Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall 2015 Road Trip from Bainbridge to Mexico

We are in San Carlos after a great four week road trip to get here.

We visited :

   Seven States:
New Mexico

Four National Parks:
Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado)
Chaco (New Mexico)
Mesa Verde (Colorado)
Canyon de Chelly (Arizona)

Eleven National Monuments/Sites:
Craters of the Moon NM(Idaho)
Dinosaur NM(Utah/Colorado)
Flaming Gorge National Rec. Area (Wyoming/Utah)
Colorado NM(Colorado)
Fossil Butte NM (Wyoming)
Canyons of the Ancients NM (Colorado)
Hovenweep NM (Colorado)
Anasazi Heritage Center (Colorado)
Aztec Ruins NM (New Mexico)
Hubble Trading Post (Arizona)
Tuzigoot NM (Arizona)
Unfortunately it took me awhile  to get back into picture taking
 mode so I don’t have many photos of the first week.
We started out taking I-5 to Portland where we 
stopped to have lunch with our neice, Amy. We then headed
south on the back roads of Oregon to visit another neice, Katie
and her family, in Salem and then on to Eugene to visit 
Chrissy's sister, Gretchen.

From Eugene we drove the McKenzie highway to Bend
to visit Doug and Linda - cruising friends

Historic covered bridge
Lava fields with two of the Three Sisters in the background

The new River Play Park had just opened a few days before
we arrived - it was getting a LOT of use
Next stop was Sun Valley, where we had reserved a 
condo for three nights. 
It has certainly changed since spending college 
spring breaks there. After forty five years the only things
I recognized were the mountain and The Ram resaurant!

 We drove the highway over Galena Pass up to Stanley.
It was gorgeous.

From Sun Valley we headed southeast
toward Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
Along the way we stopped at Craters of the Moon
National Monumet, Arco ID, and Fossil Butte
National Monument.
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Arco, ID, where we ate at..............
............Pickles Place!

Flaming Gorge
Bridge over the Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Our Campsite at Cedar Springs Campground
 with a view of the reservoir
Leaving Flaming Gorge
Flaming Gorge is on the Wyoming/Utah border.
From there we drove to Dinosaur National Monument
which is on the Utah/Colorado Border.

We had read about some impressive petroglyphs
on the way to Rainbow CG in Dinosaur NM on the 
north side of the Green River, but to get there
 you have to drive about 18 miles on a rough dirt road.
Since our car has four wheel drive we decided 
to give it a go.......and we are soooo glad we did!

We stopped at some of the petroglyphs on the way
into the the campground..........

red fox
Pine Beetles?????
We took a short hike over the hill from the CG
Sunset view from our campsite
It was a fairly primitive CG with only three campsites - not
many people want to do the drive.
During the night we could hear owls, coyotes, and
elk bugling.
We climbed up to see some more petroglyphs the next day

An amazing display!

Driving out and around to the south side of the river
To the quarry

Dinosaur Bones still embedded in the wall

A real skull
 After the quarry we stopped and hiked up to see 
more petroglyphs on our way to the Green River CG 
on the Colorado side of the river

From our new campsite we saw a beautiful sunset
and the super moon lunar eclipse!

Next stop: a motel in Grand Junction and then
we drove through Colorado National Monument
on our way to Black Canyon of The Gunnison NP

Colorado National Monument

A brunch stop in Delta, CO

A "to scale" replica of the Visitor's Center
would barley fit between the canyon walls at the bottom
 of the narrowest part of the canyon

Can you spot the two rock climbers?
We headed south from here, with a quick look at Telluride, 
and a very informative stop at the Anasazi Heritage Center.
The drive was incredibly beautiful. 

We hit the fall colors perfectly!

We stayed in Bloomfield, N.M. for the night and
got up early so we would arrive at Chaco Canyon
in the morning. It was well worth the effort 
to drive the 21 mile dirt road to get there.

The road started out OK........
but the grooves got deeper and deeper
We saw evidence of recent flash floods and wash outs.
If it rains the road closes.

Chaco Canyon is an amazing place.
It touched us.

This is a quote from Wikepedia:
Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century. Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the "Sun Dagger" petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.

The ruins in Chaco Canyon have been stabilized, but not

The campground

Fajada Butte

Mesa Verde NP was our next stop.
There is a huge nice campground with wifi, 
hot showeres (free), laundromat, coffee shop, 
and restaurant. Luxuries!!!!
We stayed a few days until the weather made a sudden change.

The cliff dwellings are everywhere you look.
The few that are available for tours have been 

When we left Mesa Verde the weather looked pretty
 threatening, but we stopped at Hovenweep NM for
a quick look and then Canyon de Chelly.

On the way from Hovenweep to Canyon de Chelly we had
several downpours and we crossed many of these usually dry

We also came across this fresh rock fall.........

....and had a emergency flash flood alert on the phone!

We decided to make Canyon de Chelly a day stop and head
for Winslow, AZ and the safety and comfort of a motel room.

Canyon de Chelly was beautiful. We wished we could have
taken a canyon tour, but it was too wet and the weather was still

We made one more stop at Hubbell Trading Post.
It's really worth the stop just to see the collection 
of baskets and rugs.

On our way to Winslow we had a hail storm and
another emergency alert on the phone - this time 
it was a tornado warning!

We were very glad to get to a motel room.
The next morning the sun was shining and
we started the day by 
"standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona"!

We drove through Sedona and camped at 
Dead Horse Canyon State Park just south of Sedona.

The next day we had breakfast in Cottonwood, stopped 
at the Tuzigoot NM, and then drove to the White
Spur CG near Prescott, AZ


Our campsite at White Spur Campground
   After a couple of days exploring Prescott we drove to 
Wickenburg for the annual Fly-in and Classic Car Show

There's a wonderful Western Museum in Wickenburg
and a great little restaurant
Driving from Wickenburg to Drew's house in Gold Canyon
 We stayed at Drew's for a few days re-grouping 
and doing our last USA shop before heading to San Carlos. 
Brad, Drew, Winifred, Fiona and Jane
Marcos and Nikita (cats) stayed home
One day Brad and Drew took us for a drive part way up 
Aztec Peak (great views) 
and to lunch at a yummy Mexican restaurant in Globe - a fun day!