Archive for May, 2012

Thursday May 31 – Holbrook Arizona

The good news is that today we found 12 geocaches.  The bad news is we almost melted in the process.  We never saw a thermometer, and you never know if you should trust what they say anyway, but it must have been 120.  Of course the forecast was for 93 but we would swear it was a least 120.  You know the old saying that it was hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk?  Well while walking down the sidewalk we did hear a sizzling sound.  It wasn’t eggs but we think our shoes were melting. How do people live in this heat?? They say you get used to it but it must take quite awhile.  Oh, and it isn’t so bad because it is dry heat.  Ya right,  an oven is dry heat also but we wouldn’t want to live in one. The people here on I-40 in the northern part of Arizona are on the same latitude as the Grand Canyon.  They say the weather is not bad at all, even with the snow in the winter, and they can’t figure out why people would live in the valley where it is so hot.  The valley??  It looks pretty flat everywhere around here to us.  But our tourist ignorance is satisfied when we learn that the area down south, in the Mesa and Phoenix vicinity, is called the valley. 

 

In Winslow we met a young couple from England who requested we take their picture with the “Standing on a Corner” statue.  When we said they seemed young to know about the Eagles and their “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” song he said his auntie was crazy for the Eagles music and told him not to come back to England without a picture and a t-shirt for her.  Not much going on in Winslow but they do have a Walmart.  At least their Safeway has some competition.  Here in Holbrook the Safeway is the only food store in town.  We figured that out right away by the prices we saw when we were in there last night. 

 

Once again we spent time in a very amazing place we never would have known about if not for geocaching.  Three of the geocaches we found in Winslow were on the grounds of La Posada Hotel – placed with the owner’s consent.  Construction was started in 1927 and was completed in 1929 at a cost of $2 million – about $40 million in today’s dollars .  The Santa Fe Railroad played a major role in the decision to build a grand hotel in northern Arizona and the railroad runs along the back border of the grounds.  La Posada means “the Resting Place” but we are still trying to figure out how restful it can be with all of those trains roaring by all the time.  In its time it was the finest hotel on Route 66.  All passenger trains from Los Angeles to Chicago stopped there.  Everybody stayed there – Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Amelia Earhart, Dorothy Lamour, Albert Einstein and the Crown Prince of Japan to name just a few.  It is a very impressive, large Spanish hacienda building with unusual and expensive decorations-many of which are for sale.  We looked around in the gift shop and found a Navajo blanket table runner for a mere $138.  When we peeked into the dining room the maitre de glared at us with his nose in the air.  It closed in 1957 and in the 60’s it was gutted and made into offices.  It was purchased in 1997 by the current owners to keep it from being torn down, is still in the process of being and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. We were surprised to find out that the rooms were only $109.  But then again Winslow is not what you call a resort destination place.

 

Tonight Wayne will hook up the pickup and wash BOB (baked on bugs) off the windshield.  In the morning we will head back eastward on I-40 to Albuquerque for a few days.  Hope for wildfire smoke is not blowing in that direction anymore. It is only about 220 mile trip but it may take 10 or 12 hours to get there.  You see we have to go right by two casinos to get there.  Dianne is hearing those slot machines calling her name from here. 

 

Hi Mom, Send Money…

 

The link(s) below will get you to a Skydrive account that has a few pictures from today.

Click on a photo to get a larger view. 

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=8406D35CB4187B48!303&authkey=!AGnQLpYEQ5nbzCo

or

http://sdrv.ms/JCWju6

 Geocache total    Today   12   Trip Total   77

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Wednesday May 30 – Holbrook AZ

Up early this morning.  The guy in the site next to us got up about 6 AM and opened the door to his tow vehicle and slammed it shut about 4,324 times – right outside our bedroom window.  Grrr!!  He’s still there so will be interesting to see how tomorrow morning goes.  At least he is leaving tomorrow.  The positive in all that is we were at the visitor’s center at Petrified Forest National Park at 8:30 AM.  I think.  We have been on Mountain Daylight Savings Time since leaving Oregon a couple of weeks ago but Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation) does not go on Daylight Savings Time.  So we are back on Seattle time.  Day after tomorrow we will go east to Albuquerque and be back on Mountain Savings Daylight Time again.  Did you get all that?  Hope so because we are so confused!!   But who cares about what time it is after all we are on vacation. Saved another $10 with the Old Geezer Pass.  In Cortez many of the stores had parking spaces near the door marked “Senior Citizen Parking Only”.  Great idea-wish it would catch on everywhere.  

