12/10/2020 Arizona Yay! I finally reached the sunny state of Arizona, right? It rained the first night and there was frost on the van the next morning. Like the book said, driving Rt. 66 in the winter months can be pretty tricky and uncomfortable if you’re not prepared. However, after working both beet harvests, I think I can survive just about anything. I just don’t want to if I don’t have to. I didn’t let the weather stop me and drove to my chosen points of interest.
The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park – Stupid weather prevented me from taking some great shots, but I took some anyway. It rained most of the time and was windy and cold. Geez! It was neat to see an old car by the old Rt. 66 end that is still maintained by the park. It’s the only piece of the road that ran through a national park. I’ll be back when the sun comes out.
Holbrook – I spent the night at the OK RV Park, which was, well, OK. I appreciated the gravel driveway and it was a pull through site. This park housed a permanent lot area and a separate RV area, thankfully. I’ve been very comfortable in the van so far, with a large heating pad for my bed and the electric heater for the van. They work perfectly together, and sometimes it got a little too hot in there. There were some cool roadside attractions, complete with a courthouse that’s haunted and a bunch of rock shops and dinosaurs along the road. Had to buy some crystals and retrieve my free piece of petrified wood at Jim Gray’s Rock Shop.
Winslow – Yep, it’s the best Eagles song ever! “Take it Easy” is all over the old downtown area, and the Standin’ in the Corner plaza was so awesome! Of course, only folks my age would get that unless they are into classic rock. Most of the visitors taking pics were white haired boomers just like me. Best generation ever! I watched their first farewell tour recently, and they were as outstanding as I remember! Another cool attraction was the World’s Smallest Church, and outside of the ones you set up with trains at Christmas, this was pretty small!
Geronimo Trading Post has the largest petrified wood tree in their parking lot. Took some snaps and looked around. Same trinkets, souvenirs, etc.
Meteor Crater National Monument (Barringer Crater) sits on a privately owned ranch that was purchased from the original owner a long time ago. This is a perfectly preserved crater and the only one like it on earth that is in pristine condition. The crater was used for NASA astronaut training as well. Checked out the informative short film and the guide gave an inside talk because of 50 mph winds that prevented us from going outside on the path. We were able to walk on the paths by the center, but that was it. I was glad.
Flagstaff was my final destination on Rt. 66 because it got pretty cold and there really was no place to stealth camp. The woman at the visitor center suggested that I just drive south to the national forest, toward Sedona. I was too cheap to spend money on a hotel and regret not being able to check this cool city out. Maybe next summer, when I go to the Grand Canyon…
HWY 89A – This gets special mention because it was the worst drive so far. I thought driving around Yellowstone was bad. Because I didn’t stay in Flagstaff, I drove south on Hwy 89A to see if I could find a campsite in the Coconino National Forest. First of all, this road is the trickiest mountain road to drive on when it’s getting dark! I drove through Red Rock Canyon and couldn’t find a campsite that was open. Fortunately, it was the best paved road I’ve driven on, but if you don’t like driving on crazy mountain roads, don’t do it! I remember this road from the last time I was in Arizona. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Driving 15 to 30 mph is not fun in a van. I can’t imagine a RV doing this and didn’t see too many. I’m tired of building stamina. I got into Sedona, and it was crowded with people and it was dark. This artsy funky town is not cheap and there is no place to park for the night. If anyone has a favorite spot around here, please let me know! So I pulled up my Pilot Flying J app and drove down to Prescott for the night. I went in and asked if anyone knew about the National Forests being closed, and the manager suggested going to Bloody Basin road to check out the BLM sites. He mentioned that there are 60 miles of road in there to explore. I’ll do that first thing in the morning.