Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trip Report Part 3


May 12--Thursday: This was a truly great day. We left early and drove to the Petrified forest and painted desert national forest. I think I appreciated the petrified wood the most, which was piled all over the park and in many places eroding right out of the ground. Lana seemed to like the painted desert the best, and the layers of colored stone were indeed cool. We also saw the ruins of a pueblo here, which was being excavated by archeologists, and they had a small onsite museum that showed off many of the excellent fossils discovered there. We bought a few pieces of petrified wood at the gift shop.

Then we drove to Great Meteor Crater, which was absolutely amazing. It’s a huge place, and we happened to see some geologists down at the bottom of the crater who were as tiny as ants to add scale to the thing. I could imagine being near ground zero when the meteor that caused this one hit. I would not have lived long, of course. Piles of melted rock that had been thrown up by the impact could still be seen. They had fragments of the actual meteor on site, although much of the meteor was vaporized itself in the explosion and scattered over the surrounding miles of desert territory. BTW, the two pictures below are actually faked images of me at the bottom of the crater. This was set up for photographers in the onsite museum.


Finally we drove into Sedona, Arizona, which was nothing like what I expected. I had no idea you went down such twisty roads to get there, through great forested hills, and I was expecting a lot more desert looking landscape. It’s an oasis within a desert in truth. Lana and I got a room at the Best Western in Sedona, and it was by far the most expensive hotel we stayed in, but also by far the nicest, with landscaped grounds, statues, water fountains, and a balcony area for us to sit and look out at one of the best views in the town. Lana got many pictures right from our balcony of great red rock bluffs. Right next door was an excellent restaurant, where I had a Bison Burger, and for desert we had the best cheese cake I’ve ever eaten. We explored that section of town a bit and I bought myself a replica 1860 Army Colt, a percussion pistol. We slept very comfortably that night.

May 13--Friday: We got up early, not wanting to miss anything, and in the cool, cool, cool of the morning Lana took some pics of me in my western garb with my new “replica” pistol in front of various red rock sites (See top and bottom images). We also found a neat place right across the road from our hotel called “The Trading Post,” and ended up spending a lot of money there on really cool things. We got Lana a Bison skull and some coyote skulls, and I bought myself a bone knife. Later in the afternoon we went to Red Rock State Park and walked a trail around the water. It was very nice. I sat and dangled my feet in the stream for a bit, and it was cold and delightful on blistered feet. We closed off the evening with a visit to some fossil shops where we saw an amazing Smilodon skull and a huge trilobite, as well as all kinds of ammonites and fossilized fish and insects. We had dinner at a very fancy place called Rene, our most expensive meal on the trip. But I loved it. We sat in a quiet little courtyard with birds flying and hopping about, and I had antelope while Lana had duck. Both were scrumptious. It was the first time I’d ever tried antelope and the taste was closest to lamb to my way of thinking.

We then drove about 3 hours into the town of Page. On the way, just outside Sedona, we saw a large falling star, somewhere between a regular shooting star and a bolide. It was strange considering we’d been to meteor crater just the day before. Although Page is a pretty big town, there was some kind of tourist attraction going on in the town and we had hell finding a room. Luck let us find a cheapy room at the Motel 6. That was a bit strange, in fact, because when we came in to the motel there were two people ahead of us. The lady at the desk basically told the first person in line that they just had one room left. The second person was told they had a room but one they wouldn’t normally rent because the bathroom light did not work. We expected that we’d either get nothing or get the boiler room, but the lady gave us a room where everything worked and it was just about 40 feet from the door where we parked. I don’t know why we got so lucky, but I didn’t look that gift horse in the mouth. We both slept well after that full day.

31 comments:

David J. West said...

Cool pics - "The Gunslinger"

I've had some good times down in Page.

Lana Gramlich said...

The bolide was really cool. And to think, we might not have seen it had the GPS not misdirected us into the Flagstaff airport!

Deka Black said...

Nice pics. and i'm jealous. the Great Crater has been since i learned from it when i was a kid, a place i want to visit.

Btw: I think you need aato hold your gun at the side... the way you wear it can hurt yourself ;)

David Cranmer said...

Painted desert national forest, a piece of the Petrified forest, 1860Army Colt, and sharp western garb. What a trip, Charles. And cool pics, Lana.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You look like you're in your element, Charles!

BernardL said...

Good memories.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Enjoying the vicarious journey!

the walking man said...