The early morning sun was perfect for taking pictures in the Painted Desert – the part of the park on the north side of the freeway.  According to one of the signs, the air quality there is the purest in the US.  What an opportunity!  We almost hyperventilated filling up on that great air for future use.  It was so clear that we could see mountains 120 miles away.  The many colors in the desert were very beautiful.  Sadly our cameras don’t pick up the intensity of the colors compared to what we saw.  At one of the stops along the way there was an old, old rusty car on what was Route 66 before it was replaced by nearby I-40. They have even left the row of old telephone poles that once marched along Route 66.  In the part of the park south of the freeway we saw a pueblo site, petroglyphs, more amazing colors, antelope, lizards, dinosaur skeletons, big ravens who knew we were eating lunch in the pickup-and wanted some, and lots of scared to death pieces of wood – also known as petrified trees.  The biggest petrified tree, called “Old Faithful” is 35 feet long and weighs 44 tons.  The afternoon temperature was around 90 but a nice breeze made the hikes we took bearable.  Just driving through the area on I-40 one would have no idea of the amazing and interesting things on each side of the freeway.  We found 5 geocaches during our 7 hours in the park.  While visiting a museum we were talking with a lady, now from Texas,  and discovered she and Wayne went to the same high school in Spokane, WA.  Small world!  Found another geocache on the way home and picked up a few things at Safeway.  Had a great dinner but made a mess of the kitchen.  Took longer to clean up than to fix the food.  Tomorrow we plan to drive about 30 miles west to Winslow and then do some local geocaching.  Supposed to be in the mid 90’s tomorrow.

More later. 

The link(s) below will get you to a Skydrive account that has a few pictures from today.

Click on a photo to get a larger view. 

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=8406D35CB4187B48!290&authkey=!AAsCt91Mjg5ts5A

or

http://sdrv.ms/LIiDhb

 Geocaches   Today 8    Trip Total  65

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Tuesday May 29 – Holbrook, AZ

Before heading out this morning we were talking to our neighbor in the RV park.  They have been spending summers in that park for 10 years and said the dust storm we had the other day was the worst they had ever seen by far.  We are torn between being honored history was made just for us and being glad to hear it isn’t like that all the time.  Today we traveled southwest from Colorado through part of New Mexico and then west to Holbrook, AZ.  Sunny weather with some wind.  We haven’t seen rain since we were in Salt Lake City 12 days ago.  There was enough wildfire smoke in the air as we went south that pictures of the huge rock uprising called Shiprock look out of focus.  Since we took about six as we went along and they all looked hazy we decided it probably was not the camera – nor the photographer.  We traveled through a lot of very desolate country with dilapidated houses and in Gallup we found a place to pull over and have our lunch.  Once we entered Arizona we stopped at a Welcome Center, found a geocache and took some information on the Petrified Forest National Park – our major reason for this jog to the west.  Can’t say much in glowing terms about Holbrook.  Even the Wigwam Motel, which is on Route 66, that looked so nice in pictures we have seen looked run down and past its prime.  We can identify with that.  The Wigwam motel was used as a model for “Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel” in the Pixar movie “Cars”

Tomorrow we plan to see the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert.

The link(s) below will get you to a Skydrive account that has a few pictures from today.

Click on a photo to get a larger view. 

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=8406D35CB4187B48!284&authkey=!ADRjoBd6-qpGzHk

or

http://sdrv.ms/JO4ale

 Gas watch  $3.67  Holbrook, AZ

                      $3.57 Gallup, NM 

License plates spotted – Found 2 more today so we are at 56

 Geocaches   Today 1    Trip Total  57

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Monday May 29 – Cortez, CO

Happy Memorial Day!

