Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 04/11 - 04/20 2008

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April 12 Saturday

Today was the last day of "work" this week, and it was another training day. We started off by meeting with Sue, finding out that all the work that Linda had struggled with for the non-online, on-line unit was something we didn't have to do. I had not completed it as you might recall from an earlier post, so Linda was definitely more perturbed at that revelation than I was. We also had our impromptu program outlines reviewed and approved with glowing plaudits, something which was definitely expected. With the meeting over, it was time to roam the Park and do what might best be called research, though I find the phrase, 'Learning by wandering around", more in line with what we did.

Before we get to far into our day I had better backtrack just a bit and mention something that happened earlier, breakfast. Somewhere out in the online world there must be at least one individual who looks forward to learning what magnificent meal I have prepared, and if there isn't one at this time, maybe someday there will be one, and he or she will have fun reading these old posts. With that in mind, breakfast was once again a small slice of melted low fat cheddar cheese on a Bob Evans sausage patty, on a banana pecan pancake, on a puffy egg, but as you can see, I learned my lesson from the other day and did not over microwave the pancakes today. That also might have been attributable to using quicker melting Mozzarella cheese, having used the last of the low fat cheddar a couple of nights ago.


After checking out a park vehicle, we started off driving the Park road and stopping at all the Painted Desert pullouts to read our information sheet, check out what was there, and also learn what the meaning of the names of the pullouts were. All the pullouts having native american names, all are Hopi words except for Chinde, which is Navajo. Noname on the other hand is neither Hopi nor Navajo, with its name meaning exactly what it says. We did spend some extra time at Chinde, first because it is the only spot in the northern section of the Park with picnic tables and we wanted to be able to accurate describe it to any visitors who asked about the facilities. Secondly, the wind was not blowing, this being only the second morning since we arrived that it had happened, so we took the opportunity to do some exploring as there is quite an area off to the the east where visitors can go off trail and discover other views of the Painted Desert.

We were also looking for a quicker way out into the Painted Desert from this part of the Park. Normally we would hike down the trail beside the Painted Desert Inn, then and follow Lithodendron Wash down this way, but what we wanted was a way of going over the edge near here and straight out into the Desert. Looking down we could see a possible route, which is over the rolling badlands directly below then out just to the right of the small hill beyond the wash. It is the saller one in the center of the photo, the larger one on the horizon being called Pilot Mesa, which was beyond where Linda desires to travel. The photo also shows sometimes, early in the day depending on which direction you are looking, the colors of the Painted Desert can either be vibrant or washed out, with today being the latter case.

Painted Desert

As we slowly made our way around the rim drive, we encountered something which is quite common, no other people at the lookouts. Even though each lookout offers something unique, the visitors generally only stop at the first one in each direction, then either at Kachina or Pintado, since both of those have a more panoramic view. It's what we have discovered over and over, almost everyone who visits a Park misses almost everything there, visiting only the "famous" sights, something we are just as guilty of ourselves. Except here at PEFO, but then again, we litterally have weeks to explore and yet still have seen very little of the Park

Finally we came to one of Linda's favorite places in the Park, Newspaper Rock, a large concentration of petroglyphs on the sides of several large sandstone blocks.


As you can see, there are literally hundreds of different designs which were pecked into the desert varnish on these boulders.


Newspaper Rock was the subject Linda had chosen for the impromptu talk we had submitted this morning, and with it fresh in her mind, the first visitors to arrive were treated to a far better experience than they were expecting. It turned out that not only were they interested in petroglyphs, but being new retirees and Rvers, they also wanted to learn about the various aspects of volunteering in the Parks. To say they left with far more information than they expected when they walked out to Newspaper Rock would be putting it mildly. It does seem like more people are inquiring about volunteering this year than than before, but something tells me it is the price of fuel more than any great change in the American mindset that is causing it.

Info woman

Since this was going to be our only chance to get a complete overview of the Park, our work schedule for the next month having us working at the north end of the Park during our stay, we continued on south, stopping first at Blue Mesa, then at the Rainbow Forest Museum. There we joined up with the Triassic Ranger Tour that Rita was giving. This was the tour I had given last year, and Linda had never been on one, so she was excited to learn something new. Later, after eating our lunch, we walked the mile or so out to Agate House, a shelter the ancestral puebloans had constructed from petrified wood. This is a reconstruction, but still, it is fascinating to look at and wonder what they did out here. As was the case at Newspaper Rock, we got the opportunity to talk to some of visitors, providing them with a better experience than had they just read the plaque.

