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National Parks - 2012 Trip - Day 11

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Start Location: Gallup, NM
Ending Location: Sedona, AZ
Miles Today: 258
Trip Miles: 3592
States Visited: 7
National Parks: 6
National Monuments: 2
Low Temp: 60.5° F
High Temp: 108.3° F
Min Elevation: 4241'
Max Elevation: 7014'

Route Map:


We left Gallup this morning and headed west for Arizona.  It was 60 degrees when we left and it felt great.  Unfortunately it only lasted a short time.

After about 80 miles we arrived at Petrified Forest National Park.  As I mentioned before, we have visited this park before but it was on the way - only a few hundred feet from the I-40 exit - and it's worth a return trip.  While the petrified wood is interesting, the real star here is the Painted Desert which is part of the same park.  The colors and formations are stunning.  I can see where a dedicated photographer could spend days here capturing the different colors and hues in varying lighting conditions.  Linda kept busy taking pictures from her seat on the back of the bike.  The ride through the park is 28 miles and spits you out about 20 miles south of I-40.

Once back on I-40 we stopped at a rest area for lunch.  It was an amazing setting in a pile of huge red rocks and was probably the most amazing rest area we had ever seen.

In another 40 miles we hit Flagstaff and turned south on route 89A.  We discovered this ride on our 4 Corners Tour and it's a beautiful ride.  Lots of tight curves and amazing views.  The only negative is that you have to pay so much attention to the road that it's hard to appreciate the scenery.  After 30 miles we arrived in Sedona.  This is a beautiful town set in the middle of incredible mountains and views.  It's an artists community and it's full of galleries and shops.  We spent some time cruising the shops and then ate dinner in town before heading back to our room for the night.

We have decided to modify our plans a little.  We're going to skip Las Vegas this trip since a one night stopover doesnt really do it justice - and I'm getting tired.  Instead we are planning to head north on route 89 and end up at Bryce Canyon National Park sometime tomorrow afternoon.  If we get there early enough, we'll hit the park in the afternoon.