Homolovi State Park
I’m coming back to catch up on posts, as things have been rather busy and my right foot has been quite a distraction. It did require a visit to urgent care and I’m on antibiotics now, but I’ll tell that story later. As for Homolovi State Park, this was a dual purpose stop. I wanted to make tracks towards New Mexico, but also stop at Petrified Forest National Park, and this is only about an hour’s drive.
Highway 260 up to 87
We took highway 260 out of Cottonwood and up into the mountains. I wasn’t sure about that route because our campground finding tool, Allstays, noted that this was a “dangerous” stretch of road. Here’s what I love about Facebook though. Say what you will about social media, and you’re right about it all, but if you post a question about routes, you will get informed answers within an hour. I also happen to have a super solid social media community with friends all over the place. Personally, I really loved the 260/87 route because it kept me off busy trucking highways and made for a much more pleasant traveling experience. If you’re going east to west, that will be a long descent, but with engine braking, it still should be fine.
Arizona, approaching Winslow
Once we came out of the high places, the temperature rose as the tree cover fell. We entered Winslow on a long, straight, flat runway with nothing but golden prairie grass and sandy soil for as far as the eye could see. The state park is about six or seven miles outside of town and boasts several important historic dwelling sites. The feel is very open range in the desert. While we were there, we experienced some good summer storms, complete with lightning and thunder, that came and went in about an hour as they made their way across the open plains. There are even some free range donkeys and horses hanging out in the park (I have no idea what you should call those). They seem used to people coming through, but did stare at Richard judgmentally as he passed them on his bike.
Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona
Because of my foot* (*that will be a theme for a while here), I wasn’t up for cooking, so Richard cooked a Bertoli pan dinner the first night, and went into Winslow and grabbed some excellent take out for the second. Of course we had to go into town and snap some obligatory pics with the “Standin’ on the Corner” statues. And yeah, we had to buy the song from iTunes so we could really get the full Eagles experience.
Badlands with bling
Monday we dedicated to Petrified Forest National Park. We thought there was a lot of petrified wood lying around in Escalante. Hahaha. That was nothing compared to this. It is a twenty five mile drive to go from one side of the park to the other and, in addition to it being lousy with petrified wood, there were all kinds of really colorful dunes and mounds all along the way. We first stopped at the famed gift stores at the south entrance to the park. You can actually camp there, but it’s not as though this would be a scenery based decision. It is exactly what it sounds like: a parking lot next to some gift shops. It seemed like some of the sites had hookups, but it’s not like there is anything else around there. In retrospect, I was happy with the state park plan, even though it required a drive out and back to the park.
Riding the national park road
Richard rode the national park road while I drove it, stopping at any of the overlooks and points of interest that did not require a lot of walking. On that day, I was feeling better, but certainly not to the point of “normal.” We both loved this national park and I especially liked the Painted Desert views up at the north end. And the plethora of jewel encrusted petrified wood scattered all over the park is just amazing. It’s like Badlands with bling.
The Painted Desert
Due to the rains, it was nowhere near as hot as I feared it might be. In the national park, it hit mid 90s, but Richard seems to have no problem with that. I was in the air conditioned car, so not really a concern for me. At night it cooled off a lot. Great stop along the road and another national park checked off!
Total miles: 119.7, 17.1 mpg. Site 26. Electric and water. Great solar with one extremely well placed shade tree. Good LTE for both. Close enough to see Highway 40, but not close enough to hear it. Richard saw fireworks coming from town on the 4th, but I was staying put with my foot up inside. Good dump and potable water.