Dave and Cindy fulltime in a truck camper. (The Albino Rhino) travel blog

A borrowed aerial photo of the first proven, and best preserved impact...

The visitor's center has a great 10 minute movie about the science,...

This 3ft hunk of iron is the largest piece of the original...

The paved "rim trail" around the crater. The guided tour was packed...

 

The lack of rain in AZ helps the crater retain it's original...

It's estimated that the walls of the crater have only changed tens...

It was on the way, and we like the Eagles... so why...

From song lyrics, to visual art.

A park makes use of the space left after the original building...

 

Cindy passes the time on the road... Scrabble on the Kindle.

Another great sunset, photographed from an overpass on Route 66.


We were excited to hit the highway, and head out for our new home: Truth or Consequences, NM. (Henceforth referred to as, “T or C”). The route was simple… hit Interstate 40, (AKA: Route 66), and drive across the state. That’s about all I had in my head when I started the truck, which explains my surprise when we didn’t magically arrive in T or C by that evening, lol. Yeah, it was a longer drive than it seemed when I gave the map a quick glance… about 650 miles, made even longer by a couple of tourist stops on the way. As you’ve no doubt learned by my last two posts… I have this “condition” where I feel like I can get anywhere in a few hours’ time. Yeah, I get disappointed a lot.

As we drove across Arizona, we stopped at a couple of places we had passed up the last time we were in the area: Meteor Crater, and Winslow, AZ. Meteor Crater is the site of the world’s first proven and most well-preserved impact crater. The first written report of the crater was in 1871 before Arizona was even a state, but it wasn’t until 1902 that anyone thought it might be anything other than volcanic in origin. Daniel Barringer, thinking he’d get rich selling the iron from the meteorite to the railroads, bought the mining rights to the area from the government. He spent 26 years mining for the giant iron meteorite he was sure was buried beneath the surface, only to end the quest in bitter disappointment. (No one knew then that meteorites disintegrate upon impact… OOPS.) The original drill shaft and equipment is still in the base of the crater. In 1955 “Meteor Crater enterprises” was created as a tourist attraction, but it wasn’t until 1960 that the U.S. geological survey, with the help of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker proved beyond any doubt that the crater was the result of an impact event… Prior to that, all such “holes” were thought to have been created by volcanoes.

Since then, scientists have used Meteor Crater to gain greater understanding of meteor impacts, and using this knowledge, have discovered over 250 more craters around the world, most almost invisible due to erosion. (Arizona only gets an avg. 7 inches of rainfall annually, hence the crater’s well-preserved state.) The Apollo astronauts used Meteor Crater for training purposes, and to test their equipment because of the crater’s similarity to extraterrestrial landscapes. The ‘80’s movie: Starman starring Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen was filmed in part, at this site. (Great flick, by the way, even by today’s standards!) More info can be found at meteorcrater.com… They have an RV park at the entrance, a gift shop with a large collection of real museum quality fossils among other things, and admission includes a great short film about the impact, and the science that’s come from it.

Some interesting stats: Although most people imagine a giant “rock” when thinking of meteors… they’re actually composed of 97% iron, 1% nickel, and 1% “other” substances. The crater was created by a meteor approximately 150ft across, weighing SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND TONS, travelling around 26,000 MPH. The resulting impact created pressures over 20 million lbs. per square inch, a crater over 700ft deep, and over 4,000ft across, with a circumference of about 2 miles. The explosive force was greater than 20 million tons of TNT… (So, yeah… I guess the neighbors heard it.) The pressures were so great, that any concentrations of graphite in the shocked meteorites were transformed into microscopic diamonds. The crater is large enough to hold 20 football games at once as 2 million spectators watch from the crater walls. Ok, time to move on.

Eagles’ fans will appreciate our next stop, (The 70’s rock band, not the football team) & recognize these lyrics from the hit song: “Take it Easy”. “Well I’m standin’ on a corner, in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see… It’s a girl my lord, in a flat-bed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.” These lyrics were the inspiration for a roadside attraction in the town of, where else, Winslow, AZ on Route 66. This attraction includes the façade of an old building with a mural painted on the side, depicting the very scene Glenn Frey was singing about. Each window in the building contains a “reflection” related to the song: A couple embracing, an eagle, and a girl in a Ford that appears to glance over at a life-sized statue of the singer, standing next to a light post with his guitar. (A real flat-bed Ford sits in front of the exhibit, parked at the curb.) The building burned down years ago, but the facade was saved, and a park constructed in the empty lot left behind. Adding to the effect is a Route 66 souvenir shop across the street, playing “Eagles” tunes from a speaker outside.

We drove on another hour or two, before taking a break at a Macdonald’s to use the WiFi and grab some fries and a shake. As we entered New Mexico, the sun set behind us in beautiful, desert fashion… and eventually became so colorful, I decided to pull onto an overpass and take a picture. I thought the lights from eastbound traffic provided fantastic scale.





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