Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day Four!

Hi everyone! I apologize in advance for the quickness of this post...we got into Williams, Arizona pretty late last night so I'm writing this in the morning before we continue on our adventure!
Welcome to New Mexico!

We left Tucumcari, New Mexico pretty early and made our way through the desert. There weren't really many places to stop, but we did make it a point to stop in Albuquerque! It was a cute town...with baby palm trees, lots of bridges, stucco houses, and cool art structures made from wire allll over the place. We got some gas, we got some food, and we got on our way! Even though we were driving through the desert, spots of it really surprised me..and it was just a very beautiful ride. But finally New Mexico ended and we entered into Arizona and that's where the fun really began for the day.
 one of our unplanned, but totally awesome, stops.
 the painted desert

 the painted desert
 the newspaper rocks
 the tepee's

 Alex taking a picture of The Tepee's

So we were driving along our route, and we came across a sign for The Petrified Forest. Alex had mentioned it before when he was looking up places to stop along the way, but we never really factored it into our we decided to stop anyway! And I'm really really glad that we did. Its a 28 or 29 mile trail with lots of smaller walking trails along the way and you stop at all of these really, breath-taking sites (the pictures don't even do it allllll). So we made our way about halfway through the trail but then we decided to turn around to continue our day's journey. But anyway, we got to see The Painted Desert from a couple of different views...and the first time we got out of the car, I had noooo idea what to expect! And then I look out over this big, I guess you would call it a cliff? and I see THIS!? It blew me away. I think my favorite part was the Tepee's though...the cone-shaped rocks that were purple, blue, and grey....I loved those. And the Newspaper rocks would have been really awesome if I could have picked out all of the drawings on the rocks...but I guess I just don't have the eyes :P  We didn't get to see much of the petrified wood, but I was really REALLY pumped about what we did get to see.

the old Route 66
On our way back through the Petrified Forest, we stopped at a section of the old (and almost completely gone) Route 66. They had an old car set up there and a plaque with a little bit of history about the route..and so we decided that it would be a cool place to stop at for a little while. It's crazy to think that this road used to be traveled on was only two lanes, a lower speed limit, and pretty curvy too. To think that trucks would travel on this road too...well, I would be pretty frustrated if I was a car stuck behind a big truck on a low speed limit road :P  And now most of the road doesn't even exist anymore! So many businesses had to close because the Route closed..and most of them are just dilapidated buildings now...
Afterwards, we got back on the road planned to go straight to Williams, Texas...instead, we got sidetracked by a sign advertising the Meteor Crater! So we made a quick detour up a six mile road to see what it was all about :) We got caught in a spurt of rain along the way and even saw a rainbow! How cool is that? A the desert....? 
Double Rainbow!
We got to the Crater site and were really surprised to see an entire museum set up as well for its guests. There were things like "create your own meteor" and lots of things to was really cool. We went through the museum and thennnnn we went outside to see the actual crater. It was pretty crazy to think that only a 150 foot long meteorite could cause a 2.5 MILE about impact! :P

 They wouldn't let us stand directly in the crater,
so they set up this fake one for guests to stand
in and get their pictures taken...we are
such tourists, as Alex pointed out :P
 walking up and up to see the view!
 the crater!

myself, sitting in front of the crater
It was an awesome day. To stop at two completely random places without having them planned at alll. And it really helped to break up the 600 mile driving day :P We went through another time zone change, saw a beautiful sunset, saw a few drops of rain, and some AWESOME storm clouds where you could actually see the rain coming down and the lightning too, but it was compleeetely dry where we were. It's weird too, but the air feels different here. Almost like it's easier to breathe.
But anyway, last night we found ourselves in the cutest little town ever. Seriously. It runs along the old Route 66 (only, this part is still functioning..and doing veryyy well) and has tons of cute little shops and restaurants and everyone is just passing through on their way to see The Grand Canyon (our first stop today)! It's just really really charming :)  We met up with Alex's friend (and future roommate), Hal and his mom...and we had an awesome dinner in their room. And by the end of the night, we completely passed out from so much driving and so much excitement...and probably from the thought of even more driving today!
Alex and I in front of The Crater!
So today our goal is to hit The Grand Canyon, The Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, and finally LA...we'll see if we get that far. Luckily we have nothing but time to spare! Hope everything is going well for everyone else! Check back for more updates! :)

And you'll all be happy to hear that Biff is holding
up quite well too! We take him on lots of walks and
he's really excited about seeing the US ;)

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