It was time to move the RV west, to start seeing all those natural wonders and National Parks we had heard so much about. Santa Fe had fed our stomachs well and and we had enjoyed the beauty of the area, including Taos. Now we moved on to Gallup, New Mexico, near the Arizona border so we could get an early start exploring our next stop, the Painted Desert. As we head west the terrain changes, we see more buttes and mesas and desert-like terrain. We spend only one night in Gallup, not even unhitching the car, they had a BBQ dinner and a country singer to entertain us. We found out Arizona has its own time zone, they don’t follow daylight savings time so we will lose another hour, at least until we hit Utah.
This area of the Painted Desert was formed by shifts in the earth’s crust brought about by erupting volcanoes and earthquakes, alternating with flooding by fresh and sea waters alike, and added elements like continuous erosion have all helped shape this stark landscape. Colorful sediments of clay and sandstone, stacked in artful layers, feed off the Arizona sun in an ever-changing display of color.
It took millions upon millions of years for nature to create this natural canvas of unimaginable beauty that some describe as a “multi-colored layered cake.” The Photos don’t do enough justice to the rainbow of colors: shades of grey merge into lavender, vibrant reds, oranges and pinks thread their way through this huge expanse of barren, but majestic landscape. It is huge, 94,000 acres stretching over 100 miles west to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon and north to the Four Corners. Only a small piece of it is in the National Park. Driving through the park, standing on the overlooks, hiking the trails we were humbled by its expansiveness and beauty. We head to another section of the park to explore our next stop, the Petrified Forest.