Ride the USA-Day 3: Petrified Forest National Park

Wednesday, May 27— Seligman, AZ to Eagar, AZ

I met Jim, a fellow Harley rider from Pennsylvania, this morning. He and his wife had flown to Phoenix and rented a Harley to enjoy a little touring in the warm, dry climate. We had a nice chat about the bike he owns, the one he rented, and mine. As is typical in front of the cheap motels, the discussion ended in a man-hug and good wishes as though we’d know each other for years. Jim was headed back to Phoenix where he will meet up with his son’s family and go Grand Canyon National Park.

Speaking of the Grand Canyon, as I planned the routes for this trip I scheduled a short day today to create space for a much windier ride tomorrow. I thought about going to the Grand Canyon with the extra time I had in the schedule. Bit a new and good friend of mine, Chris, is a pastor in Flagstaff and I decided it would be more meaningful to connect with Chris.

Humphreys Peak north of Flagstaff

Humphreys Peak north of Flagstaff

It was a beautiful morning riding to Flagstaff, fairly clear, cool, with the landscape gradually becoming more and more forested as I approached the Kaibab National Forest. One of the early songs to pop up was Free Bird by Lynard Skynyrd, followed by Juke Box Hero by Foreigner, and then Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull. Music is an important aspect of riding in terms of passing time in more mundane areas and triggering memories.

Chris in from of Higher Grounds Coffee House

Chris in from of Higher Grounds Coffee House

Chris and I met on an Amor Ministries mission trip in January of 2014. Given a number of circumstances surrounding us both at the time, we connected quickly and deeply. Chris is in transition to take over as the senior pastor at Christ’s Church of Flagstaff in the fall of 2016. We spent some time catching up and discussing his plan for a smooth transition. The current senior pastor, Jim, founded the church some thirty years ago and is doing everything he can to set Chris up for success. I was glad to have met Jim this morning, along with some other key staff members and friends of Chris.

I was making my way to Winslow when I noticed a sign to the Meteor Crater, and followed it. This crater is the world’s best-preserved meteorite impact site on Earth. It is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. Viewing this crater leaves a lasting impression.

2015-05-27 13.38.06Lisa and our friend, Jim, challenged me to stand on a corner in Winslow. Interesting enough, there is a Standing on the Corner Park. I took the bait, resulting in the picture you see here. It was hilarious watching people gravitate towards this spot, complete with Eagles music playing over loudspeakers, and pose for photos. The song, written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, made this quaint little town.

Near the park is Dar’s Diner, where I enjoyed a classic BLT. I am still thinking about a sign on the wall, “BE Who You ARE”. Good advice! Sounds a lot like learning about who God made you to be and living it out to the fullest.

The scenery in this part of Arizona is very similar to that found along I80 in Nevada between Reno and Winnemucca. It consists of vast areas of desolation and a scattering of seemingly abandoned homes.

2015-05-27 16.04.31I proceeded on to Petrified Forest National Park. On the way I noticed something to the north that seemed like a canyon. It turned out to be Painted Desert at the northern end of the park. It is a huge geologic phenomenon east of Grand Canyon.

I have to say that my wife, Lisa, would get bored here after about five minutes. All she would see are “rocks”. As a scientist at heart, I was 2015-05-27 15.49.31captivated by the visible geology and the significant changes to the Earth it represents. I agree that we should be good caretakers of the planet. Yet what we have done to impact and can do to improve the climate is insignificant compared to the impact of meteor collisions, volcano eruptions, earthquakes, etc.

2015-05-27 16.22.02

The later afternoon ride into Eagar, AZ was quiet and peaceful and the sun was dropping in the background behind me.

The later afternoon ride into Eagar, AZ was quiet and peaceful and the sun was dropping in the background behind me.

Route:                    I40, Petrified Forest Road, 180, 191, 180
Miles Today:         319
Time Today:         9:00
Total Trip Miles: 1,169
Weather:               Mid 50’s to mid 80’s, windy and overcast.
Lunch:                   Dar’s Diner
Lodging:                B/W Sunrise
Dinner:                  Trail Riders Restaurant

2 thoughts on “Ride the USA-Day 3: Petrified Forest National Park

  1. Now you know why I love living in Arizona! Thanks for letting me enjoy the ride with you via the blog!

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