Turning a driving day into a day of exploring

Can I just toot my own horn here? Because today I feel all like "WIN WIN WIN!" We hit the road at 8:35am, just as the rain was starting to come in. After enjoying our drive to Sedona on 180, we decided to opt again for the scenic (and truck-free) route. Just look at this amazing send-off:

 Us-180 does it again. 

Us-180 does it again. 

We've regressed back into two naps with A, but she fell asleep in the car around 9 and woke up just a few minutes before we hit our first stop: Meteor Crater. 

 Behold: Meteor crater

Behold: Meteor crater

Fun fact: I'm a space nut. And a rock nut. So this spot really had me firing on all cylinders, and also had me thinking we were probably going to be disappointed and/or ripped off. And it was a little of an "all of the above" situation. It was cool. But it was definitely a rip off. If we didn't have a small toddler who needed to run around like an insane person, there's little chance stopping here would have made sense. 

Parts of our drive have been so remote that we rarely see another car drive by. Other parts take us through towns along Route 66, and they are magically weird. Like this place -- the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona-- fantastically staged with vintage cars in front of the cement (!) teepees (by the way: there is a big difference between wigwams and teepees, so I'm not sure how this actually makes any sense). 

Our next stop was Petrified Forest National Park. We had a lot of deliberation on whether or not we would stop here because so many websites and reviews say the park is boring, no petrified wood left, etc etc. I'm glad we took those with a grain of salt. The Petrified Wood is super cool and the park is beautiful.

The petrified wood in the park was created when the trees fell, and flooded streams washed them into adjacent flood plains. A mix of silt, mud and volcanic ash from distant volcanoes buried the logs. The sediment cut off oxygen and slowed the logs decay. Then silica-laden groundwater seeped through the logs, replacing the original wood tissues with silica and petrifying the logs. Crazy, eh?  The logs have an awesome amount of color and variation. 

 I mean check out the colors! 

I mean check out the colors! 

 The beautiful Petrified forest  national park. 

The beautiful Petrified forest  national park. 

A fell right back into a second nap to make the rest of our drive a breeze. We've hit state #3! And... we are in the middle of nowhere New Mexico, so I'm going to go back to drinking my sparkling wine out of this camping mug. The sky here is unbelievable. I'm totally kicking myself for not getting out of bed to grab the camera, but take my word for it when I say I have never seen that many stars in the sky in my life. They call this part of New Mexico "dark sky country" and it really is something to behold. It's like you are cloaked in a sparkly nighttime blanket and the stars are all around you. 

{Side note: we are living in a low speed internet hell, which anyone who knows me will tell you is maybe my #1 driver to drink. So, I'm a little late on the posting due to lack of upload speed. Am I speaking Greek?. Follow me on Instagram for updates (@RubberRoadAbode). You know you can't wait to see what we are up to next!}