Monday, August 05, 2002

Road Trip USA - Day 13: Albuquerque, NM to Grand Canyon, AZ

Date: 5 Aug 2002 Day #: 13 Miles Today: 459
Start: Albuquerque, NM End: Grand Canyon, AZ
States Today: New Mexico, Arizona
Total Mileage: 3,420 Total # States Visited: 16
Points of Interest: Painted Desert, Grand Canyon


It was at this point that I deviated from my original plan, so you might notice that the map style has changed, Mental note: don't be so rigid in your journal preparations that you have to scratch out a bunch of stuff when plans change.

I woke up with the sun and was ready to roll at 0700 this Monday morning. After provisioning at the local Kwikie-mart, I said my goodbyes at 0800. While I’d like to say that the drive was like something envisioned by Georgia O’Keefe, there was a little more roadkill than I remember from her paintings. I saw dead coyotes at 9:17, 9:24, 9:42 am and 1:23pm. The dogs ended up being luckier, as there was one still alive and unharmed (but on the median) at 9:41 but I did pass a dead one at 10:07. The foxes had the best luck, with two live ones around a quarter-past 10.

I crossed the continental divide, altitude 7,275ft at 9:49am. I also passed the roadkill equivalent at 10:03, an unidentifiable mass of flesh with a distinct tire mark section missing out of the middle. It was the kind of thing that a mouse version of The Dukes of Hazzard would have tried to jump in a mouse sized cars, a ramp on one side that was quite a distance from the ramp on the other side of the divide. If you go this route, mile marker 77 on I-40 is straight and flat and then goes straight up a long hill. It was here that I discovered that my car has a speed governor installed, ad many of those extra numbers on the speedometer are just for show, which was disappointing because Metallica’s “One” kinda deserves more than my car could deliver. I had intended to visit the Mesa Verde cave dwellings, only to find out that the site was closed due to fires in the area.

Painted Desert
I entered Arizona at 10:26 and was at the Painted Desert by 11:30, then back on the road by noon.
Map of Petrified Forest NP / Painted Desert

Painted Desert Panorama 1
Painted Desert Panorama 2
Since I was taking it easy today, I stopped for lunch in Winslow, Arizona to stand on a corner. As advertised, not one but three girls in Ford trucks slowed down to get a look at me.  Probably wondering if I was going to pull out of my parking sport or going to stay there.
Yep. Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
A not-so-long-way from Sante Fe
When meeting an on-coming semi, right of way means little.
I also visited the Meteor site…they wanted $11 to see a hole in the ground. That’s not gonna happen. As I was leaving, I overheard someone say “Free is one thing.”

Grand Canyon
I can tell I’m getting into a different environment because the roadkill species are changing. I saw a dead marmot at 2:30 and a real live woodchuck at 2:53. I should point out that Arizona has no Daylight Savings Time, so I arrived at the Grand Canyon campground at 4pm Albuquerque time, 3pm Arizona time. I pitched camp and was on my way to the canyon at 3:30pm.
Welcome to Grand Canyon National Park

Map of Grand Canyon Village
I walked a long ridge trail, bought a turquoise coyote from the shop on the rim of the Grand Canyon. I paid too much, but I like it and think it’s pretty cool. As the legend goes, “Coyote shook the sky blanket and scattered the stars.”
My campsite
The Stars & Stripes waving over the Grand Canyon
Photos don't capture the experience.
No time to follow the trail.
My camera battery light warning came on, so I tried to charge it at an outlet at Wendy’s in the nearby town during dinner. I charged it for an hour, but the green light never came on. I returned to the campsite to plan for tomorrow. It’s so dry here that I’m constantly thirsty, luckily I have lots of water.
 
Read more about my Great American Road Trip adventure.

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