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Published: August 15th 2012
We were happy to be leaving Monument Valley as the tourists were beginning to roll in thick and fast.
After a quick lunch at ‘Route 66’ café we continued the journey to Mesa Verde National Park.
Mesa Verde is a preserved site where the Pueblo people made their home for more than 750 years thousands of years ago. There are 600 cliff dwellings all built into the Cliffside. It is thought that the people built their homes in the cliff face for safety from predators.
From here we drove to Gallup in New Mexico. There was nothing much there but a string of motels and fast food joints but was a convenient overnight's stopover.
Next morning we were on the road again bright and early making our way to The petrified forest. As usual, a small distance on the map turns out to be a few hours of driving.
We finally arrived at the National Park. On entering the park, before reaching the forest we needed to drive through the painted dessert, it was amazing lots of different coloured sand layered one on top of the other in striking patterns, mow I understand why it’s called
the ‘Painted dessert’. After a stroll through the swirling rock formations we drove on to the painted forest. I was expecting to see a few blocks of rock with signs claiming it was once a tree but there was no mistaking here these looked exactly like trees lying on the floor and cut into logs. Apparently this was all due to weathering. In one place we saw a fallen log that had formed a bridge. Years earlier the ‘bridge’ had been reinforced with concrete to preserve and prevent it from cracking and giving way.
From here we made our way to Kingman, located a motel with a pool and sizzled as we plunged our hot bodies into the cool water.
The following morning found us setting off on the long journey back to Santa Barbara. Ten hours later we arrived back at Sharon’s exceedingly travel weary but happy to have explored the ‘wild west'.
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