s/y Nine of Cups
Rediscovering America - Arizona
Summer 2010
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Arizona Facts...

Capital: Phoenix
Area: 114,006 sq mi - 6th biggest state
Population: ~ 6.6 million
High Point: Humphreys Peak - 12,633'
Low Point: Colorado River, only 70 '
State Nickname: Grand Canyon State
State Flower:  Saguaro cactus blossom
State Bird:  Cactus wren

Arizona was the 48th state in the USA; it became a state on
February 14, 1912.

The word Arizona comes from one of the following (its
origin is not certain): the Aztec Indian word "arizuma," that
means "silver-bearing," from the Tohono O'odham Indian
word "Aleh-zone" which means "small spring," or the Pima
Indian word "Ali shonak" which also means "small spring."
  • Arizona's most abundant
    mineral is copper. The amount
    of copper on the roof of the
    Capitol building in Phoenix is
    equivalent to 4,800,000
  • Arizona observes Mountain
    Standard Time on a year
    round basis.
  • Four Corners (the meeting of
    Utah, Arizona, Colorado &
    New Mexico) is the spot in
    the US where a person can
    stand in four states at the
    same time.
  • At one time camels were used
    to transport goods across
We headed out of Gallup, NM and
picked up Route 66 which parallels
I40 west to Flagstaff. Do you
remember Buzz and Marty? Of
course, heading straight home
would have been way too boring,
so we found the Petrified Forest
National Park not far off the track
and decided to stop there for a visit.
Route 66...America's mother road
Petrified Forest National Park was a unique place. A
wonderful visitor center offered a free orientation film and lots
of information about the area. A 28-mile park road crosses a
painted desert, offers trails to the remains of a pueblo occupied
some 600 years ago, Newspaper Rock and of course, lots of
opportunity to see petrified wood.
David surveys the beauty of the painted desert.
The Painted Desert Inn is now a national historic
landmark which is part of the national park.
The Blue Mesa trail  meandered through a
different type of landscape.
A side-blotched lizard suns himself.
The remains of the Puerco Pueblo which was
inhabited about 600 years ago.
Newspaper Rock was very intriguing with
more than  650 petroglyphs etched on it by
native peoples of the past.
At the point where the park road crossed
over Rte 66, there was a monument to the
Mother Road.
The Rainbow Forest Museum, also part of
the park, offered a "petrified forest trail", lots
of petrified wood exhibits and displays of
prehistoric animals that roamed the area in the
Triasic period. Above, a model therapsid.
Prehistoric trees in this ancient floodplain, fell
and were washed downstream, got
waterlogged and sank. Silt, mud and
volcanic ash buried the logs and silica-laden
groundwater seeped through the logs,
replacing wood tissue with silica deposits
and voila...petrified wood! The petrified log
"boulders" were innumerable in spite of the
fact that many visitors take illegal souvenirs.
Okay, so we really should be making tracks,
BUT there was the sign for Walnut Canyon
National Monument and cliff dwellings...what
could we do? We had to stop. We're addicted
to national parks!
Our ears were popping!
The native peoples who lived here under the
overhanging limestone cliffs are known today
as Sinagua (people without water).
A self-guided, well-illustrated Rim Trail
allowed us to use our imaginations to conjure
of up images of what life must have like.
The dwellings have been dated to between
1125-1250 AD and the people were very
innovative in their use of their natural resources.
Marcie noticed some fuchsia flowers en
route to the park and asked the ranger what
they were...locoweed!
Trading posts were and are common
in New Mexico and Arizona. They
sell, buy, trade, barter and pawn.
We got a charge out of the "Welcome
to Holbrook, AZ" sign which
incorporated the local petrified wood
into the act.
Quoth the raven: "No trespassing!"
We spent the night in Flagstaff and found there
were two other national monuments in the
area. The road to
Sunset Crater Volcano
was a blanket of sunflowers.
The volcano  "blew its top" sometime
between 1040 and 1100 and is the most
recent volcanic activity in the Flagstaff area.
A one-mile Lava Loop Trail at the volcano's
base allowed us to view a variety of features
illustrated by well-placed placards.
A spatter cone is formed of molten lava ejected
from a vent with the consistency of taffy.
Expanding gases in the lava fountains tear the
liquid rock into irregular gobs that fall back to
earth, forming a heap around the vent. The still
partly liquid rock splashes down and over the
sides of the developing mound is called spatter.
900 years after the eruption, vegetation is still
limited and the sides and edge of the crater
are still ash, cinder and barren.
One of the most prevalent flowers in the
area is Apache plume.
Airzona's natural wonders include the Grand Canyon,
Havasu Canyon, Grand Canyon Caves, Lake Powell/
Rainbow Bridge, Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, Monument
Valley, Sunset Crater, Meteor Crater, Sedona Oak Creek
Canyon, Salt River Canyon, Superstition Mountains,
Picacho Peak State Park, Saguaro National Park and  
Chiricahua National Monument.
The original London Bridge was
shipped stone-by-stone and
reconstructed in Lake Havasu City.
Ponderosa pine grows in spirals as seen by the
trunk above.
There were some sunflower whoppers in a
"native" garden near the visitor center.
Wupatki National Monument is just north
of Sunset Crater Volcano, but is a totally
different experience.
The sunflower plant is native to North America.
The wild sunflower is so common in the plains
states, it is actually a serious weed problem.
The Wukoki Pueblo ruins were beautiful, but
this was just a warm-up for the Watpaki Pueblo
ruins just up the road.
These ruins were absolutely magnificent. At least
125 different types of pottery have been found
here suggesting that a rich culture lived and
traded here during the 1100's.
All too soon we were back on the
road, driving the last leg to Las
Vegas. Couldn't resist a quick stop
at the"Road Kill Cafe".
We crossed over the Hoover Dam and
knew we were nearing our final
After nearly 2 months on the road, we returned to
Nevada where we'd stay for a couple of weeks
before returning to New Zealand and "Nine of Cups".
David has lots of house projects to complete for his
sister and Mom. Marcie has all that "thrifting" to do to
complete her wardrobe for the next year or two.

So the end of yet another adventure...stay tuned for
more updates when we get back to
New Zealand.
Who knows where you'll find us next?
The last "Welcome to" on our trip!
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