Saturday, September 29, 2018


Sun Valley RV Park

Sun Valley, AZ

While researching RV Parks I discovered there were very few choices of places between Gallup and where we had reservations for the month of September in Apache Junction.

We were able to find a park in Sun Valley, Arizona that accepted our Passport America membership. 
After getting set up in our site I turned to Monte and asked him if he remembered pulling into a park five years and me saying to him that I was not going to stay there because there were abandoned RVs as well as old appliances rusting away throughout the park.
Monte responded that he vaguely remembered.  I told him that I think that the park we were currently at was that park.  After checking my notes I confirmed my suspicions.  We had a good laugh about the situation.  In all fairness to the park it is under new ownership and has made great strides in cleaning up the park.

The park is located off I-40 in a remote area so our exploration choices were limited.
One day we took a ride to Petrified National Park.  We had visited the park over nine years ago so we didn’t find it necessary to stop at every pull off.  And it was very hot so we weren’t motivated to take any of the hikes.
After stopping in at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, we drove to the Painted Desert Inn built in Pueblo Revival style in the early 20th century that is now a museum with exhibits on its history and architecture.
Other stops we made include Newspaper Rock that displays more than 650 petro glyphs, some over 2,000 years old,
Agate Bridge featuring a 110-foot long petrified log bridge and
the Crystal Forest where there is a paved loop trail through a badlands landscape with many in-tack petrified logs.

We ended our drive at the other entrance to the park at the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor Center. 
One day we took a ride to Winslow, a town along the historic Route 66.  The town achieved national fame in 1972 in the Eagles/Jackson Brown song “Take it Easy” which as the line “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.”
The city had suffered a loss of commerce when Route 66 was supplanted by Interstate 40 but the popularity of the song has led to renewed attention as a tourist attraction supported by restaurants and souvenir shops.
Another attraction worth visiting, while in the area, is the historic La Posada hotel built in 1930.
  The hotel and the adjacent Santa Fe Railway station were designed by renowned architect Mary Jane Colter.
Last of a series of hotel-depot complexes built across the Southwest in collaboration between Fred Harvey and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
The hotel was closed in 1957.
  It was restored in 1997 and contains many works of art by Tina Mion, one of the current owners. 
  Additionally, the hotel showcases a gallery of photos of famous visitors to the La Posada Hotel in its heyday.

Monday, September 24, 2018

8-22 to 8-27

Gallup, NM

During our stay in Gallup, NM, we attended a free nightly summer Indian Dance at the Courthouse Square.  At the conclusion of the performance members of the audience were invited to join in a circle dance.

We also spent a couple of hours at the Fire Rock Casino.   Monte and I each received $20 in free slot play.  Monte went through his $20 in less than a half hour and spent the rest of the evening listening to a band play in the restaurant.  I continued playing for a couple of hours being ahead most of the time until I lost it all and called it quits. 
Another day we took a drive through Tohatchi, located on the Navajo Nation where we passed wild horses, and a flock of sheep.
On our last full day in Gallup we crossed into Arizona to visit the Navajo Nation Museum, the Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park and the Navajo Nation Code Talkers World War II memorial located in Window Rock.
The Navajo Nation Museum contains exhibits that help to document the culture and history of the Navajo people.
In addition to watching an interpretive video we were able to enter a Hogan, the traditional dwelling of the Navajo people.    
A Hogan can be round, cone-shaped, multi-sided, or square with the door facing east to welcome the rising sun for good wealth and fortune.
The Zoological and Botanical Park, located next to the museum, is the only tribally owned zoological park in the United States. 
The zoo is home to about 100 animals representing over 50 species including black bear, bobcat, Mexican wolves, mule deer, elk, Gila monsters, coyotes, cougars and red foxes, as well as wild turkey, cranes, golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, and great horned owls.

The creation of the Golden Eagle Sanctuary has an interesting history.  The zoo lobbied for funding to build an eagle sanctuary in order to be able to distribute the feathers to tribal members for ceremonial purposes. 
The federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Ace states that any remains of dead eagles are to be collected by the federal government and transported to a central repository in Colorado.  Members of Native American nations must then apply individually to receive parts, such as feathers, in a lengthy process with wait-times that can exceed several years.

A tribal-operated eagle sanctuary constitutes an exception to the process.  In 2015, the Navajo Nation Zoo was successful in obtaining the necessary funding for a large Eagle Sanctuary that is permitted to house up to 25 Golden Eagles.

We ended our visit to Window Rock at the Navajo Nation Code Talkers World War II memorial. 
The town of Window Rock is named for the natural sandstone formation with an imposing arch or window that looms over the Window Rock Tribal Park where the Code Talkers memorial is located.

During WWII, the Navajo language was used to develop an unbreakable communication.  The Navajos were assigned to devise a code in their language that would baffle enemy listeners.  Code talkers served with all six Marine divisions in the Pacific and with Marine Raider and parachute units, where they earned praise for their performance.