We drove right by Winslow more than once over the years. And Meteor Crater as well. Both have been on our list of places to stop for a long time. Our camping spot was Homol’ovi State Park near Winslow. This state park preserves over 300 Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites from about 1260 to 1499 AD. Homol’ovi is a Hopi word meaning “place of the little hills”. This fertile area in the flood plain of the Little Colorado river let the inhabitants grow cotton, corn and squash and harvest many native plants as well. It was interesting to visit.
Winslow of course is famous for its Corner. (A Jackson Browne song done by the Eagles)
With a flatbed Ford.
They have made quite a thing about it including an entire wall, that is all it is, a wall.
On the other side of the wall is the Standing on the Corner Park. It has a small stage and hosts music events from time to time.
The railroad goes through Winslow with a couple of busy mainline tracks. And the Amtrak train stops twice a day at one of the few remaining Fred Harvey Hotels, La Posada.
It has a long history leading up to its restoration back to a fine hotel and the Amtrak station.
The trains stop right here and passengers can get on or get off and walk right into the hotel.
The hotel was a Mary Colter design right down to the furniture. It is just beautiful.
Art work everywhere and very welcoming.
And fine dining in The Turquoise Room.
We had a black bean and corn soup with our lunch, actually two soups in one bowl.
After all of that we got up the next morning to go see the Meteor Crater about 20 miles west of Winslow. It is not a National Park or monument or a State place it is privately owned and operated as a tourist site. It is designated as a Natural Landmark site. It is said to be one of the best preserved meteor impact sites on the planet and the first one recognized as an impact site. The characteristics of the site are the basis for characterizing impact sites today. There are now just over 200 known impact sites. There are surely many more, just not yet identified.
Daniel Barringer was a mining engineer who was sure that there was a massive blob of meteor buried beneath the crater. 25 years of digging lead to nothing except holes in the ground. In the meantime Barringer secured mineral rights and ownership of the crater and almost 100,000 acres of surrounding area. In the early days people would drive in on dirt roads from Highway 66 to take a look. Mrs Barringer did the time honored American thing and started charging admission. 25¢. Today it is $18.
The Barringer family still owns all of the land and the crater. They lease all but the crater to a ranch company (that they own) to raise cattle and the crater to a company (that they own) that operates the Crater Visitor Center and Tours.
The meteor hit the earth about 50,000 years ago. It was a small iron meteor only 160 ft across but it was traveling at about 45,000 miles per hour and the impact was equivalent to 10 to 20 million tons of dynamite. The meteor vaporized on impact and created a crater about a mile across and 700 ft deep. It was like a deep underground explosion and much of the surface was lifted up, folded over and outward. Rocks and meteorite bits were blown as far as seven miles away. It is a huge hole in the ground but in the meteor impact scheme of things it is small.
Still a big hole. Down at the bottom are several mine shafts, a big boiler, a steam operated hoist. From the rim all of this equipment looks tiny.
And the white bit is part of a wing from a plane that crashed in the crater. The pilot and passenger survived. The rest of the airplane was cut up into chunks and dumped down the mine shafts.
We followed our leader along the crater rim and got lots of interesting details. It was a nice day for a mile or so walk. He said later in the summer winds can get very strong (as much as 100 mph) and afternoon storms generate lots of lightning.
We were glad we finally got to Winslow, to the famous corner and to what Billy Connolly described as what every American male wants to see, a big hole in the ground.
We are heading for Cochiti Lake COE park near Santa Fe.
More later, Much Love.
Roger and Susan.