“Well I’m standin on a corner in Winslow Arizona
(Sing it with me!!!)
Such a fine sight to see….
It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford
(What is she doing??? She’s…)
slowin down to take a look at me
Come on baaaaaaaaaaaaaby
Don’t say maaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here again…
And that’s pretty accurate cuz – really? – there’s just not that much in Winslow and you’re probably not coming back.
The thing is, it wasn’t always this way. Back when iconic Route 66 was, well, iconic, Winslow, and all the other towns along the road, were booming. Route 66, also known as “America’s Highway” or “The Mother Road,” was one of the original routes in the U.S. Highway system. From 1926 to 1985 it provided a direct link from Chicago to Los Angeles, and it was the main method by which Americans, with their ever growing love affair with cars and the open road, got to the west coast.
However, as the federal government built the modern interstate system, Route 66 became obsolete. By the late 1970s, most of it had been replaced by modern highways, and, as fewer and fewer motorists used the historic road, the many service stations, motels, restaurants, and businesses that had cropped up along the way, quickly fell into disrepair. Whole towns simply died.
Winslow might have suffered the same fate if not for its good fortune of being cast in the Eagles classic ‘Take it Easy’ in 1972. And in 1999, when a group of forward-thinking locals planned and financed “Standin on the Corner Park,” the town became a required stop on the modern “Great American Road Trip.”
The park, located in the center of town, brings the song’s lyrics to life with a statue of Jackson Brown, guitar at his feet, standing next to a light post in front of a painted mural. Among other things, the mural depicts a red Ford truck driving by the storefront behind Browne’s statue.
In 2016, when Glenn Frey passed away, the town added a statue of him to the park.
There’s also a vintage red truck sitting at the curb…
and a huge Route 66 sign painted on the pavement in front of the park…
During our visit, we watched a steady stream of tourists wander over to take photos and hang out with Glenn and Jackson. The park is clearly a centerpiece for tourism in this little town and has helped keep Winslow relevant for road trippers traveling through the area.
Fun fact we learned in Winslow: The mural on the wall behind the statues is called a Tromp O’leil – a French term for “deceive the eye.” It’s basically a piece of art that creates an optical illusion.
La Posada Hotel
A couple blocks from “Standin on the Corner” Park is the historic La Posada Hotel. The hotel was built in 1930 to serve guests using the town’s Santa Fe Railway station as well as those traveling on Route 66. Both the train station and the hotel were designed by architect Mary Jane Colter. The hotel complex closed in 1957 and was abandoned soon after. For many years, there was talk of demolishing it entirely. However, in 1997, restoration work began and today, the facility is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.
The hotel is a must-see while in Winslow. From colorful stucco walls to bright clay tiles to intricate wrought ironwork, every door, gate, window, and stairway offers something unique and compelling.
In addition to checking out the beautiful architecture, we perused the large gift shop, and stopped for lunch at the Turquoise Room Restaurant located inside the hotel.
Fun fact we learned in Winslow: The Fred Harvey Company owned numerous restaurants and hotels (including La Posada) that served railroad passengers beginning in the 1870s. “Harvey Girls” were the young women chosen to work at the company’s facilities. Applicants were required to be between the ages of 18 and 30, white, single, and educated. While employed, they were subject to strict rules about their appearances, dress, and lifestyles. Young women sought these jobs because they offered good pay and an opportunity to work outside the home.
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park has two unrelated major features. First, is the large collection of petrified wood that can be found in the southern section of the park. Second, is the “painted desert” which makes up much of the northern section.
What is petrified wood and why is it there? Petrified wood is a fossil. It forms when organic materials are buried in sediment quickly enough and for a long enough period of time that all the living material inside the object is replaced by minerals.
Typically, when a tree falls, it decays as it sits on the ground, exposed to air and the organisms that feed on it. However, over 200 millions years ago, when this part of the continent was a tropical forest, downed trees were quickly washed into a river and buried by mud and sediment. This prevented the trees from decaying in the usual manner. Meanwhile, the ground water that flowed through the region was full of minerals, including silica from surrounding volcanic ash. Over hundreds of thousands of years, the silica and other minerals flowed into the buried trees, gradually replacing their organic matter and crystallizing.
