We changed our minds at the last minute and instead of heading to Chiricahua National Monuement we headed north to knock off a few items from our bucket list. Petrified Forest National Forest, Goosenecks State Park and Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Now route 77 out of Tucson looks pretty straight forward when your looking at a map but it was a lesson in patience. There are more stop lights for the first 20 miles then a Walmart has sweat pants.

After the patience test the drive was quite scenic. Along the way we had a white knuckle experience driving through the Salt River Canyon Wilderness Area. Tight curves, 1000 foot drops, steep grades, and low or no guard rails made for a spine tingler of a drive.

Canyon view 2

As we came out of the canyon and I started to get the blood back into my knuckles this fiddle tune started playing on my radio.

Radio

Very appropriate.

We made it to the entrance to the Petrified Forest. There are two gift shops there at the entrance that offer free camping. We found a site and set up camp.

Campsite 2

We thought both gift shops were busy but as it turned out they both had permanent junk cars parked in front so it just appeared that they were busy. Pretty ingenious.

The next day we drove into the Petrified National Forest where Susan was bitterly disappointed.

Sue PF

The 26 mile drive through park was breathtaking. Best left for pictures to explain.

We’ve mentioned the Shunpikers Material before. It would behoove anyone wanting to RV frugally in the South West to spend the $69 for the 5 pdfs. They have paid for themselves over and over. We found the free camping here at the gift shops because of them. We also found places where we could legally pick up petrified wood from the Shunpikers. And that we did. We found so much we left some behind.

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