Day 40 - Standin' on the CornerMay 31 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 4 °C
Jackie has never been a fan of petrification, so this afternoons adventures were going to be a hard sell. Luckily we both had a good nights sleep, despite trains running all night on the Santa Fe railroad just the outside our motel.
At breakfast, a man was in reception & he confirmed that they had had guests stay, now 4 days ago, who lost their son over the edge at the Grand Canyon. I told him I couldn’t find it on the internet & he told us that apparently the fall wasn’t witnessed so it is not reported. Sounds like a good place to me to push someone the edge!
We needed to spend a further night in Flagstaff, so after breakfast we spent some time on Booking.com (& other hotel websites) & booked a night in a Super 8 motel on the outskirts of town. We then headed out east on Highway 40 for 30 odd miles, passing the towns of Two Arrows & the Ghost Town Two Guns, before turning off towards Meteor Crater Natural Landmark.
We went to the Visitors Centre & gulped at the admission charge of $18, but swallowed it & in fact paid an extra $4 for the 4D immersion ride Collision Experience. Our first port of call was the 4D Collision Experience which was a bit tame & aimed more for kids, but it was good fun. Bizarrely, the pilot, who crashed, was a cartoon rabbit called Jackie!
We then watched a 10 minute movie on the history of the Meteor Crater. We then joined Shawn who was our tour guide & took us out on the Crater Rim. The tour was extremely informative, amusing & well presented. It was definitely worth the admission fee. At the conclusion of the tour, we visited the Museum & went to several viewing points. Our visit lasted over 2 hours.
We learnt lots of facts, way too many to list, but the absolute basics are:-
50,000 years ago, a Meteorite measuring just 150 feet across hit earth at 26,000 miles per hour. The iron-nickel Meteorite weighed several hundred thousand tons & struck the rocky Arizona plain with a force greater than 20 million tons of TNT. The impact within seconds created the Crater which measures 700 feet deep & over 4000 feet across. It is the best preserved Meteor impact site on earth.
In the museum, they have The Holsinger Meteorite, which is the largest found chunk of the Meteorite that created the Crater. It is just a couple of feet in diameter, but weighs an incredible 1440 pounds. It sits on a plinth without any securing, despite it being worth a fortune. Shawn told us it’s current value, although we have forgotten. It was either $8 million, $80 million or $800 million.
During the visit to Meteor Crater, we heard a woman saying how fantastic Petrified Forest was. Oh, Jackie may enjoy it after all!!
Next, we drove to Winslow to look & photo the statues & mural at Standin’ on the Corner Park. It commemorates the song lyric “Well, I'm a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me."
I forgot to mention - after starting to leave, I suddenly realised I needed a photo from a different angle. I jumped out of the car, then realised the car was driving down the road. I jumped back in to discover I had left the car in ‘Drive’ & the handbrake off. The scariest thing about it was, Jackie was looking at something on her phone & didn’t even notice.
We then stopped at a petrol station in Winslow. Jackie left me to fill up with fuel, whilst she inexplicably bought a hotdog. Whilst filling up, I cleaned the car windows, but managed to make them dirtier. After eating the hotdog, we hit the road again only for me to realise I somehow had managed to fail to put any fuel in it. Clever trick.
We then drove the 50 odd miles to the Petrified Forest National Perk, passing through Holbrook, with several iconic Route 66 locations, including Wigwam Motel, which has a classic car outside each wigwam.
Finally we arrived at Jackie’s highlight of the day, Petrified Forest NP. It was $20 entry fee, but not for us. We stopped at the Visitors Centre (for a wee), then took a (very) short walk through the Giant Logs in Rainbow Forest. If I haven’t made it clear, a Petrified Forest is where the trees have over time turned to rocks. For Jackie, it is just a load of rocks that look like logs or logs that look like rocks.
The Petrified Forest NP is a 28 mile scenic drive from one end to the other. To be fair, Scenic is pushing it. We stopped at Crystal Forest, but declined to take the .75 mile trail. We continued to Jasper Forest & Agate Bridge, more trees turned to rock.
Next was Blue Mesa, which we both walked half a mile to view. It was at this point that Jackie declared that the landscape looked like a slag heap at a quarry or a landfill site. I couldn’t disagree, it was lots of grey mounds. We stopped at Newspaper Rock, some writing on a rock.
We stopped for several more views, before ending with a rusty old car to commemorate Route 66, then the Painted Desert. Pinky coloured sand. Allegedly the Petrified Forest National Park is one of the best places in the world to see the fossil record from the Late Triassic Period!
So Jackie’s verdict - “It was sh*t & a waste of petrol“.
For me, “I’m just glad we didn’t have to pay to get in”, but at least we’ve been & I can tell people “It’s sh*t”.
We then commenced the 90 plus minute drive back to Flagstaff. We arrived at our new motel, Super 8, which was a pleasant surprise. We have a nice big room with all mod cons. Jackie who was worried about the accommodation is now happy to stay somewhere if it is ‘Super’.
After checking in we got some booze & fruit from Safeway & returned to our room. We decided we fancied a steak at Sizzlers about 200 metres away, then as a bonus discovered that we had a 15% discount for their. Result!
We went to Sizzlers, where you order what you want at the till, then sit down & wait for it. We both ordered steak with unlimited salad. We both had a huge pile of salad that was to die for, before our dinner & had a second plate ready for our steaks. It was a great meal, albeit we both ate too much.
Song of the Day - Take It Easy by The Eagles.Read more