Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day Forty-one, 090410 - St. Johns, AZ

Day Forty-one, Date Friday, April 10, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:49
Distance for the Day: 63.78 miles: From E of Holbrook To S of St. Johns
Accumulated Trip Distance: 1600.2 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 5205’/5969’, Highest: 6040’, Accumulated: 3576’
Speeds: Avg: 8.1 mph, Max: 28.3 mph
Weather: 38° with mild breeze
Expenditures: $15

Got up a little after sunrise; still no sign of life from the “house,” so broke camp and headed out along Hwy 180. Since I was passing it along the way, I made use of my National Park Annual Pass, and stopped in to see the Petrified Forest National Park. It was very cool, with a nice interpretive center that showed a movie, had dinosaur fossil exhibits (see picture), and of course, the whole story about the fossilized trees of the region. Fascinating process, the replacement of wood cells with minerals – makes for beautiful rocks that look like wood. They make strong warnings to not take samples, as there are pretty stiff penalties if you do, yet it still happens. I put $1 in the donations box. There are two large tourist shops at the entry road to the National Monument that sells petrified wood from a few bucks to thousands of dollars, plus there are rock shops in every town in the entire region that sells petrified wood, so there must be other sources than the Petrified Forest. I asked the lady at one of the two shops at the entry road if they sold over the web, and she said they didn’t, and weren’t interested in doing business that way. I guess the person-to-person business is good enough for them, or they’re technophobes. Too bad – I would have been interested in getting something, but didn’t want to carry that tabletop slab on my trike. Continued down Hwy 180, and made St. Johns at 4:30pm. I spent $14 for supplies, and noted the weather didn’t look real good in the direction I was headed - kind of cloudy and dark. Oh, well! I got several miles south of St. Johns; it was cold and getting real windy, when a very large, solid-looking corrugated steel building up off the road caught my eye. (N34° 24’ 52.3” W109° 24’ 38.6”) I went up to the leeward side of it, didn’t see any cars, and found a nice, clean concrete slab more than big enough for my camping gear. I’ll stay here! I could see a light inside the huge door where the slab was, and could hear a horse inside, so I knew it was a barn. I was setting out my sleeping gear, when I heard a truck with horse trailer come around from the side of the barn I didn’t see or investigate. It was dark out, now, and I waved at the driver, but he didn’t see me. Cool! They don’t call it “stealth camping,” for nothing. I munched on trail mix for dinner, and got to bed a bit after 7:30pm.

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