"" Writer's Wanderings: The National Park Road Trip - From A Canyon To A Crater

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The National Park Road Trip - From A Canyon To A Crater

We were out of cereal and fruit. At least that was our excuse for going to eat breakfast at the Bright Angel Lodge restaurant at the Grand Canyon before leaving. We both ordered pancakes. Mine were multi-grain, Bob’s buttermilk. It was a big stack and we almost polished them off. Then it was time for one last look at the Canyon before we headed toward civilization, Albuquerque, NM.

Because it would be a very long drive, when Bob planned our trip he decided to make a stop in Holbrook, AZ. Holbrook is near the Petrified Forest National Park and we planned to drive through that before checking into the Travelodge. As I studied the map however, I found a spot labeled Meteor Crater. Then I remembered that somewhere out here there was a crater made by a meteor thousands of years ago and decided that must be it.

Again, looking at the map, the forest was beyond Holbrook, we needed time in the afternoon to do laundry and the Meteor Crater was on the way. We decided to put off the forest for the next day and stop at the Crater instead. It was a good choice.

The cost of the Meteor Crater seemed a little steep even for us seniors @$16 each. There was a nice museum display that explained meteorites and their impact on the earth through the ages as well as other planets they have impacted. A movie was interesting in the graphic presentation of the impact of the meteor that created the huge crater.

This crater is the most preserved in the world probably because of the environment in the Arizona desert. It is estimated that 50,000 years ago a huge chunk of an asteroid broke off and hurled at 26,000 mph at the earth crashing into the Arizona desert and creating an explosion basically like those in the Nevada desert when the nuclear testing program was running. Hurricane force winds would have resulted and anything within several miles of it would have been destroyed. While early explorers of the crater dug down hoping to discover the huge meteorite that made the crater, later geologists determined that it would have broken apart into many pieces.

It was all quite interesting and brought back memories to both of us of stories and studies in school. I was a big student of space information especially where Mars was concerned. I even did a report in junior high on what space explorers would eat. It wasn’t far off of what actually happened when the space program got underway with the first flights.

The Meteor Crater courtyard also had a test module from the Apollo program. They claim the astronauts trained in the crater before going to the moon. There was also a wall honoring the astronauts in the whole of the space program. It was neat to seek out the name of the astronaut, Thomas Jones, who will be on our world cruise and whose book, Skywalking, we both read.

Lunch was had at the Subway at the Crater and then we were on our way to Holbrook. I was happy to see that the Travelodge had a guest laundry but unhappy to see that they were treating a room with heat—the kind of treatment they use for bed bugs. We inquired about it and were told that it was a precaution because they had a couple of guests who brought in all the equipment they’d used camping in the Grand Canyon. Okaaay. Do we stay or go? Well, at least we’d get the laundry done.

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