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December 9, 2010

Road Trip America, Pit Stop #4: Flagstaff via New Mexico and the Meteor Crater

Yesterday was a long travel day of about 10 hours.  We got up early and left the hotel without breakfast in the hopes that we could make it to the Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ before they close at 5pm while still seeing other sights along the way.  I watched Starman about 150 times when I was a kid so I was determined to get to this crater.

Luckily, the other attraction we wanted to see was just 3 miles from our hotel in Amarillo.  Just off the highway is Cadillac Ranch- a bunch of old Cadillacs buried nose down in a field by an eccentric billionaire.  These cars have become an iconic image of Route 66.  It was a beautiful, sunny morning and perfect for hiking out into the field dodging cows (and more importantly cow pies) to take photos of spray-painted cars.  There were paint cans all over the field from tourists coming to tag the art (which is apparently encouraged.) 

We got back on the road and continued the long drive on the open road through New Mexico.  This is quite possibly the straightest, longest road in the world.  Thankfully they increase the speed limit to 75, but it's so open and straight it feels like you're going 40.  We entertained ourselves with more comedy albums and cruised through to Albequerque.  Sadly, there isn't much to report as far as food goes.  I never realized how difficult it can be to eat on the road.  The location we stopped in Albequerque didn't have much that we could easily grab for the road so we resorted to Quiznos. Yuck. I know if we had more time we could've found some great grub but we were on the clock to get to the crater.

A couple hours later, we arrived at the turn for the crater.  As we drove 6 miles down a quiet road in the we saw signs to turn to AM1610 for crater info (along with signs to watch for cattle. The crater property is privately owned and they have cows everywhere, with no fence keeping them from the road.)  We were quite entertained with the crater radio.  The voice on the radio, who I will refer to as "crater man" was very dramatic and enthusiastic.  We burst into laughter as he announced "EXPERIENCE THE IMPACT!"  We got to the site and hiked up the steps to the viewing platform.  We forgot that we come from 340 feet above sea level and this is at 6000 so we were gasping for breath.  All I can say is that it's awesome.  It really is a beautiful and impressive sight.  It's definitely worth the stop.

After the crater we continued on to Flagstaff to the hotel.  (By the way, I highly recommend Spring Hill Suites if you're visiting that area.)  We were pretty exhausted by the time we got in so looked for dinner that we could bring back to the room.  We found a place up the road called Buster's.  I'm pretty sure it's a chain, but it wasn't bad.  We got steaks and baked potatoes.  The steaks were cooked perfectly, but the potatoes were not.  I could tell they were microwaved, but I didn't care.  The meal got the job done.  We were all pretty beat (dogs included) so made it a lazy night and planned our next leg of the journey.

Today we're off to the Grand Canyon then Lake Havasu.  Hopefully we'll find a good dive along the way.


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