I love a road trip and this one had all the components to be great: wonderful friend, Cacinda Malony; awesome car, 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited; and fantastic scenery along I-40 as we drove through Arizona on our way east to New Mexico including the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park.
The car, courtesy of Drive Shop, was perfect for this long distance road trip with its many safety features including Smart Cruise Control. With the cruise control on, when I approached another vehicle it would automatically slow the car down. As soon as I got into the other lane to pass, it would automatically speed up. I love this feature. The car also features Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist and more. Take all the safety features, add the beauty of the car, its large screen and easy-to-use GPS system plus more than 40 miles to a gallon and, well, it’s a pretty sweet ride!
As we drove along, Cacinda and I started seeing signs for Petrified Forest National Park. It was a long drive from Phoenix to Santa Fe, our next stop, but we decided to take an hour to see what we could of the park. It was a smart decision.
The park office is close to the highway, but after talking to a park ranger, we realized just how big this park is — 108,800-acres — and decided to drive along the long winding roadway to its end and stop to take photos along the way.
One of the best ways to enjoy and experience the park is on foot so we decided to stop at Crystal Forest, named for the presence of beautiful crystals that can be found in the petrified logs. We walked along marveling at the fallen logs and glinting crystals embedded in them.
There are several trails and hiking paths available to guests, so if you plan ahead, map out at least a half day to properly experience the natural and interesting beauty here in the Arizona wilderness.
All too soon, we had to get back on the highway and back on our way to Santa Fe and more adventure!