Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From Wigwams to the Grand Canyon

Ned and Joe Show Off Our Camp at the Grand Canyon

After a good nights sleep in our wigwam we turned left onto Route 66 towards Flagstaff, AZ. On the way out of Holbrook we passed the "World's Largest Petrified Tree" at the Geronimo Trading Post. Just outside of Joseph City we stopped at the Jackrabbit Trading Post. There used to be billboards all along Route 66 counting down the mileage to the Jackrabbit. It was closed because of the hour but the boys got to sit on the giant jackrabbit out front.

We made a quick stop in Winslow, AZ to stand at the famous corner and take a look at La Posada Hotel. The corner was under construction so we only caught a passing glance but La Posada was open. La Posada Hotel is an ornate former Harvey House designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and built in 1928. It was beautifully restored by the current owner in 1997. It would be a great place to spend a few nights.

Outside of Winslow is Meteor Crater. I have wanted to see Meteor Crater since I was a kid. I used to have a set of flashcards that featured Meteor Crater on one of them. The crater is the best preserved meteor crater on earth and is just under mile wide and 570 feet deep. They also have nice museum with exhibits on other meteor impact sites and meteorites pieces. The boys' favorite was a computer program to determine what would happen to the Earth if different sized meteors, asteroids, or comets hit the earth. I think to most people it is a big hole in the ground but I am glad I had the chance to stop.

We stopped in Flagstaff for a tasty breakfast at La Bellavia and walked around town a bit. Here we left Route 66 and head north to the Grand Canyon. We stopped at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument on the way. Sunset Crater is an extinct cinder cone volcano that last erupted sometime between 1040 and 1100. The eruption affected the lives of local people and forever changed the landscape and ecology of the area. The lava flows and cinders still look as fresh and rugged as the day they formed. We did a ranger program on the lava field and the boys received Junior Ranger badges.

We made no more stops until we reached Grand Canyon National Park. I was worried because I knew the main campground at Grand Canyon Village was full but we were able to get a space a the Desert View Campground. After setting up camp we walked over to the Desert View Watchtower, a Mary Coutler designed building which beautifully blends with the landscape. We watched the sunset and then returned to camp and made smores over our campfire. That night as we lay down in the tent we were serenaded by coyotes' howls.

Ready to Leave Our Wigwam

The Last Jackrabbit Billboard Tells Us We Made It

Route 66 Is Well Marked in Arizona

Joe, Ned, and Mary at the Entrance to La Posada

The Road to Meteor Crater

Joe, Mary and Ned on the Edge of Meteor Crater

Sunset Crater

Our First View of the Grand Canyon

The Colorado River

The Moon Over the Watchtower

Holbrook, AZ to Grand Canyon National Park Desert View, AZ, 203 miles 4 hrs

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