Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tales of the new citizens of Springerville April 15-18

April 15,16,17,18. We thought we were pretty smart, wintering in Florida, avoiding snow and sleet and wind and freezing rain. Well Mother Nature finally caught us in Springerville Arizona, and nailed us with all we've been trying to avoid. On Monday, the 15th, we decided to lay low because of winds that were supposed to build throughout the day. They started Sunday and blew all Sunday night into Monday, topping out at 68 mph. We kept busy by touring a museum in town, exploring the city historical park, which consisted of old buildings and farm tools, and walking a nature trail of about two miles. The only wildlife we saw was three garter snakes, a few beaver dams, and a longhorn sheep carcass, which I found while walking on animal paths, not the designated people trail. (Which is something I frequently like to do.)

The Madonna of the Trail in Springerville, AZ - We have now seen 3 of these, the other 2 are in Wheeling WV and Bentleyville PA!

About the Madonna of the Trail
John Wayne mural on wall of restaurant
Of course Mike would take a picture of an outhouse!
Grant Street Lawn never had one of these!

Old Becker granary from Springerville earlier days

Two antiques and a trash can!
Beaver dam on the Little Colorado River

Another beaver dam

Big Horn Sheep skeleton without the horns

Nothing is more boring than a beaten trail. I like to be a trailblazer, which leads me to cool things not seen by most others.
The next day dawned to steady 40-50 mph winds with a gust topping out at 64. We got up in the middle of the night and put in the slides on the RV, so the new slide toppers didn't tear, and rattle so loud we couldn't sleep. The temps were in the low 70's for the last two days, but the wind was biting and cold. We went out and drove around town, just to get out of the RV, and we discovered a gem that only a sport lover or P E teacher would love as much as we did. There was a domed facility in town that looked like a huge silver flying saucer landed in the middle of this ranch town. It turned out to be the school district's athletic facility. We walked in and saw a spectacular indoor facility with a high school PE class in session. As we were wandering around, we met the building supervisor and promoter. They told us that Tucson Electric Co.built it for the district, which uses it and maintains it. It has an eight lane, 300 meter track, a weight room, six basketball courts, with one removable wooden floor, and a portable Field Turf football field where they play all their home football games, as well as tons of multi purpose rooms and other amenities. Wow! Pam wanted to come out of retirement to teach there! Or not.

Round Valley SD facility

Inside the facility - that's a PE class way down there

They are the elks, and there are lots of them hanging around with names of the hunters who bagged them!

The wind was sustained for 48 hours now, and it was supposed to end Tuesday night with the dropping of temperature to go well below freezing. When we got up Wednesday morning, it was the coldest temperatures we had awakened to since March, 2012, over a year ago. We were determined to go to the Petrified Forest National Park, which is an outdoor, trail walking, type of a place. We broke out all the skiing clothes, gloves, and hats, and drove 71 miles into the rain, freezing rain, fog, and snow to the park.

On our way to the Petrified Forest!

Yes, that's snow beating on the window!

Low hanging clouds!

By the time we got there, the sun may have thought about coming out, but the wind was back up in the 20-40 mph range. We braved it and walked every damn trail, and got out of the Jeep at every pull over. The winter weather was not going to stop us. But okay, our winter needed to be over, NOW.

You are now going to see a gazillion pictures from the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert!
Gift shop is made of petrified wood

Big logs of petrified wood for sale

Four old fossils!  HA HA!

The start of alot of petrified wood!

The clouds were low for awhile

Large petrified log

Petrified wood pueblo

Pueblos built out of petrified wood

Peeking out from the pueblo

This is a huge petrified log

Petrified wood

This is a "wash" - looks like a dry river bed to me!

Geodes in the gift shop

Petrified wood and pretty white flowers

Out on a ledge

"Bridge" created by a petrified log - now supported by cement

Looking down on formations

How cool is this?!!!

"The tepees"

"The tepees"

Petroglyphs - also know as rock carvings


Old car at marker that shows where Route 66 used to be located

On route 66 - the other side is a bench

Panoramic view of painted desert

Painted desert

Painted desert

Painted desert

Painted desert - yes it was COLD!

Painted desert

Painted Desert Inn - no longer an inn of course, but a historical place.

Unfortunately, it went down to 19 degrees, Wednesday night, and our water hose to the RV froze solid. I decided I did not want to ride into a 20 mph headwind when the high was supposed to be in the forties, so we stayed another day.
Thursday, the 18th, we went on a tour of the Casa Malpais (house of badlands.) It was a pueblo settlement from the 1200's (just like the cliff dwellers, age wise ), that was occupied by later clans, including the Zuni and Hopi Indians. The tour lasted about 2 hours, and the tour guide was outstanding. Another couple went with us, two Australians touring the country in a 25 ft motor home. And, the wind blew steady and cold for our entire tour on the hillside. Tomorrow is another day, and after a forecasted low of 16 tonight, and a warmer high of 64, I may give it a go.
Looking down on all of the rooms

Petroglyphs at the Casa Malpais - summer solstice marker

One of the rooms of the pueblo at Casa Malpais

Pottery shards that they leave out for us to touch

The Kiva - or spiritual room

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