United States of America · 3 Days · 23 Moments · December 2017

Saguaro, Guadalupe Mtn, Carlsbad, & Petrified

1 January 2018

We made it home! What a whirlwind of a weekend! Our goal was to hit two National Parks. We ended up hitting four!!! It was awesome being out amongst God's awesome creations! And to witness them in the company of a very treasured friend! Thank you for following along with us on our trip! I hope to see you here for the next one as well!
Sombreritos Mexican Food, Holbrook, AZ. Once out of the park, in order to get back to the 40 freeway, one has to drive through the little town of Holbrook. Since we were both hungry, we decided to stop for lunch. Chili Rellano... For me!
Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor Center, Petrified Forest National Park. Exhibits include beautiful polished sections of agatized wood, fossil reptiles and amphibian skulls, bones, and teeth. Charts tell story of the Petrified Forest; where the trees grew; how they were buried; how minerals in the ground turned them to stone; how mountains uplifted the region; how erosion has since uncovered logs. A diorama shows how this region appeared in Triassic time, when the forest was growing. Rare fossil fern and cycad leaves are exhibited. The particular type of fossil pine or conifer is explained. Charts show geology of region; animals and plants that lived when Forest grew; how rainbow colors formed. However, most importantly, they had a much needed restroom!
Jasper Forest, Petrified Forest National Park. This was a large river system with galleries of trees along the waterways. As the trees died naturally over many years, some floated downstream to form log jams. The various “forests” in the park are those log jams: Crystal Forest, Jasper Forest, etc. The original national monument was created where the highest concentration was located in the large expanse of petrified wood deposit. Jasper Forest was deposited around 218 million years ago.
Agate Bridge, Petrified Forest National Park. Log 111 spans about 40 feet. Erosion of sandstone, by rain water, has produced this bridge. This is the most noted petrified log. This log has never fallen; support only recently installed.
Blue Forrest (Part of Blue Mesa), Petrified Forest National Park.
Blue Mesa, Petrified Forest National Park. The Blie Mesa consists of thick deposits of grey, blue, purple, and green mudstones and minor sandstone beds, the most prominent of which is the Newspaper Rock Sandstone. This unit is best exposed in the Tepees area of the park. The Blue Mesa Member is approximately 220-225 million years old.
Newspaper Rock, Petrified Forest National Park. Remarkable prehistoric Indian writings (petroglyphs) probably 800 to 900 years old. Made by chipping through outer dark sandstone surface with sharp tool, probably petrified wood. Many interesting figures, symbolic designs, and Phallic symbols are present on these rocks, They have never been interpreted, but may be clan symbols. trail markers, or of ceremonial significance.
Puerco Pueblo Indian Riun, Petrified Forest National Park. Puerco River Indian Ruin indicates 150 to 160 rooms. Built 800 to 900 years ago. Few rooms excavated; charred corn and beans discovered. 
Route 66, Petrified Forest National Park. Traces of an old roadbed and weathered telephone poles mark the path of the famous "Main Street of America." Petrified Forest National Park is the only park in the National Park System containing a section of Historic Route 66. From Chicago to Los Angeles, this heavily traveled highway was not only a road--it stood as a symbol of opportunity, adventure and exploration to travelers. U.S. Route 66 was established in 1926, but it was after WWII that the road earned its place in pop culture.
Painted Dessert, Tawa Point On the back of the rock that I found in Roswell, New Mexico, were directions indicating that I should re-hide the Rock at a new location. This is the location that I chose! Beautiful view of Painted Desert. Volcanic rock has formed this rim or escarpment. PAINTED DESERT was formed by wind and water. Once a sesitropical jungle of coniferous trees, rushes, and ferns, inhabited by great reptiles and amphibians. River floods covered the region, with layers of mud and sand. Trees and bones absorbed minerals; turned to stone. Mountains uplifted the region; erosion washed mud and sand away; trees and bones now washing out of the hills. Erosion cutting across the many colored beds of shale and sandstone produces "the Painted Desert". Beautiful!!!!!
Petrified Forest National Park, Az On our way home, we stopped at this national park that is literally right off the 40 freeway. Some of the parks that KB and I went to First, we're not memorialized in photos. This park, will now be pulled off of my non memorialized list. Yeah!!! Petrified Forest National Park is in northeastern Arizona. In its south, the Rainbow Forest is full of colorful petrified wood. In the park's center are the petroglyphs of Newspaper Rock and the ruined village of Puerco Pueblo. To the north, the Painted Desert.

