Saturday, 3 March 2012

March 2nd, 2010

Yesterday morning we said our goodbyes to Tom and continued on with our journey.  Brad offered to ride with us to Gallop which was super nice of him to do.  The skies were clear and the air a bit cool; the three of us rode out of the city limits while Amanda and I bid farewell to The Duke City. 
A short break in Grants to shake out the legs
The three of us had lunch at the same Cracker Barrel when we passed through Gallop on our way to Albuquerque
Speak of the devil!  We met the same couple who warned us about the cold front coming into Grants.  They must be regulars here at Cracker Barrel.
The three of us parted ways after lunch and wished each other a safe ride.  Brad had hooked us up with a place to stay in Grand Canyon where an old air force buddy of his worked at the local air traffic control tower.  We weren’t expected to be there until the next day so we rode back to Petrified Forest National Park to spend the night there.  We had plenty of time to explore and find a nice backcountry camping spot within the Painted Desert Wilderness Area.
Checking out the rooms at The Painted Desert Inn; a historic landmark.
You can't actually check into a room here because the place is so old, but we would if we could...stealthily of course.
The Painted Desert in all its glory
Like most National Parks, you have to hike at least one mile away from the road and find a spot where you’re not too visible.  Fear over theft, Amanda decides to haul all of her gear.  One mile might not seem a lot, but if you look at the terrain in this pic, it’s a pretty steep descent to the bottom where we have to camp.  I opted to bring just the essentials. 

By this point Amanda regrets that she hauled all of her stuff and vows never to do it again.
Huge pieces of petrified wood were scattered everywhere.  We decided to call it quits and camp where Amanda is standing.  Just as we were about to set up our tent, a lone camper hiking towards his campsite warned us that he tried to do the same thing the night before and was raided by park rangers in the middle of the night.  Thanks for the tip; we decided to hike the full mile. 
We couldn’t have picked a better site.  We were surrounded by vast desert with no view of any civilization whatsoever.  We woke up the next morning and couldn’t differentiate whether we were on earth or on another planet.  It was simply breathtaking. 
Here comes the hard part: The ascend
We bumped into these guys while we were packing our things.  They were on a road trip themselves and had left roughly around the same time when we did.  They call their rig “The Bunny and the Burrow”.  We really liked their setup; must be nice to have in wet weather. 

Someone might steal it.
I’m carrying all my stuff.
Ugh!  This really sucks!

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