Gallup NM to our destination in Mesa Arizona looked to be a short five or so hour trip. With only a little encouragement to check a couple geocaches in the Petrified Forest National Park, Dan exited I40. Then, we decided to drive the road through the park and connect with an alternate route southwest. It was a good decision. Even though we had visited the park before, we hadn’t taken the time to drive the 24 mile loop.
First a visit here
There are temptations at every turn at this visitors center. Jewelry, pottery, and everything else petrified or otherwise. The one thing I am now very excited about are the new tokens available from National Parks, Monuments and Memorials. There are little rectangle metal tokens costing only $1. The Token Album costs $6 but still affordable and only a one-time purchase, little inexpensive collectables alleviating the temtation to buy National Park bling.
Just to say upfront, we found two geocaches and left two travel bugs. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you probably could care less about geocaching
Our first stop on the loop were several pullouts for the Painted Desert. I took pictures but it is only truly appreciated by just taking it in visually. It is beautiful in its own rugged way for sure. We stopped by the Painted Desert Inn. It is an adobe National Landmark hotel now turned museum.
The Newspaper Rock stop was historically informative by happening to be there the same time as two elders like us who knew a whole lot more about the 650 petroglyphs (some over 2,000 years old) then we could ever hope to have learned by just reading the signs. Notice the obvious man and woman!
The other side of the rock was equally covered.
From there we moved on to the petrified wood “forest”
We wanted to get to Kay & Lynn’s for Happy Hour, so we moved on. Next time I will hike to the Agate House Trail—a two mile round trip to a seven-room pueblo of petrified wood.
The trip through the canyons and peaks south from Show Low to Globe and on to Apache Junction/Mesa is breathtaking. Not the fastest route but definitely beautiful.
Yes, we did make it and we were happy for more than just an hour because Lynn had some Cerveza Modelo Especial—a Mexican beer that is very much to our liking.
As just a side note to this Tuesday March 21st post that I am writing on Wednesday, March 22, we are staying in Lynn & Kay’s park model in Roadhaven Resort in Apache Junction. They used to live here before moving to a home in Mesa. They now rent it for the winter. We are here because their renters decided to go home early. Lucky us--we have lots of room, air conditioning (temps are in the 90s) and access to a swimming pool, etc. This is not our usual off-the-grid experience at Lost Dutchman State park, but we are liking it—liking it a lot!