Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-2Forest that is!

Just as we traveled west of Holbrook, Arizona along Interstate 40 (and along old Route 66) we came upon the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest.

Wow! It was surprising and quite amazing.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-4

I did a little review of the history of this forest (although it’s like a desert) while on location but I think it’s better to use some previous, documented research to provide some background.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-1

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-3

How Petrified Wood Was Formed

Petrified Tree at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-5According to, when trees were toppled by volcanic eruptions, they were swept away by flowing water and deposited in marshes and covered with mud and volcanic ash. Buried under layers of sediment, the logs remained buried for millions of years undergoing a extremely slow process of petrification which essentially turned the logs to colorful stone. (How does this compare to eruptions in Hawaii and elsewhere?)

Petrified Tree -1 at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

The logs were also covered with even more sediment from the ocean. Millions of years ago the ocean disappeared and was replaced with flowing rivers that gradually eroded over 2,600 feet of sediment depth slowly exposing the petrified wood that litters the landscape at the Petrified Forest National Park.

“There is no doubt that millions of pounds of petrified logs still remain buried deep into the ground. Eventually gradual and continuing erosion will expose even more stone logs that are still entombed.”

The petrification process began with tree burial. The volcanic ash and mud released chemicals during decomposition. The chemicals reacted with wood to form quartz crystals which by themselves are colorless. Minerals in the water such as iron or manganese gave the quartz red and pinkish hues. Over millions of years, the quartz crystals “cocooned” the logs slowly turning them to stone.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-6 - Petrified Trunk with jewels

National Geographic: See the Enchanting, Ancient Forest in the Middle of a Desert

“Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park is a can’t-miss destination for those looking for otherworldly landscapes.”

According to National Geographic the Painted Desert (part of the Petrified Forest National Park) draws more than 600,000 visitors each year. “While most come to see one of the world’s largest concentrations of brilliantly colored petrified wood, many leave having glimpsed something more.” The current 346 square miles of Petrified Forest open a window on an environment that was once far more drastic than today’s grassland.  more than 200 million years old, one radically different from today’s grassland.


Where you now see ravens soaring over a stark landscape, leathery-winged pterosaurs once glided over rivers teeming with armor-scaled fish and giant, spatula-headed amphibians. Nearby ran herds of some of the earliest dinosaurs. Scientists have identified several hundred species of fossil plants and animals in Petrified Forest.

Much of the quartz that replaced the wood tissue 200 million years ago is tinted in rainbow hues. Many visitors cannot resist taking rocks, despite strict regulations and stiff fines against removing any material. To see if the petrified wood was actually disappearing at an alarming rate, resource managers established survey plots with a specific number of pieces of wood; some were nearly barren in less than a week.

The problem is not new. Military survey parties passing through the region in the 1850s filled their saddlebags with the petrified wood. As word of these remarkable deposits spread, fossil logs were hauled off by the wagonload for tabletops, lamps, and mantels. In the 1890s gem collectors began dynamiting logs searching for amethyst and quartz crystals. To prevent further destruction of its unique bounty, the area was designated a national monument in 1906 and a national park more than a half century later.  (More details are at

Isn’t it interesting that humans can’t resist leaving beauty behind for others to behold.  This aspect of history doesn’t change.  We all want to take a little piece with us.  You’ll even notice some local businesses selling pieces of the artifacts.  I resisted though and rely on photography along with memories.  Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-5 - Petrified Trunk with jewels

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-5

USA Today tips for visiting the Petrified Forest

One of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world is found at Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona, about 110 miles east of Flagstaff and 210 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Add to that dramatic, colorful geological formations and ancient art and you’ll quickly see why Petrified Forest National Park is a must-visit.

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Stop along the way
  3. Visit the museum
  4. Take a hike
  5. Go old school – really old (archeology style)
  6. Watch for birds
  7. Go wild
  8. Stop by the inn (Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark)
  9. Join a range

See tip details at

Love and Blessings,


Origin of Route 66

National Park Service Route 66 image
Graphic on the National Park Service website

Route 66 has been an interesting ride in this series.  There is so much to see and interpret.  I can’t do it justice with the few posts I provided – only tidbits.  I’ll close out my focus on Route 66 with this post by providing a little history; although the next few posts will still be along Route 66 (I-40) in Arizona.

