27 February 2010

The Road to Wupatki

Snow pretty much covered the ground in Flagstaff; however, the roads remained relatively clear. We took US-89 north to Sunset Crater National Monument.

That night as we slept, a new storm moved in. This one was heavier then the day before.

Flag is an odd place though. While a big storm was raging in town, just outside of city limits it was clear. Go figure.

We came a cross a road that would take us to Wutapki National Monument and 800 years into Arizona's past.

I was not familiar with Wutapki National Monument which includes Wukoki ruins, but was very glad we came across them.

The Wukoki ruins can be seen from quite a distance .

Established by the Sinagua, Cohonin and Kayenta Anasazi pueblo people in the 1100's, the major influx of people came after the eruption of Sunset Crater which resulted in improved agriculture productivity due to volcanic ash.

We continued our drive after Wukoki and headed to the Wupatki ruins, just as fascinating.

The Wupatki ruins contain what archeologists believe is a ball court, similar to the courts found in Meso-America. This is the northmost example of this kind of structure in the US.


After leaving Wupatki we began our trek east, back to New Mexico. Just outside of Flag we hit a snowstorm. This was just a sneak preview of what was to come just past the New Mexico border.

Of special note:

Just east of Flagstaff you will come across a Route 66 landmark - the Twin Arrows trading post.

The trading post was a popular stop up until 1985. Since then it has fallen into ruins. I would pass it every time I drove from LA to Albuquerque watching it slowly decay.

I'm here to report to you GOOD NEWS! The Hopi Tribe and the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona have joined together to save the trading post. Their hope is to turn it into an outdoor market place and a staging area for Native Dance. WoooHooooo!!

For more info and to help the restoration visit:


As we approached the New Mexico border we saw this cool dust storm:

As the afternoon gave way and night approached we drove into Grants, New Mexico and the Mt Taylor area.

...and the worst snowstorm I have ever had to drive in.

Grants is notorious for bad snowstorms. The earlier news reports had said that a storm was coming but would not hit until later that night - WRONG!

A wall of white hit suddenly and it was so hard to see the dividing lines of the road. It is something I NEVER want to have to drive through again.


I'm out.

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