We checked out of the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort early in the morning and started our drive to Flagstaff, stopping for breakfast at a Waffle House located on the outskirts of Phoenix. A visit to a Waffle House is something that I only associate with vacations. As far as I am aware, we don’t have them in California.
They are cheap greasy-spoons and the seats are all plastic, so that the syrup can be hosed off. It’s both gross and brilliant. My first Waffle House experience was in a dicey part of rural Georgia and it left me unimpressed, but since then, I’ve come to appreciate their particular brand of charm. Plus, the employees are always exceptionally welcoming and the people watching is first-class!
I’m not even a big fan of waffles, but what else are you going to order at a Waffle House?
Shortly after getting back on the road, we saw a mule crossing sign!
On our drive, we saw so much cactus. It was perfect, Hollywood westerns style cactus.
A few hours later, the cactus gave way to pine trees and snow.
And the stunning San Francisco Peaks of the Coconino National Forest.
We learned that the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark was just a short drive beyond Flagstaff, so we added it to our itinerary, which meant that we would need to do a little backtracking on our drive. As previsiouly mentioned, Dan hates backtracking, but he was so excited to see the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark, that he didn’t even complain!
I have to admit that previous to this trip, I had never heard of Meteor Crater Natural Landmark. It’s a big deal and I have no excuse.
We stopped for gas at the Sinclair located in the Little America Travel Center. This place seemed very familiar, but it wasn’t until later in the evening, when we were in our hotel room and flipping through channels, that we realized why we knew it. We landed on a E Television special about the making of National Lampoon’s Vacation, a movie we’ve both seen a billion times and we saw that the Little America Travel Center was the location for the scene when Clark stops for gas and can’t find the gas tank. It was bizarre to have come across this program on the same day that we visited the filming location!
Also, someone needs to buy me the Sinclair stuffed dino. Dan offered and I said that I didn’t need it… but in retrospect, I totally need it. My birthday is in August. Put a bow on it and post it to me please. It’s so cute!
Dan took this great shot of the San Francisco Peaks reflected in the wing mirror of our truck.
Fluffy Arizona clouds!
Meteor Crater Natural Landmark is the site of a meteor impact that happened fifty thousand years ago. It is massive: 560 feet deep, with a 0.737 mile diameter. The crater was discovered in the 19th century and became a popular place for scientists to study, formulating many theories as to the cause of the impact. NASA astronauts also used the crater site for training.
We visited Meteor Crater Natural Landmark on a Monday morning in early March. It was the perfect time to visit. We were among only a handful of tourists and it was easy to enjoy the crater lookout points and all of the exhibits. Looking at the size of the parking lot, this place gets packed. I cannot even imagine trying to visit during school holidays.
We spent about an hour at Meteor Crater Natural Landmark. The admission price was eighteen dollars for adults and included a small museum exhibit, access to the crater observation deck ( including hiking areas), and the option to take a free guided tour. Dan was most interested in looking at the crater and taking pictures, while I was more interested in the museum portion. We explored together and then split up to spend more time in each area.
Watch out for baby cows and big cows!
Next stop: Flagstaff!