Tumbleweed, dust storms and a very big hole in the ground

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Monday (16th February) started with a leisurely breakfast with Dennis and Cara Lyn before we said our thank yous and goodbyes and set off for the further north.

The weather was again bright and sunny, although with more cloud and quite a breeze (more of which later!).  Meteor speed limit

Our first stop was Meteor Crater, not exactly the most imaginative of names, but someone does have a sense of humour as we passed this on the road!

I thoroughly enjoyed the visit.  It was great to see in real life something that I had studied.

The impact crater is nearly a mile across, 550 feet deep, and is perfectly formed.

Meteor crater

The study of the shape, the rocks in and around the impact site greatly furthe

Meteor crater diagram

Meteor crater diagram

red the understanding of impact craters.  The exhibition was very good too.




After Meteor Crater we headed east and then north.  Lots of very straight roads (you can see why the Americans invented cruise control!), with just a bit of excitement/interest added by tumbleweed and dust storms – it felt like being in a film set….

Next stop was the Petrified Forest National Park.  By this time the wind had really picked up!  We did pop into the Visitor Centre to get our bearings and some Painted desertinformation, but as the Park officer on the gate had said the wind was very strong at the usual walking sites we decided to just make it a scenic drive.


Painted desert 1


The landscape was striking, and for the most part could have been another planet.   The colours and formations were certainly alien to us.  The high wind added an extra dimension to the effect.

From the Park it was more straight roads, with only the occasional hamlet or isolated dwelling, towards Chinle in the Navajo Reservation.  With the wide open spaces, and the very different lifestyle from the primarily urban UK, I began to maybe understand a little more about the different attitude to freedom and liberty.  It is also easy to see just how much variety there is in the US, which may account for why Americans feel less of a need for foreign travel.

We arrived in Chinle in a dust storm – the car was unpacked very quickly! and we retreated inside to watch the storm pass through.  We ate in the on-site native restaurant, which turned out to be rather bland and disappointing.   A rather tame end to what had been a varied and interesting day.



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