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October 27, 2023

Post Eclipse - the Road Home

I fully expected the large amount of eclipse traffic to put a strain on the limited resources of Bluff, Monument Valley and Kayenta.  With that in mind our return did not include Mexican Hat and Tuba City, but Mexican Water and Canyon de Chelly.

Canyon de Chelly is not as impressive as the Grand Canyon, but never a disappointing stop.

The canyon was strutting a green layer during this visit. 

Spider Rock

There are working farms on the canyon floor.

A beautiful place to try to make a living

We hiked the trail to the White House on our last visit.  Both the overlook and trail were closed this visit.

The following morning we entered the east side of the Petrified Forest National Park.

Colorful mounds of the Painted Desert.

Lots of ‘glyphs at Newspaper Rock, but the shadows made them hard to photograph.

Is that a shore bird catching a frog, or a stork delivering a baby?

A large Kiva

Fran catching some shade at one of the old  hotels.

A petrified log with a concrete support over a seasonal creek.

There are lots and lots of petrified wood and logs on the western section of the park.


From the Petrified Forest we continued west to Winslow, AZ.

The Eagles song ‘Take it Easy’ created instant fame for ‘Standin on the Corner in Winslow Arizona’.


The first time we stopped here this was a ‘Flatbed Ford’, with a mannequin in the driver’s seat.  The 'stake bed' must have been added for safety reasons.


I read Jodee and Bill’s blog ‘On the Road Abode’.  It was from Jodee that I learned the Fred Harvey Hotel La Posada was in Winslow and had been fully restored.

Built in 1930, La Posada is the last of the great Fred Harvey hotels built along the Santa Fe Railway.  La Posada means a place to rest, or resting place in Spanish.  It is defiantly that.

We wandered the halls for a bit

and the gift shop, before continuing our homeward journey.

Our last night on the road found us in Quartzite and Silly Al’s Pizza for dinner.

We ordered a large half Al’s Combo and half Vegetarian.

Although we’ve been to Quartzite before, this was our first time to dine at Silly Al’s.  Our opinion is the roasted cashews on the vegetarian are unnecessary and do not add anything.  The crust is very good.  The ingredients on the combo also were very good.  But the cheese … What’s with the cheese ??? No matter how long we chewed on it, it only took the texture of soft bubble gum.  I doubt that we’ll be there again, but if so, we’d order the pizza without cheese.

As we left in the morning we stopped and paid respects to Hi Jolly

The Army’s first 
camel wrangler.

And Celia.  To me her Rainbow Garden also represents the strength of community and the power of a young girl to bring it together.

Fran did select an Inspirational rock which will remain in our travels.

It’s my birthday! and brother Marty treated us to lunch in Old Town.  He and Juanita will share a medium margarita.

While looking over the menu.  

Fran and I each had the small house margarita with lunch.

The official Dia de los Muertos is November 2nd.  It is celebrated differently throughout various parts of Mexico.  In Old Town the decorations go up on October 1st and remain until at least November 3rd.

The female skeletons are called Catrina, while the male are called Catrin.

I did a full blog on the Day of the Dead last year.  Rather than repeat that info, you can find that blog HERE.  This year I’m looking only for a Barbie Catrina.   Surprising I only found this one.


On a sad note, the Royal Rooster has closed :(  Cory Rapp, head chef and owner, simply said ‘it s time for me to leave’.  We will continue our visits to Aquarius and wait to see who takes over the Royal Rooster.

Fran’s Jeep is going to have a couple tough weeks ahead, as Aj wants to learn to drive a stick shift.

Gotta love the burning smell of the new clutch ….

October 14, 2023

Annular Eclipse - Road trip

The Annular Solar Eclipse covered much of the western states.  There were certainly no lack of sites to view the event, and we chose Bluff UT.

We began our journey under the clear skies of Borrego Springs, where we spent the first night watching the Draconid Meteor Shower.

The waning moon passing Venus on the way to a rendezvous with the sun.

A quick stop in Desert Center where the operational Post Office seems to be in the only building still standing.  Next to the Post Office there was a plaque on this rock commemorating the where pre-paid health insurance was conceived.  Thus creating the Kiser Permanente legacy.  The rock is next to the now collapsed Contractors Hospital.

The plaque is now missing, but there is a replacement at Chiriaco Summit, where we’d just bought gas (not backing to take a picture of it).

We went north from Desert Center on Rice Road, where we stopped for a break at an old gas station repurposed as a shoe tree.


We had a nice site at Cattail Cove on the shore of Lake Havasu.

Of course we had to stop at the English Village.

And see the reassembled London Bridge

We continued our way north to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

We wandered along the Rim Trail enjoying the views.

We had a wonderful spot at Mather Campground for the night.

To continue north we need to exit the park’s east gate.  We made most of the view points along the way.  Mather Point is a popular stop, just a short walk from the Visitor’s Center.

What does this rock formation look like? 

Duck on a Rock

At the east end of the park is the Watchtower, a very popular stop.

With the awesome views of the canyon it’s easy to see why,


As we move on, we entered Monument Valley.


After a quick night at Goulding's Campground, I didn’t realize the morning sun is now on the wrong side of the formations. :(


Many of the cars pull over at Forest ‘Dump’ Hill for the epic shot from the center of the road.

A quick stop at Mexican Hat for yet another photo of it.

I thought Mexican Hat had a crowd of boondockers, but the entry to Valley of the Gods was totally choked!  We didn’t even try to go in.

We did stop for a look at the Sand Island Petroglyphs.  Many are hard to see, but my favorite is this man on horseback.

Horses were not part of the Native American lifestyle.

Most are hard to see.

We settled in at Cadillac Ranch.  They’ve added over a dozen large level gravel FHU pull-thru sites in the back.  With WiFi repeaters ... And a beautiful new laundry room.

And nearly the best showers

This is our 2nd stop at the 'Ranch'. And I’d stay here again just for a shower!!!

All 6 of us were together for a Friday evening BBQ dinner.

Fran, Jay, Juanita, Marty, Kami

And our annual wine-off.  The 2018 Aimee Cabernet was the easy choice,  followed by Monte Xanic from Baja's Guadalupe Valley - thanks to Marty who is my supplier.  The monks at New Clairvaux never disappoint, but then Aimee is their winemaker.

We all turned in early after a gorgeous sunset

Fran made her quiche and I made my hashbrowns for breakfast and then we all watched the main event

We were indeed awed as the sun completed encircling the moon.


We were indeed awed as the sun completed encircling the moon.

Turns out Cadillac Ranch also has great WiFi, so I'll catch up on the internet before we start the return trip in the morning.