Over the next several million years, as the Colorado Plateau lifted up, erosion dissolved the surrounding dirt and rock, and the fossilized trees were left on the surface.
The crystallized rocks feature different colors depending on their particular mineral makeup.
Upon leaving the southern section of the park, where most of the petrified wood is located, visitors can drive north along the park road through the painted desert. The landscape features beautiful patterns of striated colors – everything from blues and purples…
to reds and pinks…
and, sometimes, all of the above…
Unrelated to any of these beautiful and intriguing natural phenomena is one stripped down, rusted out, 1930’s era Studebaker sitting on the side of the road.
Historic Route 66 cut right through the national park and, at some point, someone abandoned this old car on the side of the road, where it has remained for decades.
Fun fact we learned in Winslow: Petrified wood is not scared. It’s just a rock!
One of the few things that bums us out about visiting our country’s glorious national parks is that we have to leave our dog behind. Dogs are almost uniformly banned from national parks. However, there are a handful of parks that not only permit dogs to visit, but welcome them as – wait for the awesomeness – “BARK Rangers“!!!
B.A.R.K. stands for
Bag your pet’s waste
Always wear a leash
Know where you can go
Assuming you can manage these four requirements, not only does your dog get to call himself a “BARK Ranger,” but the real NPS Rangers give him cookies!
And you can get an official Bark Ranger dog tag!
It’s legit, y’all!!!
Fun fact we learned in Winslow: No matter how many times we talk about “BARK Rangers,” it always makes us smile.
50,000 years ago an iron-nickel meteorite, estimated to be about 150 feet across and weighing several hundred thousand tons, slammed into a wide open expanse of land located just west of Winslow. Scientists believe it was traveling about 26,000 miles per hour when it struck, causing an explosion greater than the force of 20 million tons of TNT.
The impact left a crater 700 feet deep and 4,000 feet across. Today the crater is just 550 feet deep, the result of erosion continually pushing dirt and debris back into the hole over thousands of years.
For many years, people believed the crater was the result of a volcanic eruption because there was no meteorite at the bottom of the crater. Scientists believe this chunk:
which was located nearby, broke off from the main meteorite as it was falling through the atmosphere. The larger meteorite disintegrated on impact.
It wasn’t until the 1940s, when a scientist who had studied the environmental impact of nuclear weapons testing in New Mexico studied the Winslow crater, that it was confirmed the crater was the result of a meteorite and not a volcano.
The crater is located on private property and is managed by a private organization. While we thought the overall admissions price of 18.00 was way too steep, they have a decent museum which includes information about other meteorite strikes, the history and study of this particular crater, as well as NASA’s use of the crater to train astronauts.
We were able to join a tour, which was great, until a storm came across the area which forced the guide to end the discussion early. If you visit the crater, definitely try to take the tour. We learned a lot and would not have felt the visit was worth its cost if not for the tour.
Fun fact we learned in Winslow: You can charge people an enormous amount of money to look at a hole in the ground and they will totally pay it.
All in all, while Winslow wasn’t the most thrilling stop along our route, we did enjoy seeing its one of a kind natural features and learning about its interesting history related to its location along Route 66. While I wouldn’t say it’s a destination in and of itself, it’s certainly worth a visit if you find yourself in the neighborhood.
Now please enjoy singing “Take it easy” for the rest of the week.
Next up on the blog: We head to Albuquerque and Santa Fe for some fantastic food, fun reunions, and standout art. In real time, our penchant for finding truly awful weather continues as we bounce from wind storm to deep freeze to blizzard, and back again.
Pro tip: In Spring, just go to San Diego. And don’t leave.
Where we stayed: Homolovi State Park, Winslow, Arizona
Very cool! We would have liked to go to the petrified forest when we were in AZ but just didn’t have the time. If we go back, that will be at the top of the list. The meteor crater is pretty cool, too! I love Thor as a B.A.R.K ranger. He’s so official!! ????