19799240195_2d52e94f50_o (2)
Car bumper bench at the Petrified Forest National Park along the old Route 66. (RonLin Photography)

After being intrigued about Route 66’s origin, I found out its birth was long before the development of cars.

According to, the history of Route 66 began shortly after the U.S. incorporated the southwestern territories it had acquired from Mexico after the 1846 -1848 War.

The U.S. Congress commissioned Amiel Weeks Whipple (1817 – 1863), a Captain of the Army Topographical Corps, to survey a proposed transcontinental railroad, resulting in development of wagon trails in the far west.

“Four years later, Congress instructed Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale to mark a route between New Mexico and California. His expedition charted a route which would be used by thousands of migrants on their way to California. And was the basis for the roads which would later cross the region, like Route 66.”

Old cars on display in Arizona along Route 66 that probably traveled along the famous route, with a history to tell.  (RonLin Photography)

Although automobiles had been around since the late 1800s, they began to become more popular toward the end of the first decade of the twentieth century.

The automobile experienced a boom in the early 1920s passing from 180,000 registered vehicles in 1910 to 17 million in 1920. The increase in cars led to a growing demand for better roads and a coherent network of highways. (

Old cars on display in Arizona along Route 66 that probably traveled along the famous route, with a history to tell.  (RonLin Photography)

No doubt the increase in travels westward triggered the first legislation being passed in 1916, the “Federal Aid Road Act”, which was the beginning of federal government assistance for state highway costs. It was meant to improve any rural road over which the U.S. mail was carried. It obliged the states to have highway departments to design, build and upkeep the roads. (

The Federal Highway Act of 1921 set up a multi-year plan of federal funding for the program. Congress passed this Act to create a National highway system funded by the Federal government. It was to be an interstate network linking the country.

As the automobile became more popular, the masses took to the roads, and what was once an adventure for the wealthy (and the brave), became commonplace. Americans could now roam across America, free and unchallenged.

Who would think that a person certified to be a school teacher in 1893 in Missouri, and moving to Oklahoma City around 1897 to be an insurance agent, would become the father of Route 66?  Yet that is what Cyrus Avery did. You can read more of his story at

Avery was impressed with the Good Roads Movement going on in Missouri and became involved with various commissions and associations to learn more about these endeavors – pushing toward a federal level of roadways.    19624641398_8792293c7c_o

19421246060_d9792a10d3_o (2)

Because of the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Avery argued that the new route requested by Congress from Virginia to California (U.S. Highway 60) should go through Tulsa and Oklahoma City, continue west across the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California. Apparently his argument had merit and was adopted.  It was also beneficial to commercial development.

19817711181_ffddd5906d_o (2)After the highways were routed, a decision was made not to name the highways but instead follow the pattern of numbering them as established in Wisconsin and Missouri.

The east-west routes would be even numbers, and the north-south would be odd. Major routes would be one or two-digit numbers ending in either “1” or “0” depending on the route.

Route 66 was almost named Route 60.

To avoid a “U.S. 0”, U.S. Highway 2 was treated as a “0” highway and U.S. Route 101 would be treated as a two-digit highway to expand the number of available routes north-south. Avery, arguing that the Chicago to Los Angeles route would be a major highway, numbered the highway US 60.

U.S. 60 vs. U.S. 62

The Virginia Beach–Springfield route had been designated as U.S. 62 and actually terminated south of Ozark, Missouri at U.S. Highway 65. Kentucky would be the only state without a “0” highway. They countered Avery’s US route by pushing for US 60 to run between Virginia Beach and Los Angeles; the Springfield to Chicago section could be “U.S. 60 North”. Avery returned with “U.S. 60 South” for the Springfield–Virginia Beach alignment. Kentucky threatened to walk completely out of the new highway system (individual states could not be forced to participate in it).

Finally, Kentucky offered a compromise: connect their highway with Avery’s in Springfield and give their highway the number 60. Avery could have his Chicago–Los Angeles highway if he would accept the number 62 which was originally assigned to their road.

