road trip recap

by Stacy

The morning of Sunday, August 30th, I left Minneapolis to drive across a significant swath of America en route to San Diego, California. We drove through Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona in between.

Things I learned:

  • Wendy’s inexplicably puts bacon bits on the lettuce of their Caesar salads. No, it cannot be “made special” without, and yes, you are rude for asking. Geez.
  • Many hotel restaurants are bad, but most are better than the one where we had dinner in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Having a fever in the desert is really confusing. Hot? Cold? Both? What?
  • Garden of the Gods is gorgeous and worth visiting.
  • A car stuffed full of household goods and two cats does not look suspicious to the border patrol, at least not when driven by us.
  • The front office manager at the Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix is really nice. So is the hotel!
  • If you leave before 6:00am, you can make it from Phoenix to San Diego before noon!

In addition to Garden of the Gods, we also made a detour through Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It was quite lovely, but unfortunately situated about 3 hours away from both our origin and destination. We got a late start that morning due to a fever I came down with, so I wasn’t exactly at 100% either. Nonetheless, we got some good shots and I didn’t die (major plus for me!).

We started at the north end and worked our way south. The first sight is the Painted Desert, so called because it looks like this:

the painted desert, petrified forest national park

the painted desert, petrified forest national park

the painted desert, petrified forest national park

Someone who had actually read the brochure (or even looked at the website) could probably tell you what the striations of the rock mean geologically. I’ll summarize by saying the colors are caused by different minerals that make the rocks prettier.

But what we were really there for was wood. Petrified wood.

the painted desert, petrified forest national park

Luckily, it’s just laying about the place down the road from the Painted Desert. There are some lovely features in between the two, but the horrible terrible midday light made it unworthy of uploading. This section is called the Crystal Forest due to much of the wood becoming crystal and amethyst. Ronnie got better photos as she actually walked up to the petrified wood instead of trying not to die in the car. We all have priorities.

So thanks to Ronnie for driving to Arizona and apologies for catching the plague.

my sweetie

Totally worth driving 2500 miles for.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Irene September 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm

That first photo of the “painted desert” is amazing – what a glorious, awe inspiring place!


stacy September 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Thank you! We were both struck by how vast the desert seemed. Driving so far really gave an interesting perspective on changing landscapes. If only we hadn’t been there in the heat of the day!


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