Agate House

We ended the day by taking the Long Logs loop trail, finding that the trail was very aptly named as this long log demonstrates. I am at one end and Linda is at the other end.

Long Log

It was while walking at the far end of the trail that I saw one of those rocks that really isn't a rock, it is fossilized bone.


After putting it back where we found it, we walked away wondering how many people have walked by it and never realized what it was. I always have to chuckle at Linda's desire to touch many of the fossils we find, her reasoning being that most likely she is the fist living thing in hundreds of millions of years to touch it. Three years ago we would never have been able to dream our Life would be as filled with the wonder and awe we continually experience. The best part seems to be that the more we happen across, the more we happen across, if you get my meaning.

April 14 Monday

This was going to be our first day away from the Park since we arrived, combining a bit of touristing in Holbrook, with a stop at the Safeway Supermarket to replenish our supplies of fresh food. Since we didn't want to be away for the entire day, something that would seem to be the case if we left after lunch, we planned to leave as soon as we were ready. With that in mind, breakfast once again consisted of a small slice of melted Mozzarella cheese on a Bob Evans sausage patty, on scrambled eggs, on a banana pecan pancake. I even managed to have it along with a hot cup of coffee ready when Linda made her appearance, which makes me think I've got this morning routine down just about the way Linda likes it. The fact she was so eager to be off may also have been because she had one other very important item on her agenda for the day.

Beauty Salon

Even Linda had to admit that getting her hair cut at Our Hairitage Salon By Cynthia was a new experience for her, the reason being the location of the shop. Last week when she had been calling to make an appointment to get her hair cut, she ran into the usual "We're closed on Monday" story that seems to be universal in the haircut business. Cythia's was mentioned as the one place in town that was probably open, which proved to be true. When Linda asked for directions, I could hear her repeating each turn or road name, then with a somewhat incredulous voice I heard her say, "You don't mean at the truckstop, you mean it's actually inside the truckstop." And that's where we were at the moment, inside the Hopi Travel Plaza Truckstop.

It wasn't the fastest cut she has had, but interestingly enough it was definitely one of the better ones, not requiring a single bit of touching up on my part. Funny how your perspective can change depending upon your circumstances. Early on in our travels getting her hair done was a very big deal and maybe I should have capitalized that phrase to emphasize just what a big deal it was. Today it is a totally different story, and while she doesn't want to end up with bald patches on her head, perfection in her hair style has been replaced with the sheer joy of living the ongoing adventure of this Life. Something that I also see in myself.

It seems like every commercial enterprise in this area has a dinosaur of one type or another on the premises, even if none of these beasts have ever been found in the area. It's just like the movies, the facts only get in the way, so give the people what they want, and dinosaurs are something they want. For those into it, the land around here dates from the late Triassic, while the large dinosaurs were from the Jurassic.

Dino land

We spent the remainder of our time in town playing tourist. One thing we quickly learned, if you're walking around with a camera people are frequently going to walk up to you, then engage you in a conversation that ends with them asking for money. Linda surprised me since she usually first ignores such things, and if they continue, gets mad about it. Today she was a regular chatterbox, but always walking away with all her money intact and a wry smile on her face.

One of the places we stopped at was the former County Courthouse, which is now a museum. One of the more interesting parts of the building was the old jail.

Jail cells

As you can see, there are all kinds of people who find themselves in places such as this.


They have a pamphlet which outlines a walking tour of town, but we decided to forgo the tour this time and simply drove around, seeing a town which had obviously seen better days in the past. We did stop on the west edge of town at the aptly named West End Park, to eat our lunch. As we were setting the food out, I noticed someone get up from bushes near the edge of the Park, and in a few seconds we were being asked about directions to Flagstaff, which then led to the usual request for money. That however proved to be the only time we were asked, the firmness of the NO we gave maybe having something to do with our being left alone. I must admit there is a good deal more to the town than the occasional panhandler, you just have to look around. Take this rather interesting concept for a RV, or the "limo" in the background for example.


Perhaps the most famous attraction in town is the Wigwam Motel, something that is truly out of the past.

A different kind of motel

Eventually we decided it was time to do what we actually came to town for, shop at the Safeway. We were pleasantly surprised with how good looking the produce was and did we ever stock up. As an example, our refrigerator now has within its confines, 4 pounds of fresh strawberries, a deal which proved just to good to pass up. Of course the fact we hadn't had any fresh fruit in over a week was probably also a contributing factor. Never fear because we shall eat all those fresh berries if I have any say in the matter, and since I do the cooking, it looks like that will be the case.

