Hank and Marilyn Coast to Coast 2017 travel blog


We've had a busy week. Not just traveling but baseball wild card games to watch and Marilyn did something to her back that made lying down painful (she's fine now) which kept us from writing this blog. We're planning on bringing it up to date today. WARNING: This blog is not in day order, rather an overview of our experiences.

This has been a week of national parks and continuing our journey on Route 66. Parks include Walnut Canyon, El Morro, and El Malpais, which shared the story of the Ancestral Puebloans. We also visited Petroglyph National Monument which protects and holds over 20,000 rock etchings done by the Ancestral Puebloans, Spaniards, pioneers and modern graphiti artists. This is an interesting place. You could see the petroglyphs from the parking lot, no need to leave your car but the rocks beckon you to come and explore. And this park is across from a neighborhood in Albuquerque. Didn't have to travel 25 miles off the known road to get there. We also visited Pecos National Historic Site in New Mexico. Did you know the Civil War was also fought in the South West? We didn't. Federal victories over the Confederates helped save the Union. More to discover when we return from our journey.

On Route 66 we've traveled through 4 of the 8 states - California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Getting ahead of this blog by saying we're entering Oklahoma today. (Kansas, Missouri and Illinois are the last 3.) We've seen twin arrows planted in the ground, the Meteor Crater featured in the movie STAR MAN and the related Geodesic Dome, The giant Jack Rabbit sign, "Here it is", with a photo op of Hank sitting on the back of a very large jack rabbit, the Geronimo gift shop that has it's very own exit off of 66, an abandoned bridge and narrow tunnels and stretches of road that are posted as impassable if there is water on the road. We used the tunnel and the dirt roads when they were wet but not water covered. The Subaru maintained a steady course and the end result was a muddy car. Out here they call that "muddin'". We arrived at our motel and Hank went to the car wash. We drove through Joseph City, named for LDS founder Joseph Smith and is the oldest Mormon city in Arizona. 66 is called the Frontage Road for US 40. Quite something to be doing 55 next to a road that has a 75 mph limit. Yesterday was our first day of rain. Very little driving on 66 because of flooding so we drove I-40 and gazed longingly at 66.

We've graced the following towns with our presence overnight: Flagstaff, Holbrook, Chambers, Grants (all in AZ), Santa Fe, and Tucumcari, NM and last night in Shamrock, TX. The motels in Tucumcari and Shamrock were 66 era motels. Nicely remodeled but still with the "aura" of that era. It's what we live for. We stopped in Gallup and Romeroville, both in NM, to stretch and have lunch. High winds followed us this week. I kept singing the song from OKLAHOMA about the winds come sweeping down the plains.

Last Sunday we were Holbrook, AZ. We had planned to worship at the Methodist Church in town but we noticed a tiny church next door and went to investigate. Episcopal. We went there instead because Marilyn is more familiar with the Episcopal form of worship and Hank thought it a good way to remember our friend, Joan. Twelve people worshiped there that morning, including us. Having no full time pastor the service was conducted by lay leadership. A nice service (Hank mentioned it was World Wide Communion Sunday and they changed the first hymn to reflect that) and the people were very friendly. The lay leader is a road engineer for the state and when Hank told him about the road work holding us up for 40 minutes the other day, he responded by telling us the road was literally falling off the mountain! Haven't seen that before. We stayed for refreshments and then headed to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Parks.

There are no words or pictures that can truly describe these 2 parks that are right next to the other. The light changes constantly, thus changing what your eye sees. At the Petrified Forest, the talk is about how little things have changed over the years. Well, the whole logs are too heavy to move and to dense to cut. We took a picture of Hank standing next to a tree that Albert Einstein stood next to almost 80 years ago and nothing has moved. And the colors in the Painted Desert - red, yellow, blue, green - are dazzling after driving through a landscape of tan, brown and dark green. We rounded a curve and were greeted with mounds of layered colors. Breathtaking.

Albuquerque is a city where Route 66 goes directly through it. Unfortunately, the new mayor has a pet project of a new transit line that is currently being built on old 66. The road is being transformed into a transit line with bus stops in the center of the road and many of the abandoned motels and restaurants along the route are in danger of being demolished for newer businesses. That's progress, some would say, but we're glad we got to travel this section of the road before it disappeared.

Whew. A lot to read. A lot to tell you. Hope you were able to keep up and understand. That's what comes from trying to catch up. Let this be a lesson for us. Talk to you soon. Peace and out.

PS - Sorry there are no photos with this post. You will need to invite us to your place. So far we have taken 5500+ digital photos.



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