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Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest

Flagstaff revisited and Grand Canyon

Saturday and Sunday 7/8 February

Base camp for visiting the Grand Canyon and maybe to take some rest after the flight Amsterdam - Phoenix. For me it was coming home because the Grand Canyon International Hostel was the place to be I needed two years ago, after cycling from Durango CO to the Grand Canyon. Relaxed small town with all facilities (motels, petrol stations and WalMart) but much more.

This time we took the 'south entrance', coming from Sedona via the wonderful Oak Creek Canyon. Our rental car was possibly more fit to do so now, mounting 3000 feet within 15 miles, than my bicyle and me. Sedona appeared still to be nice and a bit Slowdona but the gorgeous red rocks were still older and magic as ever on the pictures and in my memory.
I was a bit worried because Edwin was silent for many periods but actually it was because of the breath taking views.

Good choice weatherwise to visit Grand Canyon Saturday (thank you advisors of the hostel). Sunday morning it was time for a change and without Obama's involvement earth had changed in a white romantic area where everybody was polite and relaxed and helpful. Shovels to remove the snow, trains slowly passing by with thousands of tons of goods, kindly saying hallo by many blasts of the siren, people having a cup of coffee or donut in Macey's, a meetingpoint for students and tourists.
Where are you coming from? Of course, why not? Almost as polite as the Americans we told about our roots. And most people in this setting knew Europe, more details than ever.
In the meantime the nice upgrade (by the snow) of our white rental car went lost and some papers under the wiper appeared. Commercials again?
No, an invitation by the City of Flagstaff administration to come to the Town Hall within 15 days.
A queer thing that they ask 20 dollars admission for it, is the American way of life that commercialised???

We'll ask tomorrow. And the hostel staff advised to park the car elsewhere...

Today we'll visit the Epiphany Church a.o. to see and hear Eric singing. I happened to meet him two years ago. Last night we had dinner together at a Mexican resto, La Casa Bonita (bit a Dutch name for a reputed phenomenon). Enchillada and Macho Burrito for us. We 'deserved' it after (or in) a jetlag and after cooking in the hostel ourselves.

Next week we'll head for Albuquerque, visiting my cousins. They like to meet Edwin and we were promised to get a first class guided tour through the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, one of this tour's highlights.
And Hank is growing peaches so we'll get the chance to taste (again).
On the way to ABQ we'll stick a bit to the Interstate 40 because of the unpredictable weather. But we certainly not skip Acoma Pueblo (Sky City) and the Petrified Forest.; even snowy should it be magical.

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Monday 9 February

Traveling in Arizona and entering New Mexico  today.

-08.55: Visit the Flagstaff townhall to pay a $ 20 fine due to parking th car 'between 12.00 and 07.00 a.m. along the road that might be made snowfree by the Flagstaff Road Department. And it did snow that night, about ten inches. The front desk lady was kind but I had to pay. Rules, you know. And of course, it's our duty to support American economy even with this small contribution.

-09.05 h. : unguided tour in the Townhall. Invited to an upgrade class of the Arizona Fire Brigade Sections.

-leaving Flagstaff in the snow on the Route 66 and driving parallel to a BNSF freight train. Seven locomotives and again 1 mile carts. Same speed (60 miles/h)

-09.50:  all at a sudden no more snow on the road, the Interstate 40 between LA and ABQ.

-11.00 entering Petrified Forest. Nice visitor center and cold (wind!) trip among the gorgeous/awful petrified trees. Then the tour through the park. Many panoramas and sometimes views like I saw in the Badlands South Dakota.

13.00: visiting the other Visitor Center near the I 40. The front desk lady answers all our questions (survey: a.o. petrified due to volcanos covering the trees and its minerals took the place of the rotten wood). Route 66 stamp in our passports.

14.00 Visitor Center New Mexico (border) for some info about possible highlights. And as experienced travellers: picking the hotel vouchers guide for the discounts. We like to be good and dedicated citizens and follow American habits...

15.30 Checking in RedRoof Inn in Gallup. With discount voucher!

Wifi, microwave, tv, refrigerator, tub and two queensize (= Beatrix size) beds.

16.30 u. Three courses (?) dinner prepared by Edwin and the micro.

17.00 u. Arie is going to wifi and update the website for the website visitors.

17.15 Edwin sits down in the tub.

17.25 Edwin is screaming because of the unpredictable shower gifts. Arie decides not to stand the heat like this.

Plans today: maybe downtown Gallup but the Petrified Visistor Center Lady says she only appreciated Gallup because of the Walmart.

Very commercial Indian stuff to be found. 'Walmart cheap Indian stuff expensive', is her opinion.

Tomorrow: Acoma Pueblo and heading to Santa Fé.

Wednesday heading for ABQ. Maybe Bandelier NM underway (if no heavy snow and/or a combination of  and hail and wind). Visit my cousins Norita & Hank, long time not seen (Hank in June 2008 in Bismarck, ND, both in 2007 in ABQ)

Tuesday or Wednesday

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