The Great Race is continuing its Route 66 journey across seven states, and most of today’s action took place in Arizona, as we quickly headed West out of our Gallup, New Mexico hotels. As we crossed into Arizona, the landscape changed yet again, but it would continue to change even more as the day went on. The morning’s route was straight forward and sent the racers into the Petrified Forest National Park, where they would also make the Blue Mesa loop. The scenery was mind-blowing, and the instructions were challenging, especially in the Blue Mesa loop, where the racers had to maintain a speed of 18 miles per hour. At least that steady speed gave the navigators a chance to look out the window at the beautiful canyons, rock formations and petrified trees. It was truly outstanding. From there, we went to lunch in Winslow, Arizona, passing by a number of scenic Route 66 motels, restaurants and other vintage signs. Previous Great Racer, Rodney Rucker had a couple of his WILD creations on display for everyone to enjoy.
The afternoon route offered an interesting change in terrain and temperature, as we motored into the Coconino National Forest. It was a beautiful escape from the dry, rocky terrain as we gained altitude and started seeing more trees and lower temperatures. As we left Winslow’s lunch stop, the temperature reached three-digit territory, and when we were in the forest, it was in the upper 70s. We also had an interesting encounter, as a forest fire had broken out, which gave us limited visibility and a close view of the flames. As we came down into Flagstaff, Arizona for our evening stop festivities, we could see Humphreys Peak in the distance. It is Arizona’s tallest peak, at more than 12,000 feet high. The Flagstaff stop was packed with spectators, and we certainly enjoyed all of the town’s awesome restaurants. Although we got a break from the hot temperatures this afternoon, we’ll likely see three digit temperatures for most of the day tomorrow. Hopefully, all the cars and racers are prepared for the heat, but we’ll have to wait and see. For now, check out our photo highlights from an epic day of rallying!