Tuesday, 22 August 2017

2017 Road-trip day 6

Day 6: Sunday

We both woke around 5.30am, one of us due to the noise of the trains, the other due to that person making more noise then an elephant! We lounged around for quite a while before making a move and bidding farewell to "Mater", and the Wigwam Motel. 

We had breakfasted in watermelon and bananas before we had left, so just needed to fill up the car with petrol and head back on Route 66 for what proved to be a very long day. Our first plan of action was to take the US 180 down to the South entrance to the National Park, Petrified Forest, we spent far longer here then we had originally intended too.

The Petrified Forest is a 28mile journey through spectacular desert. Our first stop was the Giant Logs Trail, a walk around some of the parks largest Petrified logs including Old Faithful which is 10 feet across it's base. Colourful pieces from small shards to massive trunks of these spectacular fossilized trunks lay around the trail with views across the Badlands as a backdrop.

 As we continued on our drive, we were able to pull in to many overlooks including the Crystal Forest Loop, Jasper Forest and the Blue Mesa. All off these offered stunning views, amazing examples of the Petrified logs that once were part of a prehistoric forest and the odd collared lizard. We marveled at the Tepee rock formation and were able to view the 2000 plus year old petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock. We continued over the I-40 and stopped at where Route 66 cut through the park and then onto the Painted Desert with it colours of pinks and reds, photo overload! 

Time was getting on, we had been there for nearly 4 hours and still had most of the days drive to do, so we headed out of the Park and picked up the Mother Road and headed towards Chambers thru Lupton and on to the New Mexico border and views of Window Rock.

Paul: Breaking Bad Interlude 1 - honestly, pretty much the first thing we passed on the road after crossing from Arizona was a kid with his 'pipe'.

We continued along until we had to join up with the I-40, it's here we managed to miss a chunk of 66 road due to misreading the map, whoops never mind we were soon back on track and exiting at 47 to pass the Continental Divide, through Bluewater, Grants and Cubero - where Hemingway was said to have wrote 'The old man and the sea' at the old cafe, so legend says.

 Traversing through Laguna Pueblo Land, curving round the tight loop of Dead Man's Curve and spotting the lava outcrop known as Owl Rock before meeting back up with the I-40 again. We now decided to take the pre-1937 optional route which looking back we should have skipped due to time, the route took through Cortez to Los Luna's and long stretches of road works, by the time we had crossed the Rio Grande and hit Isleta Pueblo we had had enough, although the landscape was enjoyable there was nothing particularly special about it* and when we got to the I-25 we decided to stay in it and head straight to Santa Fe, we were planning to drive back along Route 66 to Albuquerque the next day.

Paul: Breaking Bad Interlude 2 - From the I-25 we did see the Crossroads Motel, the skanky motel used in a few episodes of Breaking Bad.

 We finally arrived at 7.30, shattered at the lovely looking El Ray Inn, checked in and headed straight back out to see if we could get some food. Unfortunately the restaurant that had been recommend to us had a 25 minute wait, we were dead on our feet having left Holbrook at 9.30, 10 hours earlier and decided that we would go over the road to Trader Joe's to stock up on Spicy Lentil Wraps, salad and beer to take back to the room, where we picnicked till we fell asleep around 9.30. It had been a very long days.

*Paul: Breaking Bad Interlude 3 - Not so, I saw loads of places where we could secrete a Winnebago and cook up some Blue Meth.

Days miles: 363
Total miles: 996

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