Uhhhh making a draw with the gun in your belt like that could actually shorten you up some. hahahahah


Of all the places I have seen New Mexico was one of the few that made a lasting impression. Sedona 30 years ago was the peyote place but now I hear it is less trippy and more touristy.

Randy Johnson said...

Man, you hit a lot of good spots. That's what a vacation ought to be. Like the pics.

Chris said...

I'm loving the travelogue, Charles. You're like a 19th century version of one of the Ramones out there in the sun and desert in your black leather and jeans. Ha. Charlie Ramone?

Charles Gramlich said...

David J. West, we went to see Horseshoe Bend there, which was pretty cool.

Lana, that is true. hurray for the GPS

Deka, lol. I would never put a loaded gun in there!

Alex, I'm a bandit at heart.

David Cranmer, she takes awesome pics, even makes me look...well...ok. :)

Bernardl, and like many things, they'll probably get better with age.

Paul, glad to hear it.

Mark, with that gun I'd have to beat someone over the head to get an effect. yes, Sedona was quite touristy, though outside the beaten track it was lovely.

Randy, we did a whirlwind tour but Lana planned it very carefully and all came of well.

Chris, I've been insulted worse. ;)

Ty Johnston said...

More and more, this sounds like an awesome trip. I love going into little, out-of-the way shops(such as the Trading Post mentioned) and finding unique items. I also love looking around historic sites.

Ty Johnston said...

By the way, LOVING the first Talera book. I'm about halfway through it. Burroughs would be concerned about keeping his throne.

X. Dell said...

Perhaps in a future post, you can talk about the concept of motel karma.

I actually like the joy you and Lana take in seeing these sights, and in travel in general.

Richard Prosch said...

Haven't seen a bolide in many many months. I love the night sky! Hey, was the smilodon for sale? Love those cats too!

laughingwolf said...

nice chaps on that old fossil, charles ;) lol

the kind of country i'd like to visit, as well....

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, the Trading post has an online site. I'll have to get the card from Lana that they gave us and post the link. Glad to hear you are enjoying your own voyage to Talera. Some out of the way shops there. :)

X-dell, good idea. we had really pretty good luck with our hotels, considering the luck I've had with some in the past.

Richard Prosch, the Smilodon was for sale, for multiple thousands of dollars. I'd love to have had it but not at those prices.

Laughingwolf, I may be a fossil, but not so eroded as you, my friend :) At leat not yet.

Steve Malley said...

Now that's what I call a vacation!

Oscar said...

I've spent a few afternoons at Rene's sipping cocktails and such with an old Navy buddy who lived in Sedona. A lot of nice places you've seen on this trip and great narrative.

laughingwolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laughingwolf said...

aw shit, you peeked! :O lol

[removed above comment due to spelling error by this eroded lump]

Cloudia said...

A&W rootbeer. Why am I craving it?


Gunslinger persona rocks!!!!!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, it got better n bette.

Oscar, thanks, man. Rene's was very nice. I liked it a lot, perhaps my favorite dining experience of the trip.

laughingwolf, you'll do. :)

Cloudia, I like me some rootbeer. And thanks.

sage said...

I enjoyed reading over your posts of the trip--beautiful country, there in Northern AZ. I've been to most places you wrote about but the crater! I need to correct that. Page is interesting, it's mostly a company town, built for the building of the damned Glen Canyon Dam (I'll let my feelings show a bit).

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love Sedona but I realize we are in a tourist spot more than an authentic location.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sage, I got a bit of that kind of feeling from Page. Horeshoe bend was cool there though, and the hummer tour.

Charles Gramlich said...

Pattinase, it felt like a place to have a week long spa treatement. I don't think I'd want to live there but it was a great little 'movie set?" to visit.

Carole said...

Sentence you don't hear every day. "We got Lana a Bison skull and some coyote skulls"

Good vacation find.

Travis Cody said...

Sedona is a favorite place for my folks. Years ago I had to choose between seeing the crater or going to the Grand Canyon. I chose the canyon. One of these days I'll get back for the crater.

Charles Gramlich said...

Carole, my wife is a unique lady.

Travis cody, both were great. The crater was pretty amazing

Jodi MacArthur said...

AZ is such a cool place. How much fun. Lana took some wonderful, wonderful pictures. And I would have to concur with her about the painted desert. Saw that when i was 12. Beautiful.