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Day 46

Location: Flagstaff, NM

Miles Driven: 503

Total Miles: 10,933

Got on the road early in the morning to make my way into Arizona. 

Arizona dead ahead

I took a route that was seemingly innocuous, planning to get to the Barringer Meteor Crater by the end of the day (Monument Valley was far too aggressive a goal).  I didn’t realize how circuitious and windy Hwy 191 was, and I spent a good amount of time navigating my way through the Apache National Forest and its associated mountains.

I took a nap for a couple hours just about 1/4 of the drive through the mountains,  so after I woke up I still had a long way to go.  It was a scenic drive, though.

Made my way north to Petrified Forest National Park.  This park lacks the scenic vistas of some of the other parks I’ve visited, but still is unique as it contains pieces of trees that date back to the Triassic period that have been preserved thanks to volcanic ash and various sediment.

Petrified wood

Petrified stump

Just north of the Petrified Forest is the Painted Desert.  I took my time enjoying the view from a high point above.

Overlooking the Painted Desert

From there, I made my way west on I-40 towards Flagstaff.  My next intended destination was the Barringer Meteor Crater, one of the best-preserved craters on the planet. 

Great city name

the road towards flagstaff

On the way to the crater, I got a message from my brother Mike saying “you sure it’s open?”  I made the wrong assumption that even though it was before 8pm and the sun was still up that the crater would be open for viewing.

As I was about six miles away from the crater, I saw a sign up that said the crater area was closed for the day.  I figured, “no big deal, I bet I can still get an outside view of it.”  Wrong.  There is only one entrance to the crater, and it’s well beyond the crater so you can’t even get a peek at it.  No matter how much I pleaded with the man at the gate, he would not let me in for quick look.  Definitely bad luck. 

My best view of the crater. Bummer

If you’re interested, here’s an aerial view of the crater from wikipedia.

I haven’t had a lot of bad luck on this trip, so I can’t complain.  The simple solution would be “Joe, just wait til morning when it re-opens.”  I debated that, but wanted to make some progress in a northward direction so I wouldn’t have too far a drive to Monument Valley in the morning.  Oh well, I’ll catch the crater another time.

the sun sets on day 46

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 16, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    What made the forest and wood petrified? aliens?
    You can’t assume I took AP Earth Science hehehe. I had to dictionary.com it.
    hahaha Joseph City FTW

    Too bad your luck ran out, but you had pretty good luck the 45 days before this. I wonder if the aliens had something to do with preventing you to see the crater….

    • July 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

      ha I mentioned volcanic ash! That should be enough. Nah, I got lazy on my explanation there.

      I am happy to blame the aliens for the bad luck with the crater. Just don’t tell them, I am already on their “watch list.”

  2. Elyse
    July 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Joe, Looking forward to your arrival in Vegas, anytime day or night!
    If we can’t be at the house, we will leave a key and expect that you make yourself at home and stay as long as you want!

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