Once everything was put away and we'd had our four o'clock peanuts, albeit later than usual, it was time to tackle the strawberry glut. Onto the Internet I went and in no time at all the first ones were being used. Never having had a strawberry margarita, we weren't sure what they would taste like, or were supposed to taste like for that matter. I thought mine was very good, while Linda would prefer hers a bit more on the sweet side in the future. Because dinner was guacamole, we went strawberry free, though I did look for a strawberry guacamole recipe before deciding that there are some foods that are are best not tampered with, guacamole being one of them.

Later, after our dessert of zucchiniless chocolate chip cake and milk, smothered in sliced strawberries, I looked at the first of the two, 2 lb containers of those succulent red berries we had bought and realized for the first time just what an arduous task it will be to eat them all. My intuition tells me we are up to though. Just think of it as Strawberry Fields almost Forever, perhaps not a bad thing. Life, ain't it great.

April 15 Tuesday

Change in plans for today. Normally this would have been a day to explore the Painted Desert, but the weather report was forecasting high winds. Remembering our experiences last year with hiking on high wind days, we opted to remain in the comfort and safety of the coach instead of braving what nature would throw at us. And while we don't think it was the case, could the need to consume those four pounds of fresh strawberries we bought yesterday, also influenced our decision?

Speaking of food, you'd never guess what we had breakfast, or maybe I should say, you'd never guess how I used the strawberries for breakfast. It was to scare the Boogiegirl away. You've heard of the Boogiegirl haven't you, the sister of the Boogieman.

What a Beauty

What transpired after getting over the shock of that apparition, was an attempt at crepes, but what turned out was something more akin to craps than crepes, not that I had any hopes for success in the first place. The best part was the ever so slightly innovative use of strawberries. I made a sauce from the berries, sugar free maple syrup, Stevia, water and cornstarch. It turned out to be just the thing to perk up the crap(s) I fixed. It wasn't that those little pancakes didn't taste good, they did, it was their appearance, texture and thickness which did them in. Think I'll just stick with calling what I fix, pancakes in the the future.

There was one good thing that came out of breakfast and that was the leftover "pancakes", which wouldn't fit into any of our plastic containers. They ended up going into the refrigerator on a plastic wrapped plate, resting perfectly on top of one of the strawberry containers. The key point is the plastic wrap. Everybody has their idea of what the perfect plastic wrap is, and Linda is no exception. Well, she does have an exception, but that is to the false blandishments of the TV commercials which try to convince you that certain wraps can perform miracles.

In our former life, we would on occasion cook for groups that were having a weekend retreat. It was a gift to the different groups on our part, as we only sought reimbursement for our actual food costs. It was during this time that we learned of the wonders of Stretch-tite. That was when we were Glad to say Saranora to the wraps we had previously used. Now I know the umpteenth grandson of the founder of the company that makes Saran wrap is in those TV commercials touting what a wonderful company S C Johnson is, but the the bottom line is he is a bizzilionaire, who advertises to entice us spend extra money on his product. A product that based on our experience is simply not as good as Stretch-tite. The point of this is that we had run dangerously low on Stretch-tite and Linda was beginning to think we were going to have to go over to the darkside in the food wrap department. But just guess what Linda discovered at Safeway yesterday, which of course immediately found its way into our cart.


It was while doing the breakfast dishes that we first became aware of the wise choice we had made in deciding to forgo any outdoor adventures. The wind was already howling outside, rocking the coach on occasion and creating a haze in the air. Linda had to walk up to the Post Office and when she returned, remarked that the sand in the air was actually stinging her face. That led to computer time for a change, Linda listing a few items on Ebay, and I working on a few Waymarking locations. There was one other thing I wanted to get done today and it was to work on my new hiking stick. Sotol is quite soft, and so it easily picks up dings and rough spots. If I could get mine sanded and then apply the finish stain to it, I thought maybe it would hold up better. We had also bought Kokopelli emblems to inset into the top of the sticks, so I also worked on craving out the spot for them. That was when I discovered that a little time spent sharpening my pocket knife with a piece of emery cloth paid big dividends.

Hiking stick

Deciding that the smoothing and carving was enough work, the staining and finishing will have to wait for another day. Don't think of it as having done enough work for the day, because what came next was more work than I ever imagined it would be, the making of tamales. What is going to follow is not a blow by blow description, that will have to wait for the future, though maybe everyone should have to experience it rather than merely read about it. Reading was something I did in copious quantity before attempting to make those little morsels I so much enjoy at restaurants, at least when they are good that is.

