Winslow Arizona. Yes there are many of us standing on the corner. Taking it easy. And “there’s a girl my lord in a flat bed Ford slowing down to take a look at me”. Winslow does the best it can with the Eagles song. Today there are flowers and candles for Glenn Frey who recently died and reminded us all that we are getting older. Today Winslow is a small town trying to survive being bypassed when Interstate 40 replaced Route 66.
Yet there is more to Winslow. La Posada Hotel is an original Sante Fe Railroad hotel designed by famed Southwest architect Mary Jane Colter and operated by the legendary Fred Harvey Company. The place has been lovingly restored after falling on hard times for decades. The Turquoise Room is not served by Harvey Girls anymore, but the cuisine is still first class. The decor is priceless. The service is up to the standards of the Fred Harvey tradition. Each room is named and totally unique. Many rooms overlook the BNSF main line, still one of the busiest in the country. Train watchers will see up to 100 trains per day. The public spaces are filled with original artwork. The entire property is special. You just feel it when you walk in the door. The staff welcomes tourists, railfans as well as guests.
And then there is McHood Park, a campground about 5 miles from town. We believe the park is named after the very first Harvey Girl. Our initial attraction to the place was that it is FREE. No hookups but we don’t care, we have solar. The park is beautiful. Situated on a reservoir on Clear Creek, the area is surrounded by gorgeous rock formations. There is great kayaking. Many of the sites are paved and all are well spaced. Several have covered picnic tables on concrete slabs. There are more amenities here than most paid parks. While we couldn’t stay long this time, we’ll be back. Stays are limited to 14 days. We don’t usually write about campsites but this was such a nice surprise.
And just a little ways East on I-40 is Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. What a unique sight! A zillion years ago fallen trees soaked up silica from volcanic ash and crystallized into quartz. Gorgeous wood fossilized and turned into agate in a rainbow of colors! To protect this treasure Petrified Forest was one the first areas designated as a National Monument in 1906. For decades people walked off with souveniers but the park service does a great job showing the large quantity and size of remaining specimens. In addition the park preserves The Painted Desert Inn, another architect Mary Jane Colter, Fred Harvey masterpiece. There are beautiful murals by renowned Hopi artist Fred Kabotie and fine views of the Painted Desert, a geologic beauty stretching hundreds of miles across northern Arizona. Within the park are numerous petroglyph sites including “Newspaper Rock”, one the finest we have ever seen.
Trains and history and photography, we found all 3 around Winslow. Please click on the images for a larger view.