Avery disliked the number 62, found out 66 was not used, and designated the Chicago–Los Angeles highway as U.S. 66.

In 1926, the Federal Highway System was approved by Congress. With this done, Congress also de-certified all the old “association” highways.

Route 66 was launched as the nation’s first Federal highway system.  It was intertwined with local, state and national roads.

I believe these changes began an every-increasing growth out west as people began falling in love with their automobiles and traveling farther distances.  The territories along Route 66 increased with travelers exploring the vast homeland.  The Petrified Forest was one of the popular landmarks.

The National Park Service also has excellent information and history on this “special place in American consciousness.”

Cyrus Avery is known as “The Father of Route 66.”  It will remain part of American history although the federal Interstate system has diverted much attention from the old routes.  Let’s not forget them!

Thanks for your interest!


Route 66 Cars Connection Continues

Well, I finally get the chance to follow up with my “Cars” connection along Route 66.

As I was saying, the Route 66 influence for the movie “Cars” shows up in various places as the movie researchers traveled through the small towns in the whole region. Following the movie the influence is worldwide.

The character “Tow Mater” inspired a number of look-a-likes.  This one was seen north of Jacksonville, Fla. during a leisurely ride along U.S. 17 going northward, near Yulee.  (RonLin Photography)

Remember Radiator Springs in the movie?  It is actually a fictional place but is influenced by a number of actual places along Route 66 from Kansas to Arizona.

I can’t describe these locations sufficiently since I couldn’t visit all of them so I’ll resort to online research and use some of their material.

Excerpts from Wikipedia

“The setting for the town of Radiator Springs is situated between Gallup, New Mexico and the Sonoran Desert in California. Radiator Springs’ position in relation to I-40, as shown on a map during a flashback in the 2006 film, is similar to that of Peach Springs on Arizona State Route 66.”

Wikipedia mentioned the village is a composite of multiple locations.  Pixar sent out a group of artists with the Carburetor County Sheriff and Oklahoma historian Michael Wallis as a guide to take photos, talk with Route 66 residents and learn the history of the small towns. I’m sure that was a fun assignment.

I provided the link for those interested in learning more about the areas visited by the crews.  I think it is interesting.

I want to highlight one of my favorite characters on Cars – Tow Mater.  Beside Lightning McQueen it seems he has generated a lot of look-a-likes and special interest around the country.

The character “Tow Mater” inspired a number of look-a-likes.  This one was seen north of Jacksonville, Fla. during a leisurely ride along U.S. 17 going northward, near Yulee.  (RonLin Photography)

According to Route 66 News, Tow Mater – the tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy in the film, is a composite of NASCAR superfan and non-Route 66er Douglas “Mater” Keever of North Carolina; Dean Walker, a mover and shaker at the Kansas Historic Route 66 Association; and Harley Russell,  owner of the Sandhills Curiousity Shop in Erick, Okla.”

Tow truck in Holbrook, Arizona at the Wigwam Motel that reminds travelers of Tow Mater. (RonLin Photography)

Another location along Route 66 that is interesting is Seligman, Arizona.  There are unique little shops and stores that represent the era when Route 66 was a bustling route.  The town became innovative to compete with change caused by the Interstate.

Webiste describes how the town managed, and what the locals say about Route 66.

Local residents petitioned the State of Arizona to name Seligman the “Birthplace of Historic Route 66,” arguing that the town is the first stop West along the “longest uninterrupted stretch of historic route 66.” According to showrunner, John Lasseter, “Radiator Springs”, the fictional key location in the hugely-successful Pixar animated film Cars, was “loosely base  on Seligman.”

When you see some of the images in Roadtrippers website they too remind you of the influence of the entire area toward creating the Cars movie.

Today, Seligman is a popular spot for those traveling the practically vanished Route 66 trail.  At least some of the towns are still proud of their heritage and remain active.

The Seligman Chamber of Commerce states: “Whether you are looking for good food, friendly people, interesting photo opportunities, or just a little fun you’ll find it in Seligman.”

