Thursday, August 31, 2006


Location: Albuquerque, NM
Miles: 4957

We started the day with danish and juice at The Lodge, then packed up and headed out. But before we left Winslow, AZ, we took a couple more pictures:

(above) Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see.

Shortly after 11 am we reached Meteor Crater. For a big hole in the ground, it is a pretty impressive hole in the ground.

(above) Thomas at Meteor Crater.

At Meteor Crater we ran into a couple of fans, part of the Xerps crowd. They're meandering back home to Mississippi the same way we're meandering back to Baltimore. It was great to see them.

We then continued on to the Petrified Forest (which, for reasons entirely too obscure to explain, we referred to as "The Petrified Ferret"), where we used our National Parks Pass to enter. The Petrified Ferret was amazing and fascinating: unlike the Grand Canyon or the Badlands, it was not grandly and immediately impressive, but in a subtle way, every bit as magnificent. Thousands of pieces of petrified wood lie across a landscape that resembles the Badlands; these trees were alive 230 million years ago, when all the continents were joined together. Over the millions of years they have turned to stone, but they look like trees. How often do you get to see trees that grew in Pangaea?

Thomas in particular was fascinated by the Petrified Ferret -- he took nearly 150 pictures. Here are a couple of them:

(above) This bunny was resting in the shade of an enormous petrified tree. Smart bunny.

(above) Petrified trees.

We were sure glad that we had decided to go to the Petrified Ferret, and not the Putrefied Ferret.

Part of Petrified Ferret National Park is the Painted Desert, so we stopped there as well. It was spectacular, although we visited during a rainstorm.

(above) Part of the Painted Desert. Wow.

After leaving the Park, we stopped at the Chieftain Restaurant in Ganado, AZ. Don had chicken noodle soup, roast beef with gravy, fries, garlic toast, and corn. Thomas had a cheese enchilada, refried beans, rice, tortilla, chips-and-salsa, and navajo frybread. Both had apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Don, who doesn't like surrendering tableware, finished the meal with three spoons, two knives, and a fork.

About 7:00 pm we crossed over into New Mexico, where it became 8:00 pm. Arizona doesn't do the whole Daylight Savings Time nonsense, so it was on Mountain Standard Time, which was the same as Pacific Daylight Time. New Mexico is on Mountain Daylight Time.

One good thing about driving east instead of west: in the evening, we don't have the sun in our eyes.

Anyway, at 8:48 pm we stopped at the Continental Divide.

(above) The boys at the Continental Divide, lit by Eurovan's headlights.

We stopped to take a picture. Don's family has two similar pictures of Don and his brother standing at the Continental Divide, one taken when he was 7 and another when he was 11.

At the same time, we stole an idea from our friend John Hackman, and fulfilled every male's dream by peeing at the Continental Divide, so half went into the Atlantic and half into the Pacific. Not everyone has peed in two oceans simultaneously....

Very late, we reached Albuquerque, and got a room at the Comfort Inn.

Tomorrow, we hope to have lunch with Malu Gawthrop, a dear friend of Don's from high school. And then, ever eastward.


M. said...

Guys, I am so enjoying this blog! First, it's your usual good writing, but also you're visiting all the places my family used to go on summer vacation when I was a kid. (For example: we have home movies of my brother Bran pouring milk on a lizard at the great meteor crater - followed a shots essentially identical to yours of the crater itself. No, I don't know why he was pouring milk on the lizard. Maybe it's like the Continental Divide.) You're making me want to go west again!

betts said...

M, I so agree with you. I want to go west too! Jimbo and I are reading the blog and last night he was discussing renting an RV to make a trip west.
The blogs have been great to read each day - I like the mileage counting up as you all travel.

betts again said...

I copied the Painted dessert photo and printed it out. It looks painted. Really neat! (and dessert was added instead of desert to keep in the food mode)

Meerkat Meade said...

Yeah, this has been something of a nostalgia trip for me, too. Our family made several cross-country trips through the years. Dad was in the Navy, and it always seemed that his transfers always involved driving to the opposite coast.

We have tons of family slides of Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest, and similar places.

Melissa, I'm surprised you didn't know about pouring milk on the lizards at Meteor Crater. It's a regular part of the North Rim hike. The guide explained it to us: due to the large amount of nickel-iron in the soil, most of the Crater's animals have a really strange biochemistry -- when you pour milk on them, you get some really spectacular chemical color changes.

No, not really. :) But I had you going there for a moment, didn't I?