Once we arrived in New Mexico we were reminded of how barren and parched it can be. Poor Stella needed to do her business on sand or gravel since the presence of grass was practically nonexistent. We enjoyed a trip over to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque while we were in Rio Rancho. We learned about the history of the Pueblo Indians and followed that with a visit to the ruins of one of the pueblos at the Coronado State Monument. It was a small site and just added to the excitement that we had ahead of us over the next couple of days when we planned to head out on the Jemez Mountain Trail for more pueblos and great sights. Unfortunately, that night, one of my teeth broke. Fortunately, I was able to find a dentist that would see me the next day and they did the only thing they could do which was to extract the tooth. Because it was abscessed, they weren’t able to put in any stitches causing my activities to be restricted for a few days as it healed. This meant that we sat around doing very little for a couple of days. We decided that we’ll just have to return and visit the area another time. Our next stop took us to Holbrook, Arizona where we spent 3 nights. While there we had a great time exploring the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Park. We traveled over 30 miles of the park by car and hiked over 6 miles of wilderness trails that 200 million years ago were part of a forest and swamp where prehistoric creatures roamed. We were able to walk among those exact same trees, now petrified into a form of rock so hard that it takes a diamond saw to cut through one. We saw petroglyphs carved into stone over a thousand years ago by people with no written language and we saw the ruins of homes they used to live in. The area was absolutely beautiful and we had gorgeous weather to make it even better. Once we left Holbrook for our Grand Canyon visit, we made a pit stop at Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona along the way. This is noted as the largest and best preserved meteor crater in the country. It was quite a sight to look across this 1 mile hole in the ground and comprehend that it was created in 10 seconds. It turned out to be a great stop. After this visit, we continued along and arrived at our campground inside Grand Canyon National Park. We were a bit delayed as we got close to our site in order to let the herd of elk cross in front of us. It was quite a sight. Later, while Claudia was walking Stella, they happened upon another elk, only a few feet away who really never gave either Stella or Claudia any notice. It turned out, that wouldn’t be the last of the elk we would see. We started our visit at the south rim of the Grand Canyon with a trip to the visitor center and a nice 2 mile hike along the rim. Here, we were able to enjoy our first views of this majestic wonder. Our next day was mostly cloudy and we had some heavy rain at times so we hopped in the car and headed east to the Desert View area about 20 miles away. Along the way we stopped at many overlooks, some while the sun was out and others while it rained. Finally, on the following day the weather looked great so we headed out early for a hike along the Bright Angel Trail. We hiked over 2 miles down into the canyon and then another 2 miles back up. It was quite the workout but we both did great and the views were worth the hike. On our last day we had beautiful weather with a cloudless sky and bright sunshine. We jumped on the bus early and headed to the western side of the rim. The busses are the only way to see this part of the park and you can get off and on at various scenic spots. We stopped to enjoy at least 8 different viewing areas along the route where we spent lots of time enjoying the beautiful views and hiking along the rim. Once we made it to Hermit’s Rest, the final stop along the rim, we found a picnic table overlooking the canyon and enjoyed a picnic lunch. It was a perfect way to end our visit.
Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.