Seligman, AZ cars - Chamber of Commerce
Some of the local vehicles in Seligman, Arizona remind you of Cars movie characters.  (Seligman Chamber of Commerce photo)

According to the Chamber, many visitors refer to Seligman as “a delightful town”, “a step back in time”, “eclectic”, “a really cool pit-stop” and “one of the high spots of the Route 66 trip”.

“Seligman is a favorite stop for tour buses as well as individuals on road trips traveling the longest stretch of Route 66 or taking I-40 to the Grand Canyon.”

As I researched the influence along Route 66, I’m reminded of the extent creators of movies go to in order to build their story line.  I’m impressed.




Route 66 has beauty, history and fun

IMG_1102As we journeyed Route 66 from Oklahoma into Texas and New Mexico, we didn’t get a chance to stop at many of the historic and picturesque locations.  Actually, for me, it was sometimes difficult to determine when Route 66 diverted from Interstate 40.  It seems in Texas there were only a couple of places.

IMG_1085I would have enjoyed easing through the less-beaten paths in some of the towns but time didn’t permit these extra travels.  However, after thinking back, I wonder how Route 66 was created.

IMG_1086I began researching how Route 66 began but due to time constraints I decided to hold off for another post. So I just posted some of the sights along the way.

IMG_112319624641398_8792293c7c_oIMG_1088IMG_1125Route 66 Philips 66 sign 150628

Route 66 ride continues in OK

Route 66 Weatherford 150628

Thanks for being with me on the Route 66 journey.  Although we didn’t take a lot of time while meandering through the towns, I did pick up on a few interesting areas.  I’ll post a few photos of them.

20364445188_53ba0216d5_oWhen I realized we were actually on Route 66 just west of Oklahoma City I exited at Clinton.  We took a few photos but moved on toward Weatherford, trying to stay off the Interstate.

How does one stop long enough to actually take in all the sites, sounds and tastes of local communities while still trying to cover some ground through multiple states?  I suppose just don’t be concerned about costs and times.  After all, we have these too commodities at our disposal, don’t we?



I appreciate comments from my earlier post on Route 66 in OK (Oklahoma).  Thanks to Laura Bailey at for her insight.

I didn’t realize at the time about Yukon, just west of OK City.  Laura mentioned Yukon on Route 66, before getting to Weatherford, “you’ll see Garth Brooks Blvd.  If you took a left onto it, a short way up is the cemetery where his mom is buried. On Rt 66, AKA Main St, is a restaurant called Fat ElvUS.”  Laura thinks the restaurant is now closed but there were photos of Garth Brooks as a youngster, posted by the locals.   There is another old building on the right as you travel west on 66.  It too is closed down now but has memories as the old bar “Oasis” – that Garth sang about in his song “Friends in Low Places.”

Continuing to Weatherford, we enjoyed just being on Route 66, whether Interstate or the local highway.

Route 66 - Weatherford 150628

Here is a little historical information about Weatherford as described on

“This area has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, and its current Native American population was relocated there after the early 1800s by the U.S. government, when it created the Indian Territory to settle the natives that lived east of the Mississippi River in exchange for their original territories. Reservations were established and the Indians forcibly moved to them. The Dawes Act of 1887 changed the U.S. government’s policy: the natives had to be assimilated. So in 1891 the reservations were dissolved: each tribe member received a 160-acre plot and the surplus tribal land was purchased by the U.S. government for future use.”

Route 66 Weatherford town strip 150628

I wonder how much of Weatherford comprises Native Americans today?  Did they diminish similar to travelers due to growth?


Did these memorable places close because people enjoyed too much of the fast lane on the Interstate, and the mom-and-pop businesses couldn’t sustain themselves?

Route 66 Weatherford Sign 150628 (2)

Elk City, Okla.

Route 66 Magnolia and businesses - Elk City, OK - 150628
Your guess.  Are these artificial businesses in Elk City or actually businesses without customers?

Route 66 - Eddie's Burgers - Elk City, OK - 150628

Route 66 sign - Elk City, OK - 150628

Route 66 sign for National 66 Museum - Elk City, OK - 150628

The National Route 66 Museum provides detailed information and artifacts of the historic route.

