From Chaco Canyon, my destination was the Grand Canyon. But, I had a full day to get there and get my new campsite set up.
So I stopped along I-40 east of Flagstaff.
But first, I want to mention that Chaco Canyon is really remote. Leaving it going in a southerly directly required going over about 20 miles of dirt road, criss-crossed with cattle guards.
Oh, and there was this guy just ambling along the road.
Anyways, as you enter into Arizona from New Mexico, you shortly come across the painted desert, and there is about a 30 mile drive you can do that takes you through it.
This is the classic view.
And a slightly less classic view.
One more of the colorful shots.
The road continues south to the Petrified Forest. These are trees that grew 225 million years ago. They got collected in a swamp, where lack of oxygen prevented decay, and over time their soft tissues were replaced by minerals.
The best part is the “Long Logs” trail at the very southern part of the park, where there are logs just scattered everywhere. Here’s one of them.
And here it is up close, in cross-section.
It was a welcome diversion during a long drive.