Sunday, March 30, 2014

Holbrook and the Petrified Forest

March 27 - 30, 2014:

We left Payson around 9 AM, I stopped across the road to fuel the RV and get the propane tank filled while Twinkles went right on the highway.  This separate driving is good as we we don't always drive so well together.  She can listen to her books on tape while I can blast my music.  The drive north on route 260 takes you up 2,000 feet to the Mogollon Rim which is a long climb.  I had my foot heavy on the gas pedal and was able to maintain 50 MPH all the way up, not bad !  Good news was that the high winds had mostly abated.  I seem to have gotten used to the feel of the rig now, it floats around quite a bit, rocking and tail wagging, but when you get used to the motion and learn how to go with the flow, not too awful bad.  After the hill climb, the rest of the trip was easy and went from the seemingly endless green Ponderosa Pine forest at the Rim area to the endless high desert plains again at Holbrook.  

As we checked in at the OK RV Park in Holbrook they told us that yesterday they had 80 MPH wind gusts that knocked over three trees in the campground.  Glad we missed that !  It was still a bit breezy, 20 MPH, but the wind diminished in the evening.  We took a ride over to Jim Gray's petrified wood museum and store outside of town, bought a couple of small pieces, then cruised through the route 66 flavored downtown.  This is my forth time in Holbrook and things on first impression look improved from the last visit.  I noticed that two of the downtown bars both appeared to be open for business.  Well, I had to check that out in the evening and ended up at "Young's Corral".  The bar tender and a guy who looked like a regular were having an interesting conversation about medical stuff and kept mentioning this "Indian Mud" stuff that cures cancer.  I heard all about it, know how to get it and might even be a believer ?  

The view behind Gray's Petrified Wood store

You can have this polished tree stump for $49,000

Friday. we visited the Petrified Forest National Forest and the Painted Desert.  We went to a favorite spot, the "Painted Desert Inn" and then went for a hike from the adjacent Kachina Point into the wilderness area.  The trail went steeply downhill to the valley floor where you are able to wander around for miles amid all forms of Petrified wood, logs, chunks, splinters surrounded by painted desert views. After that, we continued on the park road stopping a several vista points.  We made a point of stopping at another favorite of ours, the "Blue Mesa" viewpoint and trail. The 1 mile trail is perhaps the most scenic 1 mile trail anywhere, it's really special. 

The inside of the Painted Desert  Inn

Counter space at the Inn

Painted Desert view

We came upon an old dam , Twinkles is the little one in the  background

Taking a rest on ancient Log

Huge Petrified logs are laying all over

Beautiful colorful layers

View from the Blue Mesa Trail

A Great Trail !

Mind boggling sights !

Feel like I'm on a far away planet

Petrified wonder

Petrified Tree

The bark looks so real, actually it is

Amazing colors

I like to shuffle back and forth between the natural world and the un-natural world.  So, I again went downtown, after dark, to the other interesting bar in Holbrook, the "Winners Circle".  That's an oxymoron as I saw no one who looked like a winner in there.  It is a classic route 66 biker theme on the outside, but inside is more of a sports bar, pool hall with a new DJ booth set up with  accompanying hypnotic dance floor lighting.  I learned that the place had been vacant for two years and was just recently re-opened by a new owner. There was hardly anyone there, but the bar maid told me the 21 year old crowd, who don't worry about getting a DUI, start coming in around 10:30.  I didn't stay to see that.

Joe and Aggie's Cafe at night

Holbrook mural at night

The famous Tee Pee Motel at night

Another view of Joe and Aggie's at night
I wandered around Holbrook a while Saturday morning, the old train station, the Bucket of Blood Saloon, the rock shops, the big dinosaurs, and several old buildings in various stages of collapse.  Holbrook has quite the history, mostly bad stuff, but the westerners take pride in that. 

Mural at Young's Corral Bar

The Bucket of Blood Saloon

Horsehead Crossing Deli, now vacant

Old Hotel in Holbrook now falling apart

The classic Route 66 dinosaurs in Holbrook

Holbrook mural of Hashknife Pony Express riders

The Pow Wow Trading Post in Holbrook

The ultimate VW RV at a shop in Holbrook

After receiving a bigger than expected check from canceling the extended warranty on the GMC Denali, we went out for dinner.  The dinner options in Holbrook are limited, nothing fancy.  We ended up at a place, "Mr Maestas" which seems more like an antique shop inside, with good (almost) home cooked food. Haven't had Meat Loaf and mashed potatoes in a while !

I sat next to the smiling Texaco man at the Diner

 We extended for another day at the campground after hearing the dust storm weather advisory on our cell phones and a forecast of 35 to 50 MPH winds with gusts to 60 on Sunday.  We have free cable TV here along with some working WiFi, so I don't mind staying put.

The mouse mystery from the previous post came to a sad ending on Saturday.  As Twinkles was going under the sink for cleaning supplies, she noticed lots of chewed up toilet paper which stopped her in her tracks.  Of course I was called in again to delve deeper and eventually found a little dead mouse.  I suppose it became trapped in there when the escape route was sealed and could get no food or water and died. 

It's noon on Sunday and the RV is rocking in the wind, the dust is blowing and it appears to have been a smart decision to stay put for the day.  I'm reading a Zane Grey book now, The Hash Knife Outfit, that takes place in this area.

The Hashknife Gang in Holbrook
Our next stop is going to be another repeat, the McKinley County Red Rock Park outside of Gallup, New Mexico.  This week has a cold weather forecast, may have to bring out the winter clothes for the morning.

Drifting along with the tumbling Tumbleweeds,
Twinkles and Slick

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