Giant crater, the most perfectly preserved Meteor crater in the world.
We woke up at 6am, with a goal to depart by 8am. We even ate breakfast at the KOA kitchen (very good btw, and inexpensive). Alas, we didn't get out until 8:30 (which I still count as pretty good). We did NOT have to mess with the bike rack today other than to re-attach the rope that we had to remove for the tent end. Bike rack held up all day... that sound is Tony breathing a big sigh of relief.
Our first stop was Meteor Crater. Already by the time we got there at about 10 it was 95 degrees. We went outside on the rim trails to get pictures and view the crater. Really neat stuff. Then we went in and enjoyed the museum (including a 20 minute not so great quality informational video). The museum itself was really good, though, and I got a good appreciation for the historical significance of that crater, and how it changed our understanding of solar mechanics.
After the crater, we were cruising down I-40 and Anne read about this town called Two Guns. Apparently, in an effort to capture the attention of the growing number of travellers on Route 66,
The old route 66 bridge across the canyon in Two Guns
someone built up a "wild west" type town along a canyon in the middle of nowhere. They even built a zoo. The buildings were all clinging to the canyon walls. It was really fun walking around in the ruins and looking at the old bridge. If it was not so hot, I think we would have spent a few hours walking around the (quite large) township.
We were happy to hop back into the AC for the short drive to Winslow. We found easy parking at the "Standing on a corner in Winslow, AZ" park (yes, they had an entire themed corner based on that iconic song.. apprently, that song helped to save Winslow from obscurity). They even had a flatbed Ford permanently parked there. Just down the street is a famous hotel in Winslow: La Posada (A Harvey House). They had a little museum and Michelle really enjoyed all of the old pictures.
Ok, so we had to do it. We got sucked into the advertising and the hype, just like so many travelers before us.... we went to the Jack Rabbit. It is nothing but a building selling route 66 swag... just like all the others.
A little Zoo in the wild west town of Two Guns
The reason it is famous, it turns out, is nothing more complicated than anticipation. They had a brilliant advertising campaign that put up signs announcing Jack Rabbit 87 miles away, and reminding travelers every 10 miles or so until they go there. They were rewarded by a famous sign, and a bunny statue to take pictures at. Hook, Line.. Sinker!!! (though all we bought was a root beer and a Snapple).
Next stop was the bustling town of Holbrook. Michelle commented that this was a very normal looking town, and it was. It had a number of iconic Route 66 attractions, but also had a normal, operational township. Holbrook is the home of the TeePee Motel, made famous (again) by the adaptation into the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie Cars. They even parked a tow truck out in the parking lot, along with a lot of neat old cars.
We made our first grocery stop of the trip at the Safeway across the street. Then we made our way across town to the old County Courthouse, now the home of a very cool museum, equipped with a crazy jail cell that was built in England in 1887 and
Standing on a corner
yep, you guessed it.. in Winslow AZ.
then shipped by rail to Holbrook, and used until 1976. In this museum, Anne found a set of stamps that could be used to create math worksheets. This is what they used before copy machines.... leave it to Anne to find Math class related objects in an old west museum!
From Holbrook, we travelled to the south side of the Petrified Forest. It was really neat to learn about how the area was formed, how special it was, and to walk around and look at the actual petrified wood. We spent some time at the museum and watched their show (much better than the Crater's show). We even took a mile hike out with the trees (it was only 91, and there was cloud cover). We found the ruins of a native american settlement, complete with pictographs. Then we continued on to see the Painted Desert.
An aside: years ago, when Anne was a kid, Anne's mom randomly interrupted an unrelated conversation and said "you should really visit the painted desert sometime!". To Mom's defense, she was looking at a National Geographic about the painted desert, not that her family ever let her get away with that. From
It's a Girl, My lord
I just couldn't resist.
that day, whenever someone says something random, the response is "... and you should probably visit the painted desert sometime".... So we did. And it was glorious. Very pretty. Very colorful. Very peaceful. Everything we hoped it would be. We even got about 1/2 the sky cloudy, with shafts of sun illumniating the ground and distant rain... perfection.
After the painted desert, we realized it was getting late, and we realized that we would lose an hour going into New Mexico, so we booked it down I-40 (you know, at 55-60), passed the Welcome to New Mexico sign and made it into our USA RV slot at about 8:45. A short dip in the pool (abbreviated by what we thought was thunder), a quick trip to the neighboring Taco Bell, and we are ready for bed.
Tomorrow we head out very early (without the trailer) to go see Four Corners.
Tony's Trailering Tips - It is a good idea to run your refrigerator on DC when driving to save on propane. However, when you are stopping a lot in 95+ degree weather, check your battery level occasionally.
Michelle's Musings - The painted desert is really red.
Her own world
How are you going to see the world if you don't actually look (we said to Michelle as she was immersed in Electronics in the car. We made her stop through the National Parks).
Annecdotes - You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher.
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