There are many amazing sights in Petrified Forest but I don’t imagine you were expecting this one!

This 1932 Studebaker sits where Route 66, dubbed by author John Steinbeck as “The Mother Road”, cut through Petrified Forest, giving it the distinction of the only National Park to still contain part of the iconic highway that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles. Bobby Troup and his wife Cynthia drove along US highways 40 and 66 but when he contemplated writing a song about US 40, his wife suggested he write instead about Rte 66 and also suggested what became the title of a song sung by a variety of well-known artists, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”.

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, take the highway that’s the best
Get your kicks on Route 66

It winds from Chicago to L.A
More than two thousand miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66

Now it goes through Saint Looey
Joplin, Missouri
Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty
You’ll see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona
Don’t forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino

Won’t you get hip to this timely tip
When you make, when you make, make that California trip?
Get your kicks on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66

I’m not sure this driver got his/her kicks here, unless kicking the car in frustration, but it makes a great thing to see as we travel from the Painted Desert Inn and views of the Painted Desert, to the rest of the park. Route 66 no longer exists as an actual highway, although there are sections of it scattered throughout the west and Interstate 40 runs in some of the same spots. But Route 66 still conjures wide open roads and the romance of travel.

I’m guessing there weren’t a lot of creature comforts in this baby and certainly no air conditioning, GPS, cruise control, and the like. If you’d like to take a look at what one looked like before sitting in the desert for years, click here. It was a rather classy ride!

I did have a moment or two of “Mad Max” thoughts as I circles the car taking photos and I’m grateful for the clouds adding atmosphere. Of course as they’re in the atmosphere, perhaps they can’t help themselves.

In the first two years we moved here, 2020 and 2021, the monsoon season that’s supposed to bring most of our yearly rain didn’t. Thankfully we’ve had quite a lot of rain this year, extending even past the usual end of the season. Although over-grazing took its toll on the West in general, the park lands haven’t been grazed for decades and with the rain, that meant a lot of green to be seen, although you mustn’t imagine the green grass of the Midwest. This is after all a desert. But as you can see, the rain brought its share of beauty to the park in the form of flowers and vegetation.

Ok, you haven’t had the promised hikes yet but tomorrow we’ll start out easy by taking a stroll around Puerco Pueblo, although it might not be exactly what you expect. Be sure to bring along water. Whoops! I lied. Tomorrow is Thursday, so we’ll take a look at some doors while still staying in the park. We’ll walk on Friday so you have an extra day to get in shape. 🙂

  1. Those rusty cars, wow, the second photo, the car looks like it’s to take off, fly into similar clouds that are behind it

  2. restlessjo says:

    Love that first shot of the rusty old banger facing you, Janet. That’s what I call character.

  3. peggy says:

    Never expected old petrified cars and car part benches. Ha

  4. Dan Antion says:

    Great photos, Janet. It’s so interesting to see what comes to life after the rain. Also pretty cool seeing what’s lying in the sun, reminding us of a time and a road gone by.

    • Route 66 is such an iconic bit of Americanism that it’s really fun to see bits and pieces of it. Yes, rain here can completely change the landscape, both through burgeoning vegetation and flash flooding.

  5. Ally Bean says:

    Beautiful photos of interesting objects that scream “history here.” What a fun adventure you’ve got going on.

  6. Sarah Davis says:

    It is a life goal to one day drive as much of old 66 as possible

  7. Oh I love the old cars and the flower Janet!

  8. I love the old car and truck there! I had forgotten Rte 66 went through there!

  9. Wind Kisses says:

    I love the photos looking out the car windows. Alleluia for air conditioning. It was such a different time and to think Route 66 was the thing in travel was interesting. And you are so lucky to see green shrubs and flowers. We have been there quite a few times, always dry and often to hot to hike to far. Love these photos.

  10. Hammad Rais says:

    Seeing rusted cars like these in my city, I always wonder what stories they could tell us.
    The ones in your photos are certainly remarkable 🙂