I was amazed at just how much detailed information is available on the Internet in regards to making tamales. After reading it, the wise choice would probably have been to decide that making tamales is something not to be taken too lightly, and consequently, give up on the idea of making my own. As the saying goes, "fools rush in where...", which in some ways is exactly what we did. For the meat I grilled a pork tenderloin and sauteed a chicken breast, both of which were then shredded and mixed with our own blend of special seasonings. The recipes all say that making tamales is a very personal thing, so we decided to do just that. As you can see, I really got into mixing the seasonings, becoming something of a whirling dervish.

Mixing fool

With the meat finished, it was time to mix up the dough. Lets just say that when you strike out on your own, don't expect everything to work perfectly. Linda could sense that this was a little overwhelming to me, and after doing a quick read of all that was involved, instantly became my partner and helpmate. Without her help and her laughing at our, okay, mostly my miscues, it would have made for a much more difficult time.


With the dough seasoned to our taste, or at least to what we thought would be our taste, it was time to start putting the tamales together. My first attempts at spreading the dough on the corn husks weren't very pretty, but deciding that when they were rolled up, the exact method of spreading the dough probably didn't matter anyway, I smashed and mashed. Maybe someday i will be able to spread and smooth, but that wasn't going to happen today.

Smash and mash

Next came the filling, Linda having some difficultly at first delivering the correct amount of filling for the size of the corn husk. It was a case of need a little get a lot, need a lot get a little. Eventually she got her thinking rotated 180 degrees and making tamales suddenly became much easier. Once they were all filled, rolled and ready for steaming, we made a wonderful discovery. The size of the container we were planning to use for steaming and the quantity of tamales we had made were a perfect match. Of course it wasn't a real tamale steamer, but by using some foil balls to elevate a vegetable steamer in the bottom of our largest pot, things worked out fine. Now it was time to sit back and relax while our tamales steamed.

Steaming tamales

That was when I realized we needed more for dinner than just the tamales. A salad was soon fixed and the sweet corn cake that Linda absolutely loves was in the oven baking. Meanwhile Linda was facing something of a crisis in the kitchen.

Dirty dishes

It looked like we had managed to fill every available spot in the kitchen with dirty dishes. With both of us working it didn't take very long to do away with the mess, leaving a nice clean counter to lay the tamales out on so they could cool.


We ate until we were completely stuffed, then froze the rest, having enough for at least four more meals. It had been a great deal of work, but looking back it was more than worth it. Sure the food was absolutely fantastic, but even more so was the fun we had of working together, fixing something we had never made before. We left our comfort zone when we bought our coach, quit our jobs, and took off on this grand adventure we call Life. This was just another of the many days since we made that choice where our Life once again exceeded our fondest dreams from those days of talking and then deciding to just do it - Because We Can.

April 16 Wednesday

We start our four days of work today, with both of us doing the same thing, but in reverse order. Linda was to rove in the Park during the morning and work at the visitors center in the afternoon, while I was to do just the opposite, working the visitor center in the morning and roving the Park in the afternoon. With our work hours being 9:45 to 6:15, it wasn't going to be an early day, but we were still up at the six o'clock hour. One difference was that wasn't any boogiegirl this morning, so it took me a little longer to fully wake up than it did yesterday.

We had the usual for breakfast. then it was time to work on the Daily Journal, I seem to be on a roll once again as I found myself writing far more than I intended. As for Linda, she worked on her Ebay listings. Time seemed to pass slowly, but eventually we needed to head out into the world of the Petrified Forest National Park. One thing which was going to be with us today, whether we wanted it or not, was the wind. In this case Linda was going to have it easier than I was because the winds are always stronger in the afternoon, my time to be outside, than the morning, when she would be outside.

The visitors center proved to be somewhat hit and miss, with bursts of visitors, followed by no one coming through the door. Meanwhile Linda had a great time, especially at Newspaper Rock, helping visitors and describing what and where they should look to see the petroglyphs. The wind was bad, but not unacceptable. Looking out towards the Puerco River, she could see a difference. First there was no water in the river, and second the wind was kicking up dust clouds in the now dry riverbed.

Dry river

Zooming in you can see the dust clouds that later in the day obscured visibility to the point many visitors thought we were having a rain storm.

