5/18/2019 and 5/19/2019
Holbrook, Gateway to The Petrified Forest
Saturday 5/18/2019 Our destination today was Holbrook, Arizona which was 250 miles away. We stayed at the OK RV Park right off Route 40, otherwise known as Old Route 66. The RV park was pretty nice, the sites were long and easy to pull in. We took a ride after setting up to get fuel and drive around town. Holbrook is a very basic town. It's mainly a pit stop for gas and food on Route 40 and a place to stay if you are visiting The Petrified Forest. Many of the souvenir shops and restaurants were either not open yet or out of business. We also came across a unique Wigwam Hotel. This was an actual hotel in the 1950s and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We were in the grocery store across the street when we noticed it. We just had to drive through and photograph it. There are even antique cars parked in front of the teepees to make it look like the 1950s.
Sunday 5/19/2019 Today we returned to The Petrified Forest. We were here last year in June but because of the weather, we didn't get to see everything. Last year we entered the 28-mile scenic drive from the north entrance and stopped to see many of the points of interest. It was a rainy, cold, miserable day and because of that, we skipped some of the trails and viewpoints. This year we entered from the south entrance and planned to see everything we missed on our previous visit. Once again the weather wasn't cooperating. It wasn't raining this year but it was cold and it was extremely windy. In spite of the harsh weather, we were determined not to skip anything this year. Our first stop was at the Rainbow Forest Visitors Center and we took a 2.6-mile walk on the Long Logs Trail and The Agate House Trail. The Agate House is a partially reconstructed Puebloan building built almost entirely of petrified wood. The eight-room pueblo has been dated to approximately the year 900 and occupied through 1200. The ruins of The Agate House were reconstructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933-34.
One of the spots we missed last year was The Blue Mesa. The Blue Mesa is a 3.5-mile driving loop. We stopped at a parking area along the loop and hiked a steep one-mile trail which enters The Badlands and showcases some colorful petrified wood.
The next stop was The Village Rio Puerco. We first entered a small museum which explained some of the ancient history. We took a short walk on a trail where you can view petroglyphs on rocks and viewed ruins of the Puebloan homes which existed from 1250 - 1380 AD. They also had ruins of a Kiva.
Next stop of the day was The Painted Desert Inn. It was built in the Pueblo Revival style in the early 20th century. It showcases a beautiful ceiling with colorful skylights and Native American murals throughout the inn. There's an old kitchen, dining area, and a shop selling Indian jewelry. Downstairs is an old soda fountain and ice cream parlor. You can stroll around the grounds for some more scenic views of The Painted Desert.
Another stop was the Agate Bridge. This area features sweeping views and a 110-foot long petrified log bridge. The petrified log has been reinforced with concrete to help support it.
Crystal Forest is a paved, quarter-mile loop trail through a badlands landscape with many intact petrified logs. We especially liked this stop as it was full of many colorful varieties of logs. This was our last stop of the day and what a horribly windy day it was. We were ready to drive back to the trailer. But I guess the wind wasn't finished with us. The wind gusts were so strong that the trailer was rocking back and forth. I finally decided to go outside and hook the truck back up to the trailer in hopes it would prevent the rocking. Shortly after I hooked the truck up to the trailer, of course, the wind subsided.
Below is a short video showing how windy it was.
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