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The Trip West – Day 5

November 15, 2012

We stayed in Gallup, NM Friday night.  The hotel was a brand new La Quinta, very nice.  I had to laugh when we arrived.  The hotel was located right next to the train tracks.  Dad enjoyed looking out the window at the trains and I slept just like I was back in Baltimore!

It’s kind of hard to see, but that is the train just beyond the driveway of the hotel

We hit the road by 7:45 and headed to Arizona.

Welcome to Arizona. We have red rocks.

As we were driving on I-40 we started seeing signs for the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest.  On a lark we decided to go check it out.

Wait, dis not scheduled? You sure is ok?

It was a fantastic side trip.  We started at the visitor center for a quick movie and chat with a park ranger.  Then we did a driving tour of the entire park, from the Painted Desert in the north to the Petrified Forest in the south.

The painted desert

We were fortunate to arrive just as the park opened.  No crowds to fight, although several times we left a stop just as a busload was arriving.  Perfect timing!

Chloe enjoyed the many opportunities to get out and explore.

Why you take dis picture? Dis not scenic.

We did a quick walk through the Crystal Forest.  Apparently this used to be so full of petrified wood that the entire floor was covered with it.  Sadly, tourists have taken too many souvenirs over the years.  It is now illegal to take anything from the park.

These ravens seemed to own the place.

Stopping at the Petrified National Forest was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me…

Dad and I continued on our way making plans for the rest of the trip.  After all, my job didn’t start until Wednesday and my apartment lease didn’t begin until Tuesday.  We had time to play!

Until we got an ominous text from KK: Snow expected Monday and Tuesday.  Travel over the Donner Pass will be difficult.

Um, gulp.

We quickly adjusted our plans.  Scratch the visit to Sedona, do a quick fly-by the Grand Canyon today and make it to Sacramento by the next evening.  We had a snowstorm to beat!

This picture was as close as we got to Winslow

Forget the stop in Winslow, AZ.  “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” took a back seat to the Grand Canyon.

We arrived at the South Rim for quick visit and a promise to return one day.  I’ve heard the sunset at the Canyon is amazing, but I’ll have to verify that for myself another time.

Dis enuff to make a dogses afraid of heights. Don’t drop me Mama!

Dad drove towards Vegas while I searched for a hotel room.  Whoops!  Every hotel room in Vegas was booked.  Darn marathon.  We ended up in a Quality Inn at Boulder City.

Welcome to Nevada. We have casinos.

We enjoyed a quiet dinner al fresco at the Southwest Diner.  Chloe was glad to be included.  She has spent most of our (rushed) meals inside the car.

And that was Day 5.  Total mileage 553.

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