So we left Santa Fe (sniff) and started our trip toward Sedona. We are in FULL exploration mode now.
First stop along the way was the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park (same location). They are located in northeastern Arizona, about 50 miles from the New Mexico border on Interstate 40.
The Painted Desert encompasses over 93,500 acres and stretches over 160 miles. Naturally, the road through is NOT 160 miles long (take a calming, deep breath). The Painted Desert derives its name for the multitude of colors ranging from lavenders to shades of gray with vibrant colors of red, orange and pink. My pictures will not do justice to the actual colors. It is a long expanse of badland hills and buttes and although barren and austere, it is a beautiful landscape of a rainbow of colors.
Next to the Painted Desert, the handiwork of erosion, water, and silica, the remnants of this once magnificent pine forest have taken millions of years to resurface, and sparkle like so many diamonds. Once the stomping ground of dinosaurs and other prehistoric residents, the Petrified Forest continually reveals the skeletons of its stormy past. There is another Petrified Forest I have visited in Flora, MS, but it is dwarfed in comparison to this National Park’s extensive trees. Pictures below
Sweet Husband and I purchased a National Park membership a couple of years ago, well worth the $80.00. It gets a car full into any and all National Parks. If you are a National Park visitor, make the purchase.
After leaving the National park our GPS took us along Route 66 (yes, the VERY same famous one, get your kicks) still on our trek toward Sedona. We passed a sign alerting us to, “The Best Preserved Meteorite Site On Earth”. We made the quick turn to the left and followed the short detour to the Meteor Crater. Way cool, way large, worth the stop (plus clean restrooms).
Formed almost 50,000 years ago, the crater is a sight to behold. This is a must see. Formed by a huge iron-nickel meteorite hurling to our earth at 26,000 mph. It penetrated the rocky plain, pressures rose to 20 million pounds per sq. inch and in seconds a crater 700 feet deep and over 4,000 feet across was carved into the face of the earth. During the formation 175 million tons of limestone and sandstone displaced for over a mile surrounding the crater. Pictures below
We arrived in Sedona after dark because of the above detours. So, when we got up the next morning and walked outside we were blown away at the beauty surrounding us.
We had three nights FREE because we agreed to sit through a 90 minute sales presentation about time shares. The presentation turned into three hours, but we got away scott free – Praise God! We went in with full disclosure when we were presented with this “opportunity”. We told them we would NOT be purchasing ANYTHING. They said they understood and still wanted to offer us this “opportunity”. Day one blown.
Day two was rainy and overcast, so a lot of the views were obscured, we drove around anyway and did a little shopping in the outlet mall. Day two was better, EVEN WITH THE RAIN.
Day three threatened snow on the mountains leading out to Nevada, so we got an early start (thank God) and took our time crossing the mountain arriving in Vegas in day light. More on Vegas next post. Sedona pictures below.