Petrified Forest National Park to Winslow, AZ
Day 40 July 12th Chambers, AZ to Holbrook, AZ 72 miles Total Miles: 2,251
Weather: Sunny, warm 89 degrees, nasty headwind 24 mph for last 20 miles
We got up early so we could try to beat the heat and wind a bit. The first 23 miles of our ride was on I-40 and it was down hill until the last five miles going into Petrified Forest National Park. Once in the park we traveled 28 miles from the north park entrance to the south entrance. The road was in great shape and there were very few cars and the ones that were on the road were moving very slowly.
Our first stop was the visitor’s center to get a map and the scoop on what to see. After a snack we were on our way to explore the park. We did drive byes of several Painted Desert Overlooks. Unbelievable beautiful colors weaving thru the rocks. Our first stop was the Painted Desert Inn, a restored trading post, turned inn, turned museum and National Historic Landmark.
Puerco Pueblo was our first hiking stop. We walked the fairly short trail to see some petroglyphs and pueblos. It was very interesting and something Tracy had never scene before. We stopped and talked with a volunteer working at one of the building and she got so excited when she saw Peter’s Packer hat – she is a hard core Packer fan from Arizona.
Our next stop was Crystal Forest which was really cool. It is an area of the park that has thousands of pieces of petrified wood just laying around. The petrified logs glimmer with quartz crystals along the trail. Our final stop was the Rainbow Forest Museum and visitor center. The Giant Logs Trail was also located here – we did not hike it but just looked it over from the visitor’s center.
We took a short break at the Rainbow Forest Museum and were sitting by our bicycle relaxing when two young ladies and a young man from Arizona stopped to ask about our trip. They were very interested and asked lots of questions, I think we talked with them for about a half hour. They were very nice and we enjoyed talking with them and learning more about Arizona. We gave them a business card and suggested they check out our social media and also told them to send us a message, they said they would.
We then wandered over to the visitors center to fill up our water bottles and hit the bathroom before we left. Upon our return to the bicycle there were four women sitting on the bench near the bicycle and we talked with them about our trip. They were also traveling Route 66 but by car. They were quite the ladies and were obviously having a great time exploring together. We had to ask them to get up to get our bicycle out. They stood right up and said they certainly did not want to hold up our trip. We talked a bit more and then headed towards Holbrook for the last 20 miles of our ride.
Our ride to Holbrook was tough because again the west wind had kicked up and we had a 24 mph headwind to battle – no fun at all. At least we were going downhill primarily. About half way thru the ride we both were “I am so done with this”, when we experienced a much needed random act of kindness. We had our heads down and were just working on finishing up, when Tracy looked left and saw a van right next to us with a woman holding out two ice cold bottles of water and asking if we wanted them. Tracy asked Peter and he said absolutely so we stopped and took the water. It was so great, here was a young couple with two small children teaching them how simple it is to help people out. We were excited about the cold water and it helped the rest of the trip go much better!!
We made it to Holbrook about 45 minutes later and got settled in Wigwam number 16 at the Wigwam Hotel. The Wigwam Hotel is a Historic Landmark on Route 66 and has antique cars parked outside the wigwams. Very fun to stay in and it had everything we needed.
Day 41 July 13th Holbrook, AZ to Winslow AZ 39 miles Total Miles: 2,290
Weather: Sunny, low 80 early in day, 100 degrees by noon, slight tailwind early to headwind after noon
We woke up in our wigwam early to get our miles done before the temperature and wind all rise!! We were on the road by 7:00am. The first 20 miles were on smaller county roads to Joseph City. As we were traveling towards Joseph City a car came up to us as we were taking a break, they were going really slow. We were wondering what was up and then they pulled along side us and it was the four women we met at the park yesterday. They were taking a side trip to see a cool bridge they heard about. It was fun to see them again and they told us they saw us heading out of Holbrook that morning while eating breakfast at a local restaurant. This time we gave them our card and told them to follow our trip and send us messages – they said they would!!
Joseph City was suppose to have a convenience store and restaurant but not anymore. They evidently are closing the power plant located near Joseph City and many people in town have lost their jobs and the businesses have also closed up because the people are gone. Luckily a local volunteer fire fighter had just arrived at the fire station we were bicycling past and was kind enough to fill our water bottles for us.
From Joseph City we traveled on a frontage road to I – 40. The road was in bad shape and was bouncing us everywhere, but we just slowed down and eventually it got a bit better. The good thing about being on the frontage road was we got to visit the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. We had been seeing signs for it for miles and miles. As we were pulling in a gentleman was standing on the side of the road video taping us as we pedaled up. He was from Indiana and was in Arizona with a youth church group to do some volunteer work at a local Native American group home. He also is a bicyclist and had lots of questions for us, which we dutifully answered. The gentleman explained the children in the group home were up to age 18 and how incredible they are when you hear the terrible situations they have been taken away from. Hopefully this situation will help them to lead a successful life in the future.
We then got back on I- 40 and followed that into Winslow. We got in nice and early and were able to get into our hotel room at La Posada Hotel, Restaurant, Museum and Gardens. The hotel was designed by Mary Colter who was hired by the Harvey Company. The timing of the opening of this amazing building could not have been worse – 1930 right at the start of the Great Depression, the building never prospered and closed to the public in 1957. In 1961 the property was gutted and transformed into offices for the Santa Fe Railroad. (The tracks are right behind the building and it also serves as an Amtrak Depot). In 1993 the railroad was going to dispose of La Posada but luckily in 1994 the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the property on its endangered list. Then came Allan Affeldt who purchased the property and has renovated it. It is an amazing property and has several unique hotel rooms. If you are ever in Winslow, AZ definitely stop and check it out and better yet spend the night.
We of course had to stop at the corner in Winslow dedicated to the Eagles top hit “Take It Easy”. The corner has a bronze statue of a man leaning against a lamp post with a guitar in his hand with the words “Standing on the Corner” on a sign above his head, on a window sill in the background is a stuffed eagle and a picture of a blonde in a red flat bed truck. If you have not heard the song it is a good one and they say it helped put Winslow, AZ on the map!!