Petrified Forest
Rainbow Forest Museum
Painted Desert
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Santa Rosa, New Mexico

April 26th

Petrified Forest (Arizona) entrance welcome sign.

Sissy trying to figure out how petrified wood was created.

Painted Desert (Arizona) view.

Another Painted Desert view.

Sand storm going through Albuquerque, New Mexico. Can you see the mountains in the background? We couldn't either. The wind was blowing about 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph.

As we traveled east, our thoughts and prayers were with Sissy's sister back home. Sissy checked in with her mother to get an update, but there wasn't much we could do now except for head east and try to keep our minds occupied. We elected to stop at the largest meteor crater in North America, and what a mistake that was. Not only was the wind picking up, but the privately owned area was extremely expensive. They wanted $12 each just to go see the big hole. Not!

When I say the wind was picking up, it was blowing from 20-40 mph, with gusts to 60 mph. The blasts were from the south which meant the trailer was very hard to keep in the lane. Heck, the truck AND trailer were hard to control. The truckers were even complaining about it. Added to the wind was the sand from the desert! Homer was taking a beating.

After looking at the map and discovering we were close to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, we decided to go there instead. Besides, these were National Parks and we were sure to save some money with our National Park Pass. Sure enough; we saved another $25 entrance fee and got in free.

John trying to explain to Sissy how petrified wood was created.

We thought the drive off of I40 was a long way, and it was, but we were back on I40 again after driving through the parks. Did I say driving through the parks? Well, it was more like drive a little, stop for picks, drive a little more and then stop for pics again. We ended up taking over 100 pics because of the varying scenery throughout. The slight detour was well worth the effort even though the wind and sand storms were everywhere!

Speaking of sand storms, we'd never been in anything like that. When we reached Albuquerque, the wind was blowing so hard and the sand was so thick, we couldn't even see the mountains! Looking down residential streets as we drove through town, we could see sand drifts building up and sand covered houses and cars everywhere. We had to get out of this stuff!

The red mountains just east of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

While in the mountains, the sand stopped but the wind was still kicking. We opted to hunt for a place to stay and finally decided on Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The KOA there was just off the highway and the town was nestled between two hills. Unhooking took no time because we were both hungry. Deciding to not unhook the trailer, John took the bike out and we rode down the hill to a pretty neat little restaurant (in a converted old bank).

After dinner, it was dark and time to head back. Problem! The taillight on the bike was out and so was the brake light. Oh well, we had to get back to the campground and it was only a short distance. After waiting for all oncoming traffic to pass, we headed back up the hill. And there it was; a marked (with no outside emergency lights) police vehicle waiting to pull out of a parking lot! You guessed it, we got stopped. Thoughts of Fort Rucker, Alabama rushed through John's head. Why? Because we were all dressed up in our Harley garb, there had just been a biker shooting in Laughlin, Nevada (3 dead and 11 wounded) and we were from out of town. And then another police car pulled up; felony stop was surely next.

The Continental Divide sign.

To our surprise, the officer checked John's driver's license and told him he would not issue a summons. He would rather, follow us to the campground (not 100 yards away) so nobody would run into the back of us. Wow! We thanked the officer and headed back to the campground for the night.

Because of the long and taxing drive, we hit the sack after hooking up the electric, water and sewer to the trailer. We decided to get a late start in the morning after doing laundry at the campground. That night, the wind blew so hard we thought the trailer was going to tip over. If it weren't still connected to the truck it probably would have. Well, we thought so anyway.

Homer waving his hands at us as we drove through the wind storm. Hey mom and pop, can I ride inside with you? Notice he lost his hat when he was in Kingman, Arizona.

Next morning, it was up by 0700 to get laundry started. Sissy took the clothes and began laundry before taking her shower in the campground showers. Undressed and in the stall, she discovered the hot water wasn't working. She had already put her dirty clothes in the washer, so she had to put her clean ones on. Then it was into the store for some shopping. She mentioned the lack of hot water, and the clerk told her the faucets were reversed. She went back to the shower, got undressed and took her shower only to discover she forgot the towel. Have you ever dried off with paper towels before? Hah, hah. Sissy was not having a good day.

John, on the other hand, put the bike into the trailer, straightened up and took his shower in the trailer with no problems. The wind was still blowing, so we headed out eastbound as soon as the laundry was done. We decided in advance that we weren't going to drive as far this day as the day before.

John & Sissy EXCLUSIVE RATINGS: (1 bad - good 10)

  • Campground - 8
  • People - 9
  • Roads - 9
  • Scenery - 10
  • Traffic - 8
  • Things to Do - 7
  • Weather - 5

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