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Friday, November 6, 2009

We are getting our kicks on Route 66!

Ok, that is pretty cliche but ehhh, who cares. It's about the truth! Matt and I left Flagstaff this morning and headed east on I-40, which also happens to be Route 66 as well. Our destination was going to be the Petrified Forest National Park, a little past Holbrook, AZ. On the way, as we passed beautiful scenes of blue sky and red and yellow grasses, we passed a sign telling us about the Meteor Crater Natural Monument. I had never heard of it, so we tuned into the radio station it advertised for more info, and after conferring together, we took the right hand turn off I-40 in the direction of Meteor Crater. Once we arrived, we initially almost turned around because of the $15 entrance fee for each of us. Yes, we are a pretty stingy couple. Instead, we decided to splurge [I mean, we are on the trip we saved for!] so we bought our tickets. Once inside the monument, we decided to partake in the 1 hour tour from a guide. Usually, we'd opt for the self tour, but because the guided tour offered a more up close and personal view of the crater, we decided on that. Plus, it was free. Ha! :) We are glad we did the guided tour; it was so interesting! This is the best perserved crater in the world, because of the arid climate of the AZ desert. I was stunned that they only get 7 inches of precipitation [rain and snow] a year on average. Coming from Minnesota, where it is entirely possible to get 5 inches of rain ONE NIGHT. Wow! Anyway... this crater is 2.5 miles in circumference, 4000 ft in diameter, and 600 feet deep. The tour guide informed us all about the crater and what has happened in the time since it was discovered, all in an hour. We got to see some fossils that the meteor unearthed when it crashed, so that was awesome for me.

After the tour, we looked through the museum for awhile, and then when into the gift shop. We found these mexican poncho/jacket things there that were a steal. Although they were unlike what I would normally pick for my attire, we each got one because they were something the sybolized our time in the southwest, and they were so reasonable I couldn't pass them up! Haha, bargain shopper extrordinaire! We picked up some Subway and then continued east.

We spent an hour in the Petrified Forest National Park, mostly driving through the 20 mile road and looking out the windows. The plan is that we'll head back again tomorrow and be able to hike the trails and take a closer look at all of the gorgeous petrified wood. Anyone spent much time around fossils or petrified wood? I am fascinated. I used to be so obsessed, I wanted to be a palientologist, true story. Now, I can't even spell the word! [Google just informed me that it is paleontologist. Thanks, google!] I am excited to get a closer look, but we will absolutely abide by the park rules: NO TAKING ANYTHING WITH YOU. We might have to visit a gift shop or two so I can buy a specimen to take home.

We headed back to Holbrook in time for sunset, and picked a motel. After some price comparing, we decided on a Travelodge for the night. Then, I made the executive decision, or recommendation anyway, that we hit up a Mom and Pop place for dinner, instead of the DQ/Taco Bell/Denny's type places we saw on our end of town. So, we drove down Route 66 toward the main street of the town, and we picked Joe & Aggie's for dinner. It was teeny, warm, and cozy. I loved it. Matt did too. In the process of eating, we overheard some other customers talking about their journey along Route 66, and their travels. We picked up a couple of tips from listening [creepin'!], so we're excited to see what is in store there. Then, the waiter mentioned something about the Wigwam's for lodging, and when I asked more about them, he sold us on the spot. I had seen the wigwams when we rolled into town, but from the outside, you can't really judge it. Anyway, we left Joe & Aggie's [who is now run by their grandson. A family owned and operated restaurant, so cool!!] and headed over to the Wigwam Motel. A darling older woman greeted us, and gave us keys to see one of the Wigwams. 5 minutes later [or 30 seconds, really...] I was sold. We booked reservations for tomorrow night, at the Wigwam Motel. You better believe there will be pictures to come, and a full recollection of how sleeping in the concrete wigwam was. Sidenote - these Wigwams are the basis for the Cove Point tepees on the movie 'Cars'. Anyone remember them from the movie? Apparently, some of the crew from 'Cars' came through Holbrook, AZ for several days and sketched the Wigwams. He said that Joe & Aggie's is listed in the credits for 'Cars' too! I need to rewatch that movie! Oh, and get this... we have reservations at the Wigwams tomorrow night... and we don't know how much they are a night. Are you shocked? Haha, I told Matt - "I don't care how much they are, they are so sweet and we have to stay in them." The waiter told us a price range, so I'm not worried. I don't know when we'll get the chance to sleep in a concrete wigwam again! P.S. These aren't bare floors or anything. They have heat and A/C, TV's, concrete floors that are carpeted etc. They're pretty amazing and I am beyond excited!

So - tomorrow: continental breakfast, on to the Petrified Forest Ntnl Park, and then the Wigwam Motel. Oh, and to be honest... probably dinner at Joe & Aggie's again! Hopefully, some looking around downtown Holbrook too.

After we finish up here, we'll continue on I-40/Route 66 into New Mexico and see what treasures await us there.

I forgot a sad stat from our day yesterday... we hit a bird. It was a sickly, mangy looking black bird that was hopping around the road and just stared us when we approached. Birds are supposed to fly away when a fast moving vehicle is charging at them but this one... I think he might have been a little [or a lot] sick. I was on the phone wishing my Grandma a happy birthday when Matt hit the bird, and I shrieked. I told her what happened and she said the perfect thing, "He must not have had his hearing aids in." Haha, I love you, Grandma! It helped to soothe the pain of seeing the feathers flying everywhere. But [KNOCK ON WOOD], that is the only encounter with wildlife that we've had. I hope it stays that way!

I've gotta get some photos for you, so you have some eye candy for the weekend... Let me get on that.
This photos is from Canyonlands Ntnl Park in Utah. During a foggy snowstorm. Stunning.

Arches Ntnl Park, blanketed in fresh snowfall.

Arches Ntnl Park, Utah.

The Grand Canyon.

Meteor Crater, AZ. I wish I could have been up in an airplane or something... there is no way to capture this crater's size, especially sitting right on the edge of the rim. But here's to trying.

Until next time ... Happy Friday!


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