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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, March 6, 2011


"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worthy reading or do things worth the writing." Benjamin Franklin

I don't know if I'm doing either but we are surely doing things that are incredibly wonderful--or seeing things that are. We took it easy into Holbrook, Az yesterday afternoon and had a leisurely day exploring the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest today.

I'm in awe of both the Desert and my photos of it--they look like watercolor paintings and that is exactly what it looks like. Unfortunately, though it was to have been sunny and in the high 60's today only the temperature was accurately predicted--reaching 67 at the highest. The winds, however, made it feel much cooler than that.

The Petrified Forest was as my Dad described it to us when we were kids--actually so was the Desert. What ever happened to the piece of petrified wood he had back then? I was always fascinated with it. The wood is plentiful in the area outside the park and when he took rte 66 West in the '30's the land wasn't fenced off the way it is now. So it was easy to pick up pieces all along the road. There are plenty of tourist traps in which you can buy pieces now. Unfortunately, almost all are polished smooth and I think lose the whole character of the rock.

The first stop in the Petrified Forest is the Puerco Pueblo where I caught a raven in flight--notice that his legs are down for landing but the thermals had to be overcome for the landing to happen--quite a wind these guys had to deal with!

At Newspaper Rock I forwent--is that a word???- looking at the daily reports, since as you can see it required the use of scopes looking straight down. Vertigo makes such an activity painful, hence I missed all the news that was fit to print back in the 1200's!

The road turned among wonderful cones of blues, purples and grays in formations called Tepees!

Blue Mesa was absolutely beautiful with the log falls and logs lying on the top of the hills. They look so real and the chunks look as though they were just cut with a two man saw and were awaiting splitting.

At the Agate Bridge we encountered our second pair of Ravens. It is apparently mating season. I sat in the car and watched the male groom and preen the female while she stood perfectly still enjoying the pampering. Then they flew into the parking lot and begged. A couple from Minnesota fed them a banana and I shared my getting stale Breton crackers. They seemed quite happy with this snack. The female even managed to carry a whole cracker--which is at least three inches in diameter away and return for more immediately. Then when the next cracker broke into pieces she got all three in her beak somehow and flew off to eat it.

At Jasper Forest you look into the valley into which erosion of the bluff ,on which you stand, has scattered petrified logs.

And then, after three hours and 26 miles, we were once more on the golden prairie from which there is no evidence of the fantastic landscape just a few miles to the East. The sky had become rather picturesque as well. We returned to Holbrook and again took pictures of another town passed by when I 40 replaced old 66 which still runs through town. I have to find the WigWam Motel before we leave--a Rte 66 land mark. But for now I have to decide if I want to go next door and eat awful Tex-Mex or finish my Applebee's salad. Decisions, decisions!

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