September 11, 2013 – Sedona, AZ to Gallup, NM – Painted Desert

First thing this morning, we checked the stream running behind our campground which continued to overflow its banks

Although not to the extent that it was creating local flooding as was happening south of Sedona in the Phoenix area.  We also finally took the time to look at the many birdhouses which are scattered throughout the campground.

 and even a bat house

Back on I-17 heading north to Flagstaff, the road climbed steadily from 3,800’ to over 7,000’

Along the way, evidence of the incredible rains the area has been receiving was evident in many of the fields we passed

as intermittent rain and fog were our constant companions.  Nearing Flagstaff, the rain abated but the clouds veiled the taller of the San Francisco peaks.

Turning east on I-40, we lost elevation and entered a more arid area where the forests of Sedona and Sedona gave way to flat plains and sparse vegetation.

We felt sorry for the fellow RVer who had a flat tire just a mile short of a gas station at the Meteor Crater exit.

Paralleling us for the entire day were freight trains traveling both east and west … some more than a mile long.

Of course, crumbling homes and farm buildings were not far from the Interstate

And nonsequitors, such as an abandoned school bus on a hilltop appeared randomly.

Nearing the Painted Desert, we began to get our first views of the colorful formations for which the National Park is famous.

After lunch at the Visitor’s Center, we drove through the northern section of the Painted Desert National Park

Before proceeding, however, we were reminded of the importance of the day, as all of the flags were all flying at half-staff in memory of those people who lost their lives on 9-11-2001.

We’d driven through its entirety when traveling west last fall but, unfortunately, I managed to delete all the pictures I took before saving them to my computer.  It’s a truly spectacular place, made even more colorful with the green vegetation made possible by the recent rains. 

The colors are due to ancient environmental conditions in which the sediments were originally deposited as well as the type of minerals present in the rocks.  Wind and running water cut through these features from the Chinle Formation deposited over 200 million years ago when this area was a vast inland sea


Continuing on, we passed through more of the Navajo Reservations

We saw several of these octagonal building but have not been able to discover their significance

and finally made it to

where the rock formations were noticeably different from those we’d been seeing in Arizona.

Tonight we’re settled in at the USA RV Park ion Gallup, NM … located ½ mile from the railroad tracks and on the departure path of a local airport.

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