Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 3 - Holbrook and the Petrified Forest National Park

[Holbrook, AZ - Petrified Forest] We slept in a bit. Bathed and showered, then had our complimentary breakfast at the Ramada Inn. John had one of his favorite malted waffles, some raisin bran, orange juice, milk and coffee. Linda had some Raisin Bran mixed in with her Raw Bits Twang Twang and some milk. It was nice and saves quite a bit of money over a fifteen day road trip!

We had been watching the weather forecast for Holbrook over the last couple of weeks on AccuWeather. It had been predicting 30 deg. lows and 50 deg. highs and winds gusting to 30mph. That was a bogus forecast. A cold front had come through. Last night it went down to 17 deg. and during today it hit about 48 deg. The important, and wonderful thing, is that there was almost no wind. Just an occasional breeze. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Great for sightseeing. Linda wasn't taking any chances on being cold. She dressed in lots and lots of layers (3 shirts, 2 jackets, jeans and sweats over the jeans). She was nice and cozy all day! As usual, John wore shorts and his T-shirt, but took a jacket just in case.

We headed out for the Petrified Forest about 10:03a.m. On our way out of town, we saw another antique shop. Do you see the pattern developing here? But, Linda was still unable to fine a gift that was older than her sis. Oh my!

On our way to the park on Hwy 180 we passed a huge establishment, Tom Grey's Petrified Wood Company. It was just on the outskirts of Holbrook. We figured right then that Tom's would be the place to get our petrified wood samples and that we would do it later in the day or tomorrow.

Hwy 180 goes right to the Petrified Forest National Park (PFNP). There are a couple of "museums" at the turn off into the actual park, but they are privately owned. We dropped into one of them and looked around. Linda found a Rte 66 sew-on patch. They wanted six bucks for it. No deal.

We entered the PFNP for free as John had previously acquired a National Parks Senior Pass. That saved $10. We were given a park map for both the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert National Park. Did you know that both of these are actually part of the large area of land designated as the Painted Desert? Oh, we were also given a "snitch" card. This was for use in case we saw someone picking up petrified wood and putting it in their car / pocket, etc. It had a place for the date and time, vehicle make, color, state and license plate. You could just fill it out and send it in. By the way, the minimum fine for pilfering petrified wood is $325.

We watched a nice video at the information center and purchased a "bonus pack" with colorful and informative books about both parks, and an extended version of the video. No, we won't be posting the video. Also, Linda found her Rte 66 patch for $3.85 (a savings of $2.15 over the "other place"). When you retire, you become a bit more frugal. Plus, when you buy at the National Park store the profit goes back into the park (we think).

When we got to the Painted Desert visitor center we got our Passport book (it's for all national parks and monuments) stamped.

The PFNP is really unique and started being formed in the Trassic Period. If you want more info on the park, you can go to their website by clicking here.  There are lots of other fossils and petroglyphs in the park as well as the petrified wood. And, for your fun and entertainment, we have another contest. Play the sound clip below and see if you can identify which PFNP inhabitant makes that sound.

The first person emailing the correct answer to us at the Buzzard's Roost (click here to mail) will receive recognition and a small prize.

You had a reprieve on the previous two days with only a total of 28 photos in the galleries. Today, you get 91 photos, so get to work!

At lunchtime, we had some Kirkland Fruit and Nut Medley and some mixed nuts. Enough to tide us over until dinner (and, of course, the price was right). We left the PFNP in mid-afternoon so Linda could get back to the Wigwam Motel on old Rte 66. Gotta get in her letterboxing, you know. She was successful in finding two letterboxes there. John spoke with the owner. There were only seven Wigwam Motels built, and they were scattered all over the country (Louisiana, Florida, Kentucky, Arizona, etc). Just so happens his father built all seven of them as a contractor. There are still 3 left today. More about that and photos of the Wigwam Motel tomorrow.

There was some time left in the day, so we went to the Petrified Wood Company. We found some pieces of petrified wood for souveniers and a package of petrified wood pieces for grandson Isaac. But, John thinks he has the best find of the day. A slab of Coprolite about 8" wide by 5" tall by 1/2" thick on a nice stand. Some of you might ask, "So, what is Coprolite that makes it such a find"? To sum it up in three words "fossilized dinosaur poop". Now every time he flushes, he's thinking, "Billions of years from now, that's going to be worth a lot of money!"

Dinner was taken at Joe and Aggie's Restaurant. It's an old establishment on the old Rte 66. Kinda dumpy (did we mention it's old.... like us?) Linda had a tostada and sopapilla. She reports that it was the best sopapilla she has had since Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 1950s. John had a hamburger steak (he gets a craving for them once in a while) with grilled onions and brown gravy. Instead of mashed potatoes, he selected french fries (with the same brown gravy, of course). It was a good meal and we had good service. There's a steak house in town that we might try tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow's weather forecast is a near repeat of today's, but it is supposed to be a bit warmer. Still no wind in the forecast! After being outdoors all day, we expect to sleep well.

You can view today's photo gallery at by clicking here

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