Dateline May 25, 2017: Sedona, Petrified Forest National Park, Sante Fe and Palo Duro Canyon

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Sedona with Marty and Jeff

After enjoying the day and night at Huego Tanks Park in Texas, we started the trip to Sedona, Arizona spending the night in Tucson along the way arriving at Marty and Jeff Skelley’s home around noon.

It had been four years since Janice and Marty had been together.  Their friendship began when they were freshmen in high school, but the old adage was true, it was like they were together the day before!

Marty and Jeff just moved to a great home in a cute neighborhood just outside Sedona with spectacular views.  Of course it goes without saying we enjoyed wine and fabulous food.  Marty is one of the best cooks we have ever met.   Before John met Janice, Marty and Janice would cook Thanksgiving dinners together for years.

We spent the tree wonderful days.  Jeff, who is a pilot, has a drone that he uses for various photography projects so he took us out in the desert to fly the drone.  John got his chance to fly it for a while and was thrilled.  We then drove over to a friend of theirs winery and Jeff took some pictures of us sitting outside enjoying the wine.


Jeff is a very interesting person, quite an artist, his drawings are great.  The project we enjoyed most was a series of bronzes which are beautiful.  They gave us on this one “Late for Tee” which he put together based on an old cowboy golf tournament on horseback that happened every year in Arizona. The sculpture is displayed in our house and is magnificent.You can see most of them at his website JeffSkelley.

Jeff continues to work on various projects.  He developed a model for a Jewish Temple for Jerusalem.  The model’s location is based on the biblical location of the original Temple of Solomon and Herod. adjacent to the Temple Mount.

Model for a new Jewish Temple in Jerusalem

Jeff’s Press Release about the model explains much better than we could.

Jeff Skelley Studio in Sedona, AZ, ([email protected]), has created a 6 foot by 4 foot architectural model of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem including the south wall of the Haram esh Sharif or “Temple Mount” as it is mistakenly called, that must be built in order to fulfill Biblical prophesy. The general feeling is that the Temple belongs upon the Haram, already the location of the Muslim Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Extensive research has proven this claim to be completely false, and the Skelley Model places it in its rightful place over the Gihon Spring, named after a holy river in the Garden of Eden, in the old City of David or Zion as it was called, where David placed the Tabernacle and Solomon was coronated King. The model should stimulate much discussion and is based on the research done by Ernest Martin in his monumental work “The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot,” and the work of Robert Cornuke’s “Temple,” both of whose arguments eliminate any shadow of a doubt as to the veracity of the location. It is hoped that this model will help diffuse the long time adversity between Jews and Muslims over the “Temple Mount” and free the Jews to build their prayed for Temple.

Time passes quickly with great friends so it was time to leave.  We had been staying at the RV space at Sedona Pines Resort, a very nice time share community  where Marty is an ace salesperson.

We departed early Friday towards Flagstaff and on to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. Being from Florida and it being the middle of May we ran into cars coming down from Flagstaff with snow, we were pleasantly surprised as we got to Flagstaff, it was beautiful with snow on the hills and mountain.

Meteor Crater

Marty and Jeff suggested  a few stops on the way to the Petrified Forest – Painted Desert. We stopped at Walnut Canyon National Monument but unfortunately we got there one hour before the park opened so instead of waiting we headed to Meteor Crater.

What an interesting stop when you consider that the NASA effort to put a man on the moon used this crater for moon landing training purposes.  It is fun to imagine Neal Armstrong walking around the Lunar Module and practicing his famous quote: That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”

This property is privately owned but is know as a National Natural Landmark. The crater is about 3,900 feet in diameter and 560 feet deep. The meteorite crash about 50,000 years ago and is estimated to have been 160 feet long, having lost half its size on decent. It was not until 1960 that definitive proof of it being a meteor was discovered.

Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

On to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. We entered through the south entrance of the Petrified Forest and the visitor center.  They had a number of trails to view the petrified logs.  John asked one of the rangers why when you looked at the logs they look like they have been sawed through or pieces laied around that looked like they were cut.  Let’s go to the FAQs at the park!