The replica Opera House is part of the Route 66 Museum system and is used for event rentals.  Route 66 Weatherford Opera House 150628

Oh, here is another tidbit of information from Blog Writer Laura Bailey.   “If you’re brave, stay at the Ramada Inn in Elk City. Request room 110. Its haunted.”  Laura mentioned there was a shocking incident that occurred there a few years ago.  She indicated room 110 showed up during several haunted house websites.

I’ll leave the haunted room to your imagination and will continue the journey westward through Texas into Arizona.  To be continued …


Route 66 in OK

Route 66 in Weatherford, OK - Grocery Store - 150628America’s highway, Route 66, warrants getting off the Interstate system and taking the back roads, which, in the case of Route 66, was previously the main highway.

This post highlights some of the route through Oklahoma as we traveled westward.  We need to schedule another trip to highlight travels from Chicago to Oklahoma and from Arizona to California.

Route 66 Porter House model restaurant-150628-2
Roadside restaurant that is actually a little museum.  I tried to open the door but realized the restaurant wasn’t operational.  🙂 It sort of takes you back in time a little though.
Route 66 Porter House model restaurant-150628-3
Photo through the window of what it was like along the route.  Take a look at some of the prices.  You won’t find this kind of deal today.
Route 66 Porter House model restaurant-150628-4
Photo was a little difficult as I had a lot of reflection in the glass.  Anyway, you get the idea of how the roadside diner operated.

There are many websites that discuss some of the history of Route 66 and its significance to modern road travels beginning in the U.S. provides good insight and respective photos along and near the route.

The Historic 66 website has a detailed list of activities throughout the year associated with Route 66.  There are various car shows that certainly interests the car and retro enthusiasts.

Road Trip USA has excellent information as well.  Here is a map of the route through Oklahoma.

You’ll notice Route 66 in Oklahoma is also Interstate 44 from Kansas to Oklahoma City, where it then becomes Interstate 40.  Our travel took us from Arkansas on Interstate 40 into Oklahoma City.

I’ll post more images later to showcase a few towns along Route 66.



What is Main Street USA?

Route 66 plague near Painted Desert

Ever heard of Route 66?

Route 66 was born in 1926 and is a highway with more than 2,400 miles long that ran from Chicago through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California – ending in Santa Monica.

Route 66 road sign in Oklahoma

Nicknames for the highway include “The Mother Road”, Main Street USA”, and “Will Rogers Highway”.

Well, I think it’s about time I provide a few blogs about one of our trips through parts of Route 66.  This is the first of my blogs to highlight the famous route.

Route 66 map
NPS map of Route 66.  Route 66 was launched as the nation’s first Federal highway system.  It was intertwined with local, state and national roads.

The National Park Service also has excellent information and history on this “special place in American consciousness.”

I still recall as a young person the move series and couple of guys riding Route 66 in a Corvette and the motto “Get Your Kicks” on Route 66.  Here is a video clip of Nat King Cole’s song that may trigger some memories.


As I think back about the movie I recall the simpler times, local-small businesses, restaurants, cafes and gas stations that catered to the new found freedoms on the road.

That was part of our experience as we attempted to locate Route 66 during our travels into Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.  I actually “stumbled” on the highway initially when I noticed the first sign, and then tried to follow the route as much as possible.  It was interesting and fun.

Route 66 Glenn's Bakery

I’ll just provide a few highlights along the route we traveled.  I was taken back in time as I noticed the historic sites and reminders of our past when people were just taking to the road with the new, influential automobile.

Route 66 motel lists Route 66 as an endangered site as the highway is easing into the past and not aging gracefully.

Here is another result of societal and roadway improvements – this time being set aside by the Interstate System.  I’m glad we have the Interstate but I also like the back roads too – encouraging me to slow down some and take in the sites and sounds.

Route 66 abandoned business

It’s sad in a way as history seems to just dissolve away.  Some of the old restaurants naturally can’t stay in business without help.

I propose groups and businesses take a special interest in keeping this important part of our history.

My next Route 66 blog is coming soon.

With Love,