From Phoenix, AZ we planned to head to the Petrified Forest National Park before continuing to Chinle, AZ.
Our route was to take the AZ-101 Loop East from north Scottsdale to E Shea Boulevard. We took E Shea Boulevard east until reaching AZ-87 North to the intersection with AZ-260 E. When we reached the intersection with AZ-277N we turned left and continued north for around 7 miles before turning onto AZ-377N to Holbrook. After lunch in Holbrook we then followed the signs to Petrified Forest entering via the southern gate.
From the Petrified Forest we were going to the I-40 E and then US 191 N to Chinle.
The weather was terrible when we left Phoenix. Much of the road from the hotel to the AZ-101 Loop was covered in brown water. The rain had started overnight and regular flash flood alerts from our mobiles seemed to suggest it wasn’t stopping soon. In fact as we drove the reports on the radio suggested it was very unusual and we would later hear it referred to as the “hundred year storm“.
Our choice of car suddenly seemed like a good one as the 4 wheel drive and the additional ground clearance made the drive easier than it could have been.
Throughout the drive to Holbrook we were dogged by rain and overcast skies, but as we approached Holbrook the sun appeared and the rain stopped. After a quick lunch in Holbrook we drove to the south gate of the Petrified Forest National Park with the idea of driving north through the park and exiting onto I-4o.
Pictures from our trip through the park are online here.
The pictures we had seen before we travelled didn’t do full justice to the park. It’s a fantastic location with truly amazing scenery and seems surrounded by the phenomenal horizons that the area is famous for. Throughout our visit the sky was overcast with only occasional bursts of sunshine, so my pictures don’t really capture the colours or atmosphere.
The northern exit from the park is at the Painted Desert Visitor Centre and from there we took the I-40E to US-191N onwards to Chinle where we stayed at the Holiday Inn just outside the entrance to Canyon de Chelly.
Not long after we left I-40 our mobile phone service stopped, and this was the case until arriving in Page, several days later! Apparently if you have an international mobile this is the case in Navajo territory as the mobile provider does not have any international agreements. While we routinely had WiFi, the lack of easy mobile use did prove to be inconvenient on a few occasions.