Why do the petrified logs look like someone cut them with a saw? Petrified wood is mostly silica—quartz. The logs are very hard (7.8 on the 1-10 Mohs hardness scale!), but brittle. After petrification, but while the logs were still encased in matrix rock, the logs cracked under stress. As the logs eroded out, from gravity and ice wedging, the cracks widened and segments separated. Silica naturally breaks on a clean angle.

The importance of these national parks is beyond the petrified wood and the beautiful colors in the desert. The parks average elevation is 5400 feet. At least nine species of fossil trees from the park have been identified; all are extinct. The park has many other kinds of fossils besides trees. The Chinle,  is considered one of the richest Late Triassic fossil-plant deposits in the world.

The Chinle Formation was deposited over 200 million years ago during the Late Triassic Period. The colorful badland hills, flat-topped mesas, and sculptured buttes of the Painted Desert are primarily made up of the Chinle Formation, mainly fluvial (river related) deposits. Within Petrified Forest National Park, the Chinle Formation is further divided to include the Blue Mesa Member, the Sonsela Member, the Petrified Forest Member, and the Owl Rock Member.

Newspaper Rock

Newspaper Rock is not a single rock, the site has over  650 petroglyphs. The petroglyphs were created by ancestral Puebloan people living, farming, and hunting along the Puerco River between 650 and 2,000 years ago. There were so many to look at,  here are a few pictures of the rocks.

Painted Desert-Awsome Beauty

The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”  Here’s 6,000 words!


Our plans were to spend the night in Holbrook on Route 66. We parked the RV and had some dinner getting ready to our next stop,  Sante Fe New Mexico. Along the way we had gotten on, off and back on Route 66 for some of the driving. It does make you smile at some of the old signs. In the Petrified forest there was an old Studebaker right there where Route 66 use to cut through the park many years ago.


Santa Fe

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

The city of Santa Fe, founded by Spanish colonists in 1610 and  is known as the oldest state capital city in the United States.  We arrived around lunch time and headed to the Palacio Cafe which was recommended by friends, Sandie and Skip, that were there only a week earlier in their RV. While the tourists were all waiting in line at various restaurants, we headed back down a side road to this small cafe.  Sandie was right the food was excellent, best chicken enchilada and John had a wonderful beef burrito. It was full of “locals” and the staff was wonderful.

We walked around for a time by the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. We walked across the street at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. They were having a family day where children and parents could paint on canvas and all were having a great time.

We enjoyed walking through town and found a number of street entertainers including  these singing Native American  chants it was quite beautiful. There was a rock in the square that was put there in the early 1900’s about the Santa Fe trail. The trail connected Missouri through Kansas and southern Colorado to Santa Fe. When rail service came into existence in 1880, the trail was no longer used.

It was time to return to our little “home on wheels” and head back towards Texas.

Palo Duro Canyon – A Must Visit

What a magnificent Texas State Park.We arrived at the canyon with plans on spending the night camping.

The Canyon is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Its elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level. It is often claimed that Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest, the Grand Canyon, is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft. deep.

Palo Duro Canyon was formed by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The water deepens the canyon by moving sediment downstream. Wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon. Here are a few pictures.

After driving around for about three hours we decided this place would need a couple days for hiking and just relaxing, enjoying all the vistas, so we would include this in our next trip out west.

can be!!

We will head out again in July for summer fun, our plan is to play local golf courses, visit family and take Janice up to Newfoundland to play in the Canadian Senior Women’s amateur. We will be back to you then. Happy summer 2017!


  1. Mark

    Well it certainly look like you guy’s had another great adventure, it just goes to show you ya don’t have to travel far rom home to see some incredible sights and have a blast. Then to have the opportunity to see old friends I’m sure made it even better, now let’s get back to teeing it up!

  2. Love your photos of the Painted Desert! I can’t wait for you two to go to Newfoundland….I’ve heard so much about it from several of our members.

    Be safe on your trip home. See ya’ soon!

    1. John and Janice

      The colors are amazing. This will be our second trip to Newfoundland and we are so looking forward to it.
      Here are the two posts from our 2012 trip:

      Thanks so much for your comments.

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