Since today was a holiday we decided to take a holiday from our vacation.  In other words we did squat, nada, nothing.  If you get the drift we stayed around the motor home and vegged. Well not totally- we did do a little house keeping in preparation for our travel day tomorrow to the booming metropolis of Holbrook, Arizona.  Why Holbrook you ask?  Well Holbrook is just a stone’s throw away from the Petrified Forest National Park.  (Stone’s throw…. Get it??  insert groan here). 

Beautiful day.  Sunny with just a slight breeze and temperatures in the low 70’s.  It was cold again last night but not as cold as was predicted.  The RV Park here furnished the fried chicken for a potluck dinner today.  What a feast.  We met some very nice people from Denver.  We traded information and when we are in Denver in a couple of weeks we may see them again.

Not much more to report today.  See you in Holbrook tomorrow.

BTW the gas prices here went down again to $3.72.

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Sunday May 27 – Cortez, CO

It was really cold last night and might have made it up to 70 today.  Needed jackets part of the time.  Just a nice easy breeze instead of the blow-everything-away dust storm we had yesterday.  Supposed to be colder tonight – down to 28.  Yikes!  We weren’t expecting this.  After lunch we headed east to check out the town of Durango, the biggest city in these here parts.  In fact, probably the only city because the rest only qualify as towns.  A fence must have blown down in yesterday’s storm because we saw cattle alongside the highway and a lot of cowboys on horses trying to round them up.  As we were traveling Dianne was looking at info about the area and discovered a casino about 10 miles SE of Durango–so guess where we went first.  After getting player’s club cards with complimentary money on them we played on their money for about 2 ½ hours and left $13 ahead.  Not a lot but it is so nice to leave ahead of what you started with.  Headed back into Durango to do some geocaching and found about a million people and 2 million bicycles in town.  The streets we needed to travel to get to most of the caches were blocked off.  We did find a couple on the side of town not taken over by the event and headed west back to Cortez. As we were leaving town we drove down a street full of lodging possibilities.  Competition for customers must be fierce and we had to chuckle at one sign that read “Last motel for 150 feet”.  Found a geocache at a very nice rest area on our trip home and took a picture of a mountain range to the west called “The Sleeping Ute”.  Someone had a great imagination to come up with that but if you squint and turn your head just right you can sort of see someone on their back with their head to the north, arms crossed on their chest and feet way down at the southern end of the range.  The people in the rig on one side of us have been gone 99% of the time since we have been here and Wayne returned their flying carpet from the middle of the street to the ground next to their motorhome a couple of times during the wind yesterday.  This evening they showed up and we found out they own the park!  Tomorrow we will prepare to travel again along with attending the 2:00 picnic here in the park.  Tuesday we head for Holbrook AZ and the Petrified Forest National Park.

Have a great Holiday!

The link(s) below will get you to a Skydrive account that has a few pictures from today.

Click on a photo to get a larger view.

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=8406D35CB4187B48!282&authkey=!AFAy4_b9rWHcw0Y

or

http://sdrv.ms/KxFKxw

Geocache count   Today  3   Trip Total 56

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Saturday May 26 – Cortez, CO

Wow!  The only way to describe today is with 4 letter words (&^*%).  No, not those kinds of word.  Words like Wind, Dust, Dirt, Blow, Gust, Grit.   If you get the general idea (oops, another 4 letter word), it is windy here today.  The news reports say 40 MPH winds gusting to 60 MPH. I’m not sure how accurate that is but I think I just saw Dorothy and Toto fly by the window followed by a funny looking  lion and a couple flying monkeys.  We didn’t want to venture too far out into the dust bowl today so we decided to just stay close to our little rockin’ and rollin’ abode and do a bit of geocaching in town while the town is still here.  That was a real adventure trying to read street signs in the middle of a dust storm. Cortez is a nice, clean (except for all the dust flying through today) town with pockets of hovels.  There are outstanding parks and newer looking municipal buildings that make a nice use of brick.  Anyway we did find 10 geocaches before giving up and going home and take a shower.  As I am writing this it is around 4:00 PM and there is so much dust in the air it is as dark as 8:00 at night.  The good news is that there are little to no trees here to blow down and take out the power lines although our power did go out here once already.  The bad news is there are little to no trees here to block the wind.  We just got word that the strongest winds are expected this evening.  We may be joining Dorothy here shortly.  You have to feel sorry for those who chose today for their visit to Mesa Verde National Park.  Their cameras must be full of dirt and their view obscured across the valley into some of the ruins.  I wonder how many were blown off the ladders used to enter and exit the sites.