Dust storms

We were both on the same schedule as far as our lunch break was concerned, so we met at the coach, ate and swapped jobs. While Linda enjoyed the warm, cozy confines of the visitors center, I was out braving the howling winds. My stops were at Crystal Forest, Newspaper Rock and Puerco Pueblo. What happened was that once I left Crystal Forest the winds significantly picked up and the temperature started dropping. Deciding that only a fool would stand out in the exposed position where Newspaper Rock is, besides I was having to hold onto the railing at times to keep from being blown off my feet, I opted to wait in the vehicle until I saw someone turn onto the entrance road before heading out to the point. Even so, most visitors spent only a moment or two there before quickly heading back to their vehicle, an action that was quick to copy.

Puerco Pueblo proved to be a little less windy, but by this time the temperature was such that the cold was cutting right through the windbreaker I was wearing. I never did figure out how the visitors knew, but as I could feel the temperatures getting colder and colder, the number of visitors dropped off to the point that at last no one had stopped for over ten minutes and that was when I decided that enough was enough and headed back to the barn.

It took a while to get warmed up, and as I sat there, I decided this was the most miserable day I had ever spent as a volunteer. Looking ahead, I'll take the optimistic view, figuring all the remaining days will be better. It also helped to look at the schedule and note that it would be several weeks before I had another day of roving like this one.

For dinner, we had ginger chicken, steamed broccoli and tossed salad with horse radish mustard dressing, something that really hit the spot. Later Linda also got into the cooking mode, primarily because we were out of dessert, making a yellow squash chocolate chip cake. The Safeway store had been out of zucchini so that was reason for the yellow squash. It was just as good as always, even though it did have a slightly different taste.

Tomorrow we are on different schedules, with Linda opening the visitors center, while I will be closing it. Every day different, every day an adventure, though I could have done with a little more warmth during my adventure today. Now if I can just figure out what is for dinner tomorrow...

April 17 Thursday

Early for Linda, late for Bob, with both us working at the Painted Desert Visitor Center today. Since Linda was opening she needed to be there to open at 6:45, I was closing so I would be there closing until 6:15, the good part being Linda was done at 3:15 and I didn't start until 9:45, but even with the early start, we had the usual for breakfast.


After writing the Daily Journal, dumping the tanks and doing other assorted things around the coach, it was time for me to join Linda. When I walked in she was in full visitor center mode.

Linda helping

Turn about is fair play, and I was soon doing the same thing.

Bob helping

It was actually a very slow day, with a lot of "dead time" when there were no visitors, which makes time drag by ever so slowly, and the day to seemingly never end. One way we have learned to speed things up is to use these times to restock the shelves and assemble some of the items that aren't ready for the shelves. I ended up putting Painted Desert pins on their hanger cards, then stapling the Petrified Forest walking staff emblems to their hanger cards. You also need to put the price sticker on each card, and by the time I had finished it was getting near closing time.

Dinner turned out to be a conglomeration of leftovers that was most definitely too much food, even though it tasted great, then Linda did something while dozed in the recliner, so I have no clue as to what it was she did. Maybe she was doing the same thing I was for all I know. My sense of food must have remained on alert because I awakened just as she was getting dessert out of the refrigerator. Guess this day could best be described as we awakened, we ate, we worked. Some days are like that, this was one of them.

April 18 Friday

Early for Linda, late for Bob, again today with Linda working at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, while I was at the Painted Desert Inn. Once again Linda was opening the visitor center and so needed to be there at 6:45, but starting early also meant she would be done at 3:15. My scheduled required me to both open and close which meant I would be at the PDI from 8:45 to 5:15, not necessarily bad hours, but still it had the potential of being very boring because of the lack of visitors.

This meant our meal schedule was really messed up, Linda having shredded wheat bites at 6:30, while I didn't eat until later. It also meant I would be packing my lunch while Linda would be eating lunch at the coach. Scrounging around in the refrigerator I found the left over bean soup and the sweet corn cake, so while I knew what I was going to have, Linda was going to be on her own.

Arriving a few minutes early, I had everything ready for the first visitors, if only I would have had any. While a few dropped by early, by 10 am the count was only 20, then the bottom dropped out so to speak and in the next hour and a half not a single person walked through the doors. I finally resorted to standing out by the front door and enticed a young couple to come in, which seemed to prime the pump, though the flow was more like a trickle than a deluge. Here is what the visitor counter I was working at looked like for much of the day.

