping options in their parking lots. They either have boondocking spots or, across the street, there are spots with electric. We arrived early enough in the afternoon to score an electric spot for $10. This spot is literally at the southern gates to the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert, which was exactly what we wanted. Be aware if you are planning to come to this spot, to have everything you need such as groceries and fuel. There is literally nothing around except this Petrified Forest Gift Shop!!
The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert are connected and the drive through the 28 mile park takes about 45 minutes, but then add time to stop and see the many pull outs and points of interest. The Petrified Woods is mostly on the south end of the park, then the landscape begins to change to more desert features as you move north. The petrified logs from a prehistoric forest date back to the Triassic period, 225 million years ago. It was surreal to walk among the big logs and try to imagine them being that old.
Agate Bridge is a 10 foot long preserved log bridge and many years ago, folks put some concrete underneath it to support it.
There are several interesting rock formations as you get closer to the painted desert and the colors change as the sun moves. Seeing them in the afternoon, looks completely different than in the morning light. Pueblos can also be found in the park.
Route 66 ran through the park back in the day and there is a neat little tribute to the ol route.
At the northern end of the park is the Painted Desert with the Painted Desert Inn, which is another Fred Harvey hotel from the early twentieth century.
The beautiful vistas at the Painted Desert again, did not disappoint and changed with the sun and made for some beautiful views, as well as pictures.
Since the drive through the park is relatively flat with gentle hills and little traffic, we decided to drive through the park the next morning with the RV and I took my turn at driving the big rig for the first time. I am very comfortable driving the truck but this was something new! I think I did pretty good and Rick didn't scream or jump out of the truck!
Well that concludes our 3 1/2 months in Arizona. Up next, we are off to Colorado, via New Mexico!
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