Our Family Adventure

Wigwam Motel To Petrified Forest To Painted Desert To Albuquerque To Tucumcari, New Mexico


We awoke in our little smurf-like wigwam and prepared for the days trip ahead. We headed out on day 4 taking a final look back on the Wigwam Motel, still enthralled with it. Our first stop I had originally scheduled to be a simple hour at the Petrified Forest National Park Museum. We took a 20 mile journey off the I-40 heading south down the 180 and ended up at the Petrified Forest National Park.

Boy was I wrong on the allocated time for this! One good thing is that we had purchased our National Park Pass for $50 at the Grand Canyon and so we didn't have to pay the entrance fee's to the museum. My wife and I were happy about that. We spent a good hour alone at the museum watching the movie on the formation of the Petrified Forest and looking at all the polished trees. We then headed out behind the museum and took a walk around where they had some larger tree's that were in their raw state. They're really pretty rough, but they have a majestic art quality all their own in their natural state. This park was originally designated a national monument by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906.

Petrified Forest Petrified Forest
Petrified Forest Petrified Forest
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We got in the car and started off on a journey that I hadn't expected. A long road that heads north about 30 miles through the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. It ends up looping around at the end and hooking up with the I-40. They have stopping points along the way where there are some really incredible views. Included in these stops are some Indian etchings called petroglyphs and some archaeological digs are still underway at Puerco Pueblo, a 100 room pueblo built around 1250 that may have housed up to 1,200. You could see the little dig tents and we even could look into one. It was pretty cool.

Painted Desert Tepees
Painted Desert Painted Desert Painted Desert Painted Desert
Painted Desert Painted Desert Painted Desert Painted Desert
Bird Petroglyph Petroglyph Face Petroglyph Three Deer Petroglyph
Bird Petroglyph Petroglyphs Faces Petroglyph Three Deer Petroglyph
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We finally reached I-40 and started off east across the final portion of Arizona.

We were way behind schedule entering New Mexico. Passing through Gallup we continued along I-40 all the way through Albuquerque. We had planned on stopping at Tinkertown, a little place just outside Albuquerque in a place called Sandia Crest. Tinkertown is named such because over the past 50 years the couple that runs it has created thousand of wooden miniatures and staged them in scenes. Their slogan is "We did all this while you were watching TV". Unfortunately with the prolonged stay in the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert this was the one planned stop along the whole journey that we missed. I thought it would be really cool for the kids to see. It was a major draw along the old Route 66.

Along the final half of New Mexico we passed some strange things I didn't expect like the giant cross and windmill farm below. I have been through the 680 area in California where they have the large windmill farms on hills, but I didn't expect to see one out here in New Mexico. We also passed some plowed fields that were bright red in color.

Large Cross Windmills in New Mexico Red Field in New Mexico
Large Cross In New Mexico Windmill Farms Red Plowed Field
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I'm not sure what church that cross is for, but it was pretty impressive in scope.

We headed to our final stop after a long drive across New Mexico, stopping in Tucumcari, a place I had never heard of, but a lot of the old timers I talk to smile when I mention it. Tucumcari should just be renamed to Motel Town because that's what it is. Miles and miles of every motel and hotel you can imagine. The one good thing about all of these motels is that with so many they're in competition and we found a motel run by a Pakistani family (at least I think they were Pakistani) that was only $21 a night for a double. It was dark when we checked in and after dropping our stuff we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a fast food place and hit the rack. My wife and I both agreed that it was much better than the overpriced Hualapai lounge and the toilet didn't overflow.

We nodded off and looked forward to the next day of our trip across the USA.

  1. Sacramento To Redondo Beach
  2. Redondo Beach To Hollywood To Route 66 And Oatman, AZ
  3. Grand Canyon Caverns To Grand Canyon To Meteor Crater To Wigwam Motel
  4. Wigwam Motel To Petrified Forest To Painted Desert To Albuquerque To Tucumcari, New Mexico
  5. Tucumcari, New Mexico Through Texas Panhandle To Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial
  6. Dealey Plaza In Dallas, TX To Louisiana Downs At Harrah's In Bossier City To Bonnie And Clyde Historic Marker In Gibsland, LA To Vicksburg, MS
  7. Vicksburg, Mississippi To Demopolis, Alabama To Florida
  8. Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
  9. Orlando, Florida To Daytona Beach To Savannah, Georgia To Myrtle Beach, South Carolina To ???
  10. Ferry To Ocracoke Island And Cape Hatteras Outer Banks, North Carolina To Wright Brothers National Monument At Kitty Hawk To Newport News, Virginia
  11. Newport News, Virginia To Washington DC To Rochester, New York