Yeah, I would say Petrified Forest is probably not worth a separate trip, but if you’re in the area again, it’s worth checking out. And once you’re doing that, you may as well go see the crater. It’s all stuff that you don’t get to see every day, but, it’s also not the Grand Canyon…. Arizona definitely has some cool stuff. That’s for sure! And Thor says “Thanks!” He’s just trying to figure out when he gets to chase bad guys and bite them…
We’ve made many a stop in Winslow over the years, such a cool little town. Still, haven’t been to Meteor Crater, another visit there next year so we’ll have to add it to the list.
It’s worth checking out, for sure! Just make sure you get on the tour – and you might want to call beforehand to make sure tours are scheduled. I think it varies day by day based on weather and stuff. We got lucky, but in the future, I’d call first and make sure.
If everyone would follow the rules of BARK Rangers, pets wouldn’t have been banned in the first place. Thor is a great model with his fancy tag. We really enjoyed the Petrified Forest. It’s hard to imagine the area as a tropical location. Did they still have signs up warning of aggressive bees in the area? We skipped Winslow and the crater, maybe next time. I hope you finally found some good weather!
Sadly, I absolutely understand why NPS doesn’t allow dogs in most parks. While I think there is some truth to the concern that dogs could interfere with other wildlife, I think the real reason is simply that people are irresponsible. We see it all the time. Owners not picking up after their dogs, dogs off leash, dogs where they’re not supposed to be, etc. It’s really frustrating because it ruins it for everyone. It sounds like each park administrator has the option of allowing dogs in their parks. The majority say no, but every so often, they say yes. At least the dogs we saw at Petrified were well behaved. We need a lot more of that.
We didn’t see any signs about bees, but we didn’t stop at every overlook or trail. Have they had an issue there in the past?
There was one sign about aggressive bees at the trail leading to the ruins of the settlement when we were there last year. We didn’t actually see any bees, but we didn’t g looking for them either. I’m allergic, so I give all bees a wide path it I can! The warning about the bees in the Petrified Forest concerned me less though than the sign we saw at Bryce about the prairie dogs that were carrying the plague! Or the sign I saw on our paddle down the Weeki Wachee about the water moccasin breeding area. Geez, all the ways natures can kill you while you are having fun. lol
Haha… you are not just kidding. As we continue to trek north, we’re transitioning from having to worry about rattlesnakes to bears… super hungry, cranky bears that just woke up from their long winter slumber… Uh oh….
That sucks that you’re allergic to bees. I’ve actually never been stung, so I have no idea if I am or not. It’s not something I want to find out. And I’m really not sure which is worse overall – death by angry bees, water moccasin attack, or the plague. They each bring their own unique qualities to the table, I must say….
Well, while we ponder all that, you guys stay safe!
I’ve wondered what the petrified forest was all about. Your post helped clear things up. Very interesting facts. I get what you are saying regarding the weather this year. We’ve been on the road for 3 months and have been dealing with rain, wind and cold temperatures nearly the entire time, even while in Tucson and Palm Springs. I’m just COLD, and tired of being COLD. The thing is, we are heading north, working our way to Alaska. I don’t see warm temps in the near future. Thanks for sharing all of the fun facts about Winslow.
Ughhhh, I SO understand what you mean. We were in Tucson just before you guys and we, too, have been COLD pretty much the entire winter and now spring. Last year, I think I wore my winter jacket maybe 6 or 7 times. This year, it’s basically been every day. And we are also heading north at the moment (on our way to the east coast), so it’s not like it’s going to get much better very soon. Of course, on the other hand, you are heading to Alaska which will be AMAZING…. so at least you’ve got incredible scenery to look forward to. We’re just heading across Indiana and Ohio. Not quite as beautiful…. 🙂 Anyway, here’s hoping we all get some sunshine and warmth sooner rather than later!
We also bounced around Arizona searching for that rumored desert heat, end result was we booked a park in south Florida for all of next winter. If that doesn’t work I’m building a tropical biodome!
HA! Funny story: we, too, are booked in Florida all of next winter (bouncing around, but staying within the borders of the state…)
If it’s terrible there, I hear Fiji is nice….
Just have to figure out how to get the RV there! 🙂
Awesome! We’ll probably run into you guys in some brewery there 🙂
Please post a video of the two of you singing Take It Easy. Thank you!