31 December 2017

Best Western Plus Gallup Inn & Suites It's been a great day spent enjoying God's creation with a wonderful friend. A truly awesome way to end the year. Happy New Year!!! Tomorrow we have a leisurely 12 hour drive home.
Fire Rock Casino, Church Rock, New Mexico We got into the Gallup area a few hours sooner than expected, so we pulled off to release the gambling urge KB had.
Roswell, New Mexico I loved this Welcome sign. Sitting at its base was a painted rock. I will take it with me and leave it somewhere else for someone else. I Love that Roswell embraces it's alien heritage, and decks out their street lights as aliens with Santa hats.
Cowboy Cafe, Roswell, New Mexico We stopped for brunch at the Cowboy Cafe. I had the Hen House (Cowgirl size): Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, vegetable of the day (green beans), green chile corn bread, gravy and a side salad. And KB had the Chicken Fried B.L.T.: B.L.T with chicken fried jalapeño bacon. We both really enjoyed our meals. When I was done, I went to the ladies room to wash my hand and was shocked to see a deers butt as part of the artwork hanging on the bathroom wall.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Upon exiting the car, we were greeted with beautiful blue skies. Unfortunately, the weather was 29 degrees with winds gusting at 8-10 miles per hour. Frost bite to the face felt like a real thing, no some made up East coast complaint. It was bone rattling and teeth breaking!!!! KB's Senior Park Pass got both of us into the cavern for free! Yay!!!! We took the elevator down 750 feet to the Big Room, which is the largest single cave chamber by volume in North America. We were rewarded with spectacular views, cave formations of all shapes and sizes, and a rope ladder used by explorers in 1924. We did not hike the 1.2 mile trail because KB wasn't able, however, the views were spectacular. We also didn't see any bats because they were smart and flew to South America for the winter!!!
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects the world's most extensive Permian fossil reef, the four highest peaks in Texas, an environmentally diverse collection of flora and fauna, and the stories of lives shaped through conflict, cooperation and survival. This park is nothing but WILDERNESS. Minimal vehicle access, but hikers can experience mountains and canyons, desert and dunes, night skies and spectacular vistas within a place unlike any other within the NPS.

30 December 2017

Sunderland Best Western, El Paso, Tx We arrived into town a few minutes before 8 p.m. We ran through Taco Cabana for dinner then back to the hotel for some shut-eye. We plan to be on the road at 05:30 in order to fit in two more National Parks. I'm so excited! Good night....see you in the morning!!!
Lindys on 4th, Tucson, Az This place came highly recommended...so while passing through town, we made a slight detour in order to see what the hype was all about. Try the Blue Suede Cow, they say. So I did. Blue Suede Cow: peanut butter, bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. (I, of course, had mine without the tomato and onion. KB had the Picnic Basket: homemade jalapeño potato salad, potato chips, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Lindy's sauce. We split some onion rings. (I think we had two each....way too much food). I would concur with the hype. This place had awesome burgers. AND, if you want to take them up on one of their "challenges" (see photo #6) do so with caution and take lots of pictures.
Tucson Mountain Park, Az Drove through this park on our way to find lunch.
Saguaro National Park, Az Since we had left earlier than anticipated, we took the opportunity to go through a National Park that we didn't realize was on our way. Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation's largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson. We got to do a bit of off road driving to see the enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sky.
Cracker Barrel, Arizona I couldn't wait to get out of California and into the lands of Cracker Barrel. I look forward to stopping at one each trip. I ordered my favorite...the pork chop!!!!! Yum! Yum!