We got a much earlier start on the road this morning, but only drove about 80 miles again. We headed out to Meteor Crater this morning to see the “first proven, best preserved meteor impact site on earth”. The crater was formed about 50,000 years ago when a meteorite traveling 26,000 mph struck the ground creating an explosion equivalent to a 20 megaton atomic bomb. The result was a crater measuring over 4,000 ft in diameter and over 700 ft. deep. Debris from the strike rained down over an area of several miles from ground zero. The crater has an interesting history since it was first reported in 1871. In 1903 a mining engineer, Daniel Barringer, came to the site and spent the next 26 years trying to find the meteorite body that struck the site so he could mine it and sell it for iron ore. In 1929 he finally gave up when his drill rig jammed and broke and he had no equipment or funds to continue. Barringer died later in 1929 without ever finding the meteorite. He never found it because it was never there since it had broken up and/or vaporized upon impact. The Barringer family leased the land to Bar T Bar Ranch in 1941 that owned much of the land surrounding the crater. In 1955, Bar T Bar formed Meteor Crater Enterprises, Inc. and entered into a long term lease with the Barringer’s to use the land for science and education. Between 1964 and 1972, Apollo astronauts trained at the site in preparation for lunar landings. The crater was designated a Natural Landmark in 1968. The visitor’s center is relatively new and features a museum that covers NASA activities at the site and information on meteorites and meteor craters around the world with many hands on exhibits. They just replaced their old introductory movie with a new HD version that is very informative. We went on an hour tour of the rim of the crater which takes you out to the first house built on the site, now a relic pile of stones, and to an area with fossils that were unearthed by the meteor strike. All in all the two and a half hours we spent there were well worth it.
After lunch we hit the road again jumping on and off I40 to catch the drivable sections of Route 66. Our first stop was Meteor City Trading Post, one of 3 or 4 we stopped at along the way. Sue was in her glory, a lot of shopping and not much buying. At Meteor City we met three women in a Minnie Winnie on a 3 week cross country vacation. They had been to California and were on their way back to Flemington, NJ. When I walked into the Trading Post a guy was standing at the counter trying to sell them some blankets and bed spreads. He looked up and saw I had a camera and asked me to take his picture. I said sure, but I wasn’t sure what good it would do him if he couldn’t get the picture. His friend gave me an e-mail address that I could send it to. Both had and accent, but I’m not sure where they were from. The Trading Post is in a large geodesic dome painted with many Indian symbols. They also have what they claim is the largest map of Route 66 on the fence outside. After leaving Meteor City, we passed what remains of the Leupp Corner Trading Post. Not much there and it was located on a part of Route 66 that was abandoned in 1969 so the road was not drivable.
The next stop was Winslow, AZ made famous by the Eagles song “Take it Easy”. In case you don’t remember the lyrics (I’ve been singing them in my head for a few days now): “Well I’m standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine site to see; It’s a girl my Lord in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.” At the location of the corner of “Standin’ on the corner” is a statue and a realistic mural with a women in a flatbed Ford looking. They’ve also parked a red flatbed Ford on the corner. Other than the corner and some of the old vintage signs from Route 66 businesses (not many of them appear to be open) there’s not much going on in Winslow these days. After Sue finished shopping at the “Standin’ On the Corner” Store we headed east on I40.
We left I40 at Jack Rabbit and pulled over for some pictures at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. Except for the billboard out front it didn’t look very interesting so we didn’t do any shopping. We moved on to Joseph City which has a short stretch of Route 66. There was really not much there except the ruins of the Lone Wolf Trading Post, Ella’s Frontier Trading Post (allegedly the “Oldest Trading Post on route 66”), and a historical marker for a fort that was established in 1876 by the Mormons who settled Joseph City. Ella's Frontier Trading Post closed in 1984 when Ella Blackwell died.
One more trading post until we can stop for the day - Geronimo Trading Post. They specialize in petrified wood and turquoise jewelry as well as the typical novelty items we’ve seen in most of the others. Sue bought 2 silver bracelets. The petrified wood stuff was expensive ranging from a couple hundred dollars for book ends to several thousand dollars for a slab of polished petrified wood. Even if I wanted to buy one of the larger pieces, I not sure how we would have gotten it home as some must have weighed ton. They had an 80 ton petrified tree trunk on display outside(See picture with Sue).
We pulled into OK RV Park in Holbrook for the night. After bedding down Winnie, we headed into town for dinner. We ate at Romo’s that features Mexican and American food. I had chicken enchilada and taco platter with green chili sauce that was delicious. Sue had a Navajo taco made on Navajo fry bread that she didn’t care for.
We have one more day for sightseeing before we need to be in Albuquerque which is about 235 miles away. We’re in pretty good shape. The weather has been great, but a little windy. We were talking to some people that had come from the Balloon Fiesta who said it was too windy yesterday to launch the balloons. The forecast is for thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday, our first 2 days at the Fiesta. I hope the Weather Channel is wrong. Stay tuned for more adventures.