11

MARCH, 2012

On my way from Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon I took two diversions, one at Kingman onto a piece of the old Route 66 & thereafter a larger detour to Meteor Crater. It was like travelling back in time with a lot of nostalgia on Route 66. The ride was short but sweet before driving further to Meteor Crater. As its name suggests Meteor Crater is a massive hole in the ground due to a meteor impacting the earth in the middle of nowhere, well Arizona near Winslow to be precise.

Leaving Seligman Route 66 joins  Interstate 40 heading east to Flagstaff. I had to fill up with gas & at the next gas station stuck the pump into the car but nothing happened. I went into the shop & a rather pretty young blond laughed as I explained my situation. In America, first you say how much gas you want to fill up with & then after leaving your credit card as security the pump is free to use, but not in my case. I had to confront the young lady once more about turning the pump on.

The Roadrunner is the rehabilitated Olsen’s Chevrolet dealership & garage building originally built in 1936. Today it serves as a a gift shop, cafe & pub.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

This time she came out & explained that you have to pull a lever up on the pump & then it works. The reason for this razzmatazz is simply due to people driving off after filling up without paying. The young lady found me amusing, especially my accent. As I explained that I am English she wondered what the hell I was doing in a place like this. I answered that I was just passing through. I decided to buy some chocolate & peanuts and must again notice that peanuts cost 3-4 times as much here as they do back home although they are probably imported from the US.

“NASA used the crater for training astronauts & geological research for the Apollo missions to the moon in the 1960’s.”

Romantic scene in front of the Rusty Bolt in Seligman, Arizona.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

Interstate 40 bypasses Flagstaff & rewards you with a nice view of the San Francisco peaks that are still covered in snow. It is early afternoon & instead of turning off for Tusayan to the north I continued westwards to Winslow to visit Meteor Crater.

A side road lead through arid desert with wild grass in a light yellow tone, this set against a deep blue sky is so perfect from color combination that I just had to get out & shoot some material. After seven miles I reached a high backed hill with a building clung to its side, this was the “Visitor Center”.

The Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center contains many displays & exhibits. This is the largest existing fragment of the 50 m/150 ft wide Holsinger meteorite.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

I didn’t expect this to be honest but just as everywhere if there’s a chance of earning money then it will be done. $16 admission, I thought that to be expensive to look at a hole in the ground but this included a guided tour along the crater edge which was very interesting indeed, not to mention entertaining. The tour guide was an ex-professional basketball player who sustained a knee injury & had to retire. He comes from the Winslow area & after his return he turned his hand to tour guide.

The world’s best preserved meteorite impact site on Earth. Located just minutes from Interstate 40 and the old Route 66 in Northern Arizona near Winslow.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

The crater is massive as is everything I have experienced up to now here in the States. NASA used the crater for training astronauts & geological research for the Apollo missions to the moon in the 1960’s. The visit was no disappointment, on the contrary it was well worth the admission fee. I met a nice couple from Wisconsin who were interested in my photographic approach. We chatted a while before they headed off home & I wandered further around the craters periphery taking in the massive dimensions of this hole in the earth shooting a picture here and there.

50,000 years ago a giant meteor weighing several hundred thousand tons dropped to Earth causing this 1,3 km wide crater.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

I spent almost 3 hours at Meteor Crater before heading back to Interstate 40 westwards again & shortly before Flagstaff took a junction heading north towards Page. My main reason for choosing this road was another crater, this time though from a volcanic kind. It was beautiful, a vista of volcanic lava fields with some very rugged looking trees. Everywhere fine black sand, revealing lava rocks & dead wood.

After around 2 hours I was back on the road again. A very open prairie like landscape, the late afternoon sky was of great interest to me & my camera with some interesting cloud formations. Of course I had to shoot some more material, this was to cost me dearly. I missed my turn off at Cameron & before I realized that no signs were forthcoming for Grand Canyon I consulted my map to find that I had overshot by 14 miles, shit, I would have to turn back.

As I reached Cameron & set off in the direction of Grand Canyon Village, the sun had diminished & darkness was setting in very quickly. The drive took longer than I had anticipated, it was actually 20:20 pm as I checked into the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan. Again, I must say that the American hotels are pretty damned good in quality and price. A spacious Room with king-size beds.

I am so tired I just want to go to bed & sleep, it was a long day. No such thing though, as always the days catch had to be copied before I can shut eye. I did actually fall asleep in the process & woke up at around 22:45 pm to the sounds of gunshots coming from the TV. Bruce Willis was doing us all the favour of yet again saving the world. Good ol’ Bruce. Main thing for me was that the Grand Canyon stays intact until I have flown over it & my material is all in the bag ;-)

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