Day 16

11 Jun

As Willie says, “On the road again.” We left Flagstaff and stopped in Winslow to see the Homolovi Ruins, home of ancestors of the Hopi Indians. It is startling to me how many different peoples decided to live in this high, harsh and dry environment. This area averages only fifteen inches of rain annually. One of the ruins at Homolovi is very large, estimated to have originally had over 1200 rooms.

We met the ranger at the visitors center, Gwen Setalla. She turned out to be a well-known Hopi potter, as is her husband. They make various objects from native clay, paint traditional decorations on them and fire them in a pit. The fire is made from sheep dung. Both Gwen and her husband’s work on display at the visitor’s center was striking. We bought a small piece to add to our tiny collection of folk, Native American and outsider art. If you would like to read more about Gwen and her work, here’s a link: http://www.pueblopotteryme.com/hopi5.htm.

Gwen holding our pottery

From Homolovi, we went to Holbrook, Arizona, to visit both the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert National Parks. Jill, our irritable but patient GPS voice, kept telling us to drive on the Petra-feed Forest Road.

To take this side trip we had to drive through Holbrook. We did get to see the Wigwam Motel and Dinosaur Rock Shop, both stops on old Route 66. Then it was twenty miles out from Holbrook to the entrance to the Petrified Forest followed by twenty-four more miles on the Petra-feed Road and finally back to the Interstate.

These National Parks are magnificent places, but the trip took us three hours, and we could have spent all day.

Petra-feed Forest (2 photos)

Painted Desert (2 photos)

Painted Desert Inn, now Visitor’s Center

Finally we hit the Interstate and drove two hundred more miles to Albuquerque. Amarillo by tomorrow evening.

I need to add a couple of comments about Jill, our GPS navigator. She is very patient, but sometimes seems a bit grumpy when she repeats, “Recalculating” two or three times. She has never just stopped calculating and said, “You’re on your own, Buster,” but a couple of times, in a sort of desperation, she has exclaimed, “Drive to highlighted route.“ In the quiet that follows, as we try to figure our where the highlighted route might be, I often wonder if Jill is having a drink, or wondering, “How did I get stuck with these bozos?”

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