HWY 40 to New Mexico

Readers of this blog may have noticed a hiatus in this series.  I will get to the reason for that in a minute, but first, some of the experiences along Hwy 40 from Arizona to New Mexico and along the old Route 66.

50,000 years ago a large meteor hit what is now the desert in Arizona.  It left a hole that can be seen from space, the way we see the craters on the moon.  My brain turns to jelly when confronted with lists of numbers, but in case you can deal, here are some specs:
4000 ft. diameter,
570 ft deep,surrounded by a rim of moved earth that rises 150 ft above the surrounding plane.
The nickel-iron meteorite was about 54 yards across,
speed of impact about 28,600 miles per second.

It’s big.  And little has changed since its impact.

Meteor Crater, Arizona
Too big to fit into my camera

Now, I know that some of you think that Oola didn’t really accompany me on this journey.  Some of you even think I am just making her up!  Well, here is proof positive that Oola was at the Meteor Crater, (even if the light source was a little wonkey).

Oola looks down into the meteor crater
Oola looks down into the crater

The next stop was not far away, by Southwestern standards.  The Petrified Forest is a National Park protecting the Painted Desert, the remains of forestland that once existed here, petroglyphs, and architecture ancient and modern, and more.  It would take more time than we had to see it all.  Here are a few shots.

Twister in the Painted Desert
Twister in the Painted Desert

A dust devil in the Painted Desert.  I was already thinking on how to not get transported to The Emerald City from Northern Texas.  I did intersect one of these on Hwy 40 a while after this.  It was a moving experience!

petrified tree
petrified tree

These trees fell over into water and were protected by silt.  The silica in the water gradually replaced the wood tissue and the result was these rainbow hued samples of petrified wood.  They are gradually revealing themselves through the process of erosion in the layers that hold them.

ccross section of petrified wood
cross section of petrified wood
Mountain Lion petroglyph
Mountain Lion petroglyph

Many petroglyphs in this area.  Especially great for rock art enthusiasts.  This mountain lion is my favorite petroglyph of all times.  It was found in this area and is now displayed in…

Painted Desert Inn
The Painted Desert Inn

a preserved remnant of the Route 66 era.

But it was time to move on to visit my friend Lana Bobele in New Mexico.

Lana tends a magic garden which has a huge cottonwood tree at one end.  One can escape the heat, for it is immediately 10 degrees cooler under this tree.  Lana offered me a room, but I was lucky enough to pitch tent in her garden and enjoy the stars and smells and sounds of a garden next to an acequia after a thunderstorm in the desert.  Oola found two tiny frogs under the tent the second morning.

Lana protects many animal friends.  Here is a drawing of just two of them.

Lana's dogs
Lana’s dogs

Lana and Oola and I had a wonderful time together until I got a phone call telling me that Costco had sold me some frozen berries that were tainted with Hepatitis A.  And yes, I had made a smoothie with them before leaving on this trip.

So the short end of this story is a trip to the New Mexico Public Health center where I became a statistic, and where I couldn’t get immunized because date of ingestion couldn’t be established.  And, not wanting to take any risk of infecting the wedding party in Texas, or more friends, I turned around and drove home.

But on the way back, we did stop at the Continental Divide, and took a yet another picture of Oola.

Oola astride the Continental Divide
Oola astride the Continental Divide

Our love to you all!