Copy of an e-mail sent to Jerry & Joey
April 20, 2006

Page 1 of  6

Page  1
Phoenix To Petrified Forest
Page  2
To Canyon De Chelly
Page  3
To Monument Valley
Page  4
To Mesa Verde - 1
Page  5
To Mesa Verde - 2
Page  6
To Chaco Canyon, Bisti, and the Climate
Suggestions for your trip to Monument Valley

Hi Jerry & Joey
You have a great trip coming up to one of our favorites places. Here is my take on neat sights along the way to Monument Valley, Mesa Verde NP and other parks that we have visited and enjoyed. You can see the Four Corners sites in any order, not necessarily the way I have them arranged from southwest to northeast. Or you can pick and choose.

I would suggest
taking a pair of binoculars to view wild game like Pronghorns, birds of pray and such. And for any senior, if you don't have a Golden Age Passport for natonal parks, you should have one -- it's only $10 and it's good for life.

I don't claim to know everything about all these areas but we have been thru this part of the country a few times and have stopped frequently whenever there was anything to see or do along the road. Some routes like Hwy 60 out of Phoenix, I have been taking in different seasons since the '60s and and still enjoy the views and the people. Have a safe and wonderful journey to Four Corners, a land of awesome beauty.

Petrified Forest Nat'l Park

Highways 60, 77 and 180
Hwy 60 gets you off the interstate
and it takes you to the beginning of the Four Corners area. It's a beautiful drive thru the White Mountains and traffic is light. You can get on Hwy 60 in Phoenix or Florence. It takes you thru the hilly mining towns like Superior and Globe (Jim Vernetti was raised there). The road goes thru Salt River Canyon -- it's scenic and unspoiled. The grade down to the river is fairly long so gear down and prevent brake fade.

After the town of Show Low, take Hwy 77 to Holbrook. (Although it's a little longer, we like to go farther east to Springerville because we like the scenery of extinct volcanos and cinder cones along the way. After the volcano remnants, turn north on Hwy 180 just before Springerville to Petrified Forest NP and Holbrook.) You may want to take a look at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, and also the neat vintage cars -- an ol' Route 66 classic. There are motels and restaurants in Holbrook and it's about 20 miles east to Petrified Forest NP where we start our tour.
Arizona    Hwy 60
New Mexico
Four Corners

Starting The Tour

Petrified Forest NP   Photo Tour   Time Chart   Paleo-Puebloan Chart   Park Map
We start our tour of Four Corners with this wonderful park.
A few hours here should do it unless you go for hikes or take lots of pictures. You can go from south to north if you take Hwy 180 E out of Holbrook. Don't pick up petrified wood or anything else in a national park -- it's a major crime and big fines too.  For the basics when perusing the National Park web sites, start with "Plan Your Visit," "Activities" and "History and Culture."

Rainbow Forest Museum and visitor inforation is at the south entrance.  We always stop at visitor centers for maps, local information, see their museum displays, watch their movies about the park and get a schedule of the many wonderful interpretive and special events programs -- adds a lot to any visit. We like to stop at all turnouts as we go thru any park. There is another visitor center at the north end but there it is called the Painted Desert -- optional (means lower priorty, skip it if you do not have the time).
About Maps
Four Corners Map
This map is helpful only by having all the parks grouped together on one page to see the relationship. We are making a giant loop in our travels by starting with Petrified Forest NP on Hwy I-40 in Arizona, going north to visit some Four Corners parks, and then ending back on Hwy I-40 in New Mexico. This Four Corners map is not a good road map -- it's an abbreviated map that lacks details and some road options.

More about maps
AAA folded maps are good and they include primary and secondary roads and covers a large area. For greater detail like for jeep-trails to old mining camps, we use DeLorme's Atlas & Gazetteer Series, one for each state. Our Garmin GPS works well even on backcountry dirt roads. It's a good combination for us. If you want to use your laptop, National Geographic puts out a nice topographic map set with 3-D views and is Bluetooth/GPS capable.
Some of what we saw on the way to Petrified NP

Salt River Canyon -- looking northeast

Salt River Canyon -- looking southwest

The road winds down to the Salt River
(with new and old bridges)

Salt River

Volcanic cinder cones west of Springerville

Casa Malpais, AD 1268-1400, Mogollon ruins west of Springerville
See Springerville Visitor Center for entry

Wigwam Motel in Holbrook -- Route 66 classic with wonderful old cars

A bad Japanese imitation of the "Cowboy Silhouette" at Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

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