Today we left Flagstaff Arizona, and went retro. Back on Historic Route 66, we saw all the kitschy fun sites. Our first stop was Meteor Crater which is in the middle of nowhere, Arizona. That would be about 35 miles west of Flagstaff. About 50,000 years ago, a piece of an asteroid, traveling at about 26,000 miles per hour, struck the desert floor. The result is a crater 2.4 miles in diameter, a mile across, and 550 feet deep.
Although it’s not quite as big as the “hole in the ground” we saw yesterday, this “hole in the ground” was impressive in it’s own right. There are guided tours, and a museum. It does have that kitsch factor, from the alien footprints painted on the ground to lead you from the parking lot to the crater, to the signs along the way and a radio broadcast as you drive up the road telling you to EXPERIENCE THE IMPACT!
We were actually glad we were listening to the radio broadcast, because they told us to stop in Winslow, Arizona, where we can stand on the corner next to a flat bed Ford. There was no question we had to take advantage of that photo op! If you don’t know the reference – it’s the Eagles’ “Take It Easy.” The lyric goes like this … “I’m standing on the corner, in Winslow, Arizona, she’s such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, My Lord, in a flat bed Ford, slowing down to look at me. Click here for a video of the Eagles.
It was pure Route 66 kitsch!
From Winslow, we came to another Route 66 staple -the Wigwam Motel. We had hoped to stay there, however our timing didn’t work out. We couldn’t resist stopping to check it out though!
Next, we made our way to the Petrified Forest.
You may hear the word forest and think trees, but what you really see , are what look like logs made of stone scattered all around the desert floor. The logs are from trees that were knocked down by a volcanic eruption. The trees were buried by mud and ash, sealing them off from oxygen, thereby preventing them from decaying. Minerals from the soil replaced the cells of the tree, turning them to stone. The different minerals create different colors. Quartz is the most common.
The next thing we saw was the painted desert. The layers of sedimentary rock showcase many different colors, making it look like someone spray painted the buttes.
I’m sure this Raven, who certainly didn’t seem fearful of us, reminded Mr. Dickens of his beloved pet, Grip.
From there we visited Puerco Pueblo. A site of ruins from farming homesteaders. The pueblo was inhabited between 1250 AD to the late 1300’s. The above picture is of the Keva. This served several purposes. One was as a general meeting place. Another function the structure had was as a way to settle disagreements. If two tribe members had a disagreement, a relative of each would go into the Kiva together, and couldn’t come out until they reached a settlement. It was like a time-out by proxy!
The main structure had many small rooms. Twenty people stayed in each room. I have to believe these people were tiny in stature.
There are also quite a few petroglyphs still clearly seen on the rocks. There is one rock face that was used as a calendar. The sun creates a line when it shines between two other rocks. When the line of light reaches a symbol they carved in the rock face, it was time to plant.
From here we will make our way to Albuquerque, New Mexico!
A special congratulations to Julie Westphal. She will be receiving an autographed copy of “Christmas Carole” for giving the correct answer to the trivia question in my last post!