We left the Grand Canyon and headed south to Flagstaff AZ. I wanted to drop in to the REI store in Flagstaff to check them out. We had camped in Glendale next door to a couple who were using the Kingdom 4 tent from REI. I was impressed with the tent from the distance and asked for a guide tour — which was happily granted :-D. After seeing the details I was even more impressed and wanted to check out REI. It turns out that they are ‘related’ to MEC which is a very equivalent (high-end) camping store in Canada. I signed up as a member when I learned that they have periodic deals for members and once I checked out the Kingdom tent in detail at the store — this was our “next” tent.
After our REI mission was completed, we headed out eastward along I40 to Holbrook AZ. Along the way, we decided to take a side tour to the Meteor Crater site. Well, that was a mistake. Sadly, this is a private site which appears to be focused on extorting a very large fee to see ‘the hole in the ground’ — we declined to be extorted and left in disgust (along with many other folks who had been also suckered into making the side trip from the I40).
We arrived at the KOA in Holbrook and tried to set up our tent. We had some challenges with wind in Glendale. The tent we were using is a bit too big for its skeleton and does not do well in high winds. That day, the winds were steady around 40mph from the south-west and we were simply unable to get our tent up. Even if we had managed it, camping out in the open (the camp is pretty exposed with very little shelter from the wind and sun) in that kind of wind would have been a miserable experience — no fire, no cooking and far too much chasing of flying equipment. So we gave up the concept of camping for that night and found a hotel. We had a fine dinner in a (surprisingly) good Italian restaurant and had an early night.
We were up the next day just after sunrise and headed to the south entrance of the Petrified Forest National Park. Although there were some clouds, it was a good day for a visit and we leisurely toured the park road and scenic stops. After we were done with the park around mid-day we decided to ‘boot’ for Denver and only a small rest there and the return trip to Toronto remained of our Colorado Plateau adventure for 2017.