We set out around 10am and drove a a couple of hours south to rejoin Route 66. Our first notable stop of the day was the Painted Desert/ Petrified Forest, which is a national park. As we love driving so much, we decided to take the 27mile drive around the park.
The painted desert is an area of desert with rolling red hills, which made for some good pictures. The Petrified Forest is an area that was once an ancient forest, but over time the forest fell and the trees were fossilized and turned to rock. Again, we took some pictures, but having seen Monument Valley the day before, it was hard to be impressed with what we were seeing.
We continued to follow R66 west, towards the town of Winslow, Arizona. On the way to Winslow, and after driving 3/4 of the way across America, the inevitable happened. Whilst driving through a small town and crossing a bridge, I looked up in my rear view mirror to see the flashing lights of a police car, so pulled over to the side of the road.
The officer who pulled us over informed me that I was driving at 50mph in a 35mph zone, and so asked to see all of our ID’s and ran some checks. He cracked a joke before he went off to run the check which put us at ease, and he seemed like a nice enough bloke. It seemed to take an age for him to run checks on us, and the boys took great delight in telling me what was going to happen to me in the local jail that night whilst we waited for him. When he eventually returned, he told me I was getting a written warning, which was a relief as we were expecting a fine. He still couldn’t resist another joke before he let us go, and told Baz that whilst running a check on his ID, it had flagged that Baz had been in trouble for firearm and explosive offences. He definitely had Baz going for a moment! I think by now he was enjoying the attention, as he even posed for pictures with us before sending us on our way.
We continued to Winslow. To be honest, there isn’t much to see, but it is the location of an old song which references ‘standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona’, so naturally we took advantage of a photo opportunity. At the cross roads on Winslow is a giant Route 66 sign painted in the road, so we all took the time to get our pics taken.
Next up was the Meteor Crater, a huge crater in the middle of Arizona caused by a meteorite striking the desert 50,000 years ago. Apparently the crater can hold 2 million spectators around the rim, watching 12 football matches in the middle. Needless to say, it was amazing to view from the edge of the rim. There was a museum which provided some more info on meteors and this particular one, so we browsed the museum before making our way towards Flagstaff.
We found a hotel in Flagstaff, and after being deprived alcohol for 24 hours, made our way out for a few beers. What was already a memorable day was made even more so when we tried to get a taxi back to our hotel. We asked a police officer where we could find a taxi, and upon hearing our accents, he offered us a lift home.
Baz rode up front so myself, Leccy and Sticky sat in the back for a couple of miles as the officer took us back to our hotel. It was quite a cool experience, although the back of a police car is pretty bleak. For the second time today, the officer was happy to pose for a picture before he left. I’m guessing theres not much to keep them busy in this part of Arizona.
Next stop: Kingman, Arizona (via the Grand Canyon)