We hear there is a big forest (I’m not sure what their definition of a forest is) fire southwest of Albuquerque and the wind is blowing so hard that they cannot even attempt to contain it. Let’s hope it is out before we have to go that direction in about a week.

Tomorrow is not supposed to be as bad so we will try to go over to Durango CO to check out the town and maybe do a little more caching.

We enjoy reading your comments so keep those cards and letters coming folks.

The link(s) below will get you to a Skydrive account that has a few pictures from today.

Click on a photo to get a larger view.

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=8406D35CB4187B48!277&authkey=!ADUPoByynLojT0g

or

http://sdrv.ms/KTwk1N

Geocache count   Today  10   Trip Total 53

13 days on the road –  36 days to go

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Friday May 25 – Cortez CO

We were really industrious today and visited four states.  Of course we did it by visiting Four Corners Monument located about 40 miles southwest of where we are camped in Cortez, CO.  We traveled through extremely desolate countryside in 40 mile/hour winds and a dust storm to get there.  As my dad used to say “It is so desolate that the jack rabbits have to pack a lunch to cross the road”. The Navajo Indians own the land where UT, CO, AZ and NM meet – the only place in the US where 4 states come together.  They charge $3 a person to stand, sit, spread-eagle or whatever on the bronze plaque and the site is ringed by stalls where the Indians have jewelry, shirts, food and other trinkets for sale.  Not exactly a destination but a fun place to say you have been.  One more thing to scratch off the bucket list. On the way back we stopped in Shiprock, NM, found a little bit of shade by a tree and ate our picnic lunch in the truck.  It was too windy and dusty to eat outside.  We were near a Sonic Drive-In and it was fun watching the girls on skates being blown backwards on their skates with items on their trays flying around.  Well maybe not that bad but the wind and blowing dust did made it really hard for them to skate to the cars while keeping the food items on the trays.  The place was busy but it is hard to imagine how the customers kept the dust from permeating their food before they could get it into their vehicles.  Two little prairie dogs in a large dirt lot entertained us running all around in the wind.  We thought they should go back underground before they got blown away. Shiprock is not what you would call a destination place.  If you take away the dozen or so fast food places and the half dozen gas stations what you have left is a wide spot in the road with a high school and a hospital.   We headed back to Cortez and stopped for gas at the local casino.  $3.73 for regular and $3.69 for diesel.  First time we have seen diesel cheaper than regular in years.  We should have just gotten back on the road and kept going but both of us needed to use a restroom and since we were in the casino anyway……  Well, like I said, we should have just gotten back on the road and kept going.  If you know what I mean.  On Monday the RV Park is having a Memorial Day get together and is providing fried chicken, rolls and place settings with the park guests contributing the rest of the meal.  We signed up to participate on our way out this morning and found cookies in a bakery decorated in red, white and blue.  Seeing the graduation cakes in the bakery reminded Dianne that she graduated from high school on this date in 1964.  (Did they have High Schools back then? Her diploma is on a stone tablet.) How does she remember that kind of stuff?  It was nice being back to the motorhome at 4 PM instead of our 6 or 7 arrival times the last couple of days.   

Not sure what we will do tomorrow.  Right  now nothing sounds good.

The link(s) below will get you to a Skydrive account that has a few pictures from today.

Click on a photo to get a larger view.

 https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=8406D35CB4187B48!270&authkey=!ABy1_z1id-n1Mtg

 or

 http://sdrv.ms/Lp37HJ

 License plates spotted – 44 States, Washington DC, 4 Canadian Province, 1 Mexican state

 

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