We passed through Winslow a few years back, but we missed the must-see hotel. We’ll be back through that area in the fall, though, but as you said, once there is probably enough. We’re also not paying to look at that big hole, which I didn’t know cost money to do. $18?! That’s a lot of sour cherry balls. Have you ever seen the movie Starman? If not, your evening just got made.
Petrified wood isn’t scared!!! Hahahaha!!!!
Yeah, the $18 was really pretty high. I will say, we don’t mind paying for some of these private museums because we understand we all pay for our national parks and Smithsonians with our tax dollars. If the museums are well done and informative and interesting, we certainly don’t mind supporting them by paying their admission fees. It’s just got to be a reasonable number. And, in this case, absent the tour, we would have missed a lot of crucial information. I think it should be more like $10 rather than $18.
As for Starman, I have not seen it, but I will look into it. I am, officially, intrigued!!
Hey, this life style is really more about finding these little out of the way nuggets than in visiting the huge National Parks isn’t it? Everyone does those – all at the same time it often seems. These small, ordinary memories are often the ones we smile and talk about fondly ever after. We’ve never stopped at the meteor crater – it seemed to be extremely pricey to see a hole in the ground. I suppose, though, if one lived out in the middle of actual nowhere and lots of people drove by on their way somewhere else, one would be justified in making a little money where one could. Bark Ranger….I love it!
You are absolutely right. While we’ve had nothing but great experiences with the national parks, we’ve also had fabulous visits to much smaller museums and privately managed natural phenomena like this. We have no problem paying admission fees for these kinds of places. Hell, we all pay taxes that support NPS. It’s just gotta be reasonable. Either way though, I’m glad we went. It really is a one of a kind spot – one we knew nothing about before we started looking into the area. Which really is what this trip is all about… So much to see and learn.
Sing it? Heck, I grabbed my guitar and PLAYED it. An hour later I remembered why I opened my email in the first place and got back to work…
You guys are a bad influence. 😉
Haha! I’d say I was sorry that I screwed up your good intentions for the morning, but I’m really not. I think it’s awesome! It’s such a great song, and definitely an ear-worm. I’ve still got it stuck in my head!! Anyway, hope you enjoyed the little musical interlude!! 🙂
Thor…you rock and how exciting to be able to tag along with your family!
Great info on Winslow Laura. We have never considered a stop there although I do love the Eagles and “Take it Easy”! The motel is gorgeous. Beautiful pictures of Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.
The weather has been crazy…it was 70 degrees last Wednesday, then snowed on Thursday and it’s been cold since! ????
Thank you! It’s definitely worth a stop, especially since so many of us make that trip across I-40 once in a while. Plus, Homolovi State Park is right there and it offers a pretty great park in a convenient location. As for the weather, yeah, “NUTS” is the word I would use. It snowed here yesterday and was 65 and sunny today. It would be great if Mother Nature would just make up her mind already. 🙂
I love that song. And now, thanks to you, it will play as a background loop in my head all day, and probably tonight when I’m trying to sleep…and by the way, where is the photo of you Standin’ on the Corner? Did you resist that tourist moment, or do you secretly have photos you’re not sharing? 🙂
This is a great post (with beautiful photos!) of the charms of Winslow and the surrounding area. We’ve stayed at Homolovi several times in our cross-country journeys and loved it. And I’ve been wanting to return to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest and to La Posada. That place fascinated me, including the story of the couple who renovated the hotel (does she still have her wild artwork upstairs?).
By the way, congratulations to Bark Ranger Thor! That is a VERY cool tag for his collar!
Of Course we took a photo with the statues! We are professional tourists after all! We live for that shit! I just don’t post every picture of us because I figure people probably don’t really care to see all of them. Oooh! Maybe I should just save them for one post and do a collage of Kevin and I standing all over the country?? Ha! As for La Posada, we didn’t head upstairs. We just wandered through the bottom level after lunch. Hmmm, maybe that was dumb? But honestly, there was so much to see on the first floor, we could have spent hours looking around. It really is such a beautifully detailed building.
Also, sorry about the endless loop of Take it Easy… If it makes you feel any better, it’s been stuck in my head for WEEKS!
I vote YES to a collage of you guys standing at tourist spots all over the country…????
Love the whole Bark Ranger thing. Yeah, spring can be a challenging time to travel. When we lived in southern Colorado, we knew April would always bring one or two snow packed storms…. winter’s last hurrah before spring sets in. Keep ‘living the dream’ ????
Yup, we’re in Southern Colorado now and have gone from 70 degrees to blizzard to 60 degrees to snow dusting to sunny and 65… it’s so unpredictable here. Anyway, all that aside, we do try to live the dream… even if we do spend a lot of time bitching about the weather. 🙂
We were in Winslow last year with our friend, Roy, who sang the song repeatedly during the eight weeks his wife Judy and him joined us on the road. We took so many photographs and videos while we were there because Roy was making it so much fun dancing in the park and belting out the lyrics. We also visited the 911 memorial in Winslow, which had two beams from the World Trade Center. Roy stepped up to touch them, as did we all. It was an emotional moment, and I remember looking over at Roy as tears slid down our faces. I didn’t realize how poignant those moments would be until Roy passed away suddenly just a few months later. I hope the dying town revives–it holds some special memories for us. Beautiful photos, Laura. I think you guys appreciated some of the same stops we did. Safe travels!
Hey Dawn, I remember reading your beautiful and poignant tribute to Roy when he passed away. It’s one of those things we think about all the time – we’re just out here having fun and trying to make the most of this awesome experience we’re fortunate enough to have, but at any moment, it could all be gone. It’s important for us to all remember that. I’m so sorry about your friend. He sounded like a wonderful person and I know you were all so close. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories of your time together.
Love some of the neon still on Route 66 but it is disappearing way too fast. Safe travels
I know. We saw a handful of signs, but there’s not much left. It’s a shame to see it go. 🙁
Great story, been there, done that. Very new to your blog; loving it. New to the area and RVing. Since you are headed to Santa Fe I am thinking I should share two locations that you might enjoy; albeit a little early in the season. Chama, NM is a step back in time with a great steam locomotive station and a fully functional train that features a great ride, ok meal, and great views. The second gem that I found north of Santa Fe is Infinit BBQ on the North side of Farmington NM. I drove 450 miles to check out their BBQ and it was worth every mile.
Love your blog, hope you have great weather the rest of the year; although that would be boring.
Hey! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comment! I really appreciate it!
As for Santa Fe, unfortunately, we have already been there and left. My blog is always a couple weeks behind our travels, so we left Samta Fe about a week ago. The good news is, we only saw about 12% of what’s there, so we’ll most certainly be back at some point.
Chama sounds very interesting and the kind of thing we would enjoy, and if you know anything about Kevin, you know he LOVES BBQ, so your restaurant recommendation will not be forgotten, especially if you’re telling me it’s so good, you’d drive 450 miles to get it. I’d say that qualifies as high praise for sure!!
As for the weather, while I appreciate the writing prompts that terrible weather provides, I think I’d be OK with a week of boring at this point 🙂
Bark rangers, I like it.
Right?? Love it!
Your pictures of the painted desert are fantastic, and bark rangers are such a cute idea! The crater looks really cool, too.
Thank you! They are all worthwhile stops if you guys find yourselves in the neighborhood. Speaking of which, I hope you all are busting out of Michigan soon!
This is a fun stop. We stayed at Homolovi, as well. I had so much fun exploring the ruins. The pottery pieces were amazing. Some (the yellow ones) were from the travels to and from Chaco back in the day. I even found a little leg from a pot. The Petrified Forest NP was unbelievable. I couldn’t get enough of this beautiful rock. We hike three days in the area and I just drooled my way through. So glad to see Thor is able to join you now that he is part of the Bark Patrol.
I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but we never checked out at the ruins at Homolovi. I know, I know . We were “right there” but we just never motivated ourselves to head over. What can I say? Sometimes we just fail at tourism. Oh well… next time?? Anyway, we wandered a handful of the trails at Petrified, but because we were parked at Homolovi, we only had one day to visit. It would have been nice to have more time, but we’re glad to have gotten a taste of the whole place. The trails we did check out were wonderful. As always, we wish we had more time to explore these incredible parks.
