Thursday, May 26, 2011
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.