Tuesday, June 29, 2010


After our stop in Memphis, we headed on toward Arizona. We spent two nights in Holbrook, AZ and visited the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater from there. All were within a half hour drive of our hotel.
The variety of colors in the Painted Desert made it really beautiful.
This area is called "The Tepees". The hills in the area all have this striped pattern, caused by the layering of minerals in the soil.

Below are the remains of Puerco Pueblo. This was once a 100 room pueblo housing approximately 1200 people. The original structure was built around the year 1250.
This is called "Newspaper Rock". There were actually several rocks at the site, all covered with hