Thursday, July 1, 2010

Painted Desert to Canyon de Chelly AZ

Here is one of the stops explaining the geology of the Painted Desert on the road in the Petrified Forest National Park.

The colors of the desert changed all along the route as we travelled north.

Here is the adobe looking overview where once the Fred Harvey crew served 35 cent beers overlooking the Painted Desert. The flag was flying half mast today as we learned Senator Byrd had just passed. This perhaps was one of the sites the Santa Fe and Fred Harvey concessions visited during the era of the Indian Detours.

Inside the building is some if the Hopi art that still adorns the walls. Sadly the National Park Service does not serve any food these days.

Here is a photo of how the building was built first from the petrified trees and later, according to the story in the Park literature, the WPA or CCC groups of the 1930's covered the original work to look like standard local adobe. This is some of the exposed work on the side that faces west down below.

After a quick stop at the Hubbell Trading Post we stopped at the Thunderbird Lodge inside Canyon de Chelly National Park where we spent the night. Here, below the cottonwood trees in a refreshing morning breezed we shared coffee and stories with folks who were lining up to take the tours into the canyon. I chatted with the Dine' guides about the best ways to make the trip back to Phoenix for our Tuesday night commitment at Landmark Education and here we decided to drive the south rim and take a scenic drive through the reservation to Holbrook and then to Flagstaff on our way back to the Valley.


  1. 向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

  2. Thomas,
    enjoyed your travelogue of Fred Harvey country. If you and your readers are interested in more on these subjects, they might want to check out my new biography of Fred: Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire that Civilized the Wild West (Random House) or check out my One Nation Under Fred blog at and, in answer to your query, the Indian Detours did not extend to Painted Desert, at least not during the years Fred Harvey ran them. La Posada was built, in large part, to be the link between the Grand Canyon and the Detours routes in New Mexico so that Painted Desert could be included on the trips. But by the time the hotel was done in 1930, the world had changed and the company was arranging to sell the Detours business.

    May Fred be with you.

    Stephen Fried
    adjunct professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

  3. Translation for the first comment:

    Walking like a snail is better than standing still.

    (Revision is welcomed.)