Empty room

If you noted the paucity of people you were correct. With so little to do, and having so few visitors I had to work at not the overwhelming the few I did have. Hence I spent time reading about petroglyphs and also studying the history of this building, something I was already quite familiar with. One of the rooms in the Inn was the old lunch counter room, a place where families stopped for something to eat or drink in the 1950's. Here is a photo taken during the heyday of the Inn.

Old times

What the same corner of the lunch room looks like today.

Modern times

Some of our visitors plan to stop at the Inn to see the famous murals painted the walls of several rooms by the famous Hopi artist, Fred Kaboti. Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, the renowned architect and interior designer of the Fred Harvey Company, commissioned Kaboti to paint them when the Inn was redecorated in the late 1940's. The one which is on the north wall of the lunch room is titled, The Buffalo Dance.

Buffalo dance

Of course all this work, or I should say lack of work resulted in the lunch hour finally arriving, albeit much later than it seeming should have. The lunch room is down in the basement, in an area which is not open to visitors, but taking a look at it, you can see why.

Lunch room

Eventually the day ended, the closing of the register was accomplished with only one small error. I had managed to miss a dollar bill during my initial closing count, but easily caught the error on the recount. I knew everything needed to be perfect, not only because it had to be, but also because Linda was going to be here tomorrow and if I messed up on anything I'd never hear the end of it. Being married to someone who worked in accounting all her working life can do something like that to you.

After that burst of excitement, which was the only such burst of the day, it was all downhill, dinner being guacamole and the evening taken up with relaxing in front of the TV. I did come up with my own burst of innovation, the last of the strawberries with a splash of Harvey's Bristol Cream, topped with a couple of swirls of Torani sugar free white chocolate sauce and eaten with three or four bittersweet chocolate chips. It wasn't even dessert, just a way saying there are good things that can be enjoyed even on the most boring of days.

April 19 Saturday

Turnabout is fair play, which was what our schedules looked like today. Early for Bob, late for Linda, with Bob working at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, while Linda was at the Painted Desert Inn. Because I was opening the visitor center, I needed to be there at 6:45, but starting early also meant I should be done at 3:15. Meanwhile Linda would be at the PDI from 8:45 to 5:15, not necessarily bad hours, but not one of Linda's favorite places because it can be very boring for her due to the potential lack of visitors.

With our plans calling for an early hike out into the Painted Desert on Sunday, Linda took advantage of her late schedule to get a little extra rest. Meanwhile I was the early morning whirling dervish, fixing breakfast and lunch for both of us. With a pancake, scrambled egg and sausage patty on a plate, Linda, with a push of the start button on the microwave was going to have a hot breakfast when she got up. Sometimes I wonder if she realizes just how far I've come in my training? I'm finally realizing just how oblivious I was for all those years to just how much she was doing, fixing breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Perhaps the saying about walking a mile in someone's shoes is far more true than we know.

Linda did end up having a great day at the Painted Desert Inn, despite the lack of visitors. It seemed like most of those who came were genuinely interested, either in the Inn itself or hiking in the Painted Desert Wilderness area, which made up for the times when no one walked through the doors. When it came time for her lunch break, instead of eating in the lunch room, she ate out under the ramada that is off to the side of the lower entrance to the Inn.

Lunch room

A few steps away is where it all started, back in the early 1920's when Herbert Lore first open his 60 Million Year Old Stone Tree House to tourists driving on what was the precursor to Route 66. First established in 1912, the western portion of National Old Trails Road was incorporated in 1926 into the newly designated Route 66. Lore built a short road up to his Stone Tree House and the original entrance was right beside where Linda was eating. With her eyes closed she could see those early travelers, some may even have eaten where she was sitting. In the photo below you can even see some of the original petrified wood Lore used to build his version of the Inn.

Old times

One interesting fact is that the ramada was actually built by the CCC in the late 1930's, and has survived intact to this day.

Modern view of old times

Meanwhile, the remainder of the Inn has been rehabilitated a number of times over the years due to the shifting and cracking caused by a seam of clay which runs beneath the building.


All the while Linda was enjoying the the view of the Painted Desert from the Inn, I also had a view where I was working. But mine wasn't of scenery, it was was of smiles and laughter because the table that Ranger Marge had set up for Junior Ranger activities was out on the patio in front of the Visitors Center. Marge is the Education Ranger and she really does a great job, so it was neat watching the kids have such a wonderful time. On my way to the coach for lunch I notice three youngsters totally engrossed in a project and just had to take a photo.

Project time

For some reason dinner was delayed, but when we looked out the window during the meal, we realized that we were looking at the answer to why we were eating late.


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