I have never been to that corner in Winslow, but thanks to your singing and tidbits, I don’t have to visit it. This part of AZ, Steve has to drive twice, first by himself when I have to fly to Phil for an emergency. He was in awe and liked it so much that he blogged about it while I was away. When I came back he drove me there leaving Betsy behind in Cottonwood and had a three-day road trip to see these places and drove all the way to Canyon de Chelley. The scenery provided a welcome salve for my grief over my mom’s loss.
And here I thought we had the crappiest weather 🙂
Congrats to the new BARK ranger. I wonder if Thor would have that stern look!
I can see how the scenery in this area could be quite therapeutic. It really is incredible stuff. One place we did not get to visit was Canyon de Chelley. I know it’s high on a lot of folks’ lists, so it’s still on ours. We just didn’t have time to get there this go-round. Anyway, I’m glad you got to see this stuff and I totally understand why Steve was in awe the first time around.
And I promise, we are winning the award this year for crappiest weather. 🙂 Let’s hope it gets better for all of us.
I smiled about Bark Ranger every time you said it and because I was smiling, I forgot about singing … thanks for reminding me again at the end of you post!!!
LOL. Just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget!!
Beautiful photos of the painted desert! And yes, that hole in the ground is pretty amazing when you realize what it is. I grew up seeing those things with my dad’s family being from Arizona, so I always like seeing other folks discover them.
It is crazy to me that neither of us even knew that crater was there. I don’t remember ever learning about it in school or hearing about it otherwise (Of course, it’s possible I was just slacking off in school). In any case, it’s incredible to me that there are so many of these fascinating one of a kind places in this country, and I realize how fortunate we are to get to see them as we travel.
Last spring, on our way to our hosting gig up near the Tetons, we did pretty much everything you did, Winslow, the “corner”, LA Posada (including upstairs ), Petrified Forest N.P., and Homlavi State Park AND Show Low and Fools Hollow State Park (great campground and lake ).
On our property in Quartzsite, we have (created) a meteor crater. Although its only one foot across and six inches deep, it was created by a meteor (shovel) the same size as the meteor near Winslow. Erosion filled it in to it’s present size. We only charge $10. Because…erosion. But for you, Laura… $1.50. Kevin is still $10. We don’t allow pets. 🙂
Hahaha… I like this idea. You should go for it. Hell, the Kardashians are billionaires…. You never know what you can convince people to pay for if you market it right! 🙂
My sisters and I used to love the movie, “The Harvey Girls” starring Judy Garland! I think we even played pretend games where we were Harvey Girls. The Painted Desert showed up as a random MSN backdrop on my work computer a few months ago and I was mesmerized. Very cool that you were there!
Interesting! I had no idea there was a movie. We’d honestly never heard the name Fred Harvey or heard of Harvey Girls before. I’ll have to look the movie up! As for the painted desert, it truly is an otherworldly looking place. I don’t think my photos captured it at all. It was like walking on Mars or something. Really neat stuff!
Definitely had the song stuck in my head while reading your post haha! We were in this area in 2012 and now I’m itching to go back. I’d love to see all of this again and I want my dog to be a Bark Ranger <3
I feel like EVERY dog should be a Bark Ranger!! 🙂
Love the BARK Rangers! What a cool program! And I enjoyed your commentary as usual. Safe travels!
I think it’s so cool too! It’s just unfortunate that so few national parks are taking part. It sounds like the decisions are made by the individual park managers. Maybe if people can be on their best behavior with their dogs at these few parks, the program will grow… Sadly, I’m not holding my breath…. 🙁
The Barringer (meteor) crater is one big hole in the ground. So big in fact that I flew an aircraft down into it one day. As I was flying below the rim of the crater I was looking up at, and waving to, the sight seers standing along the railing at the lookout. Thanks for sharing your travels with us. I’m looking forward to seeing where you wind up next. Enjoy!
Wow! That’s crazy. Oddly enough, during our tour of the rim, the guide mentioned that there was some wreckage from a small plane crash in the crater. I don’t remember when the incident occurred, but I definitely remember him bringing it up. Given the crazy winds there, I can kind of imagine… Anyway, thanks for following us and thanks for your comments! It’s always fun to chat with folks who stumble upon my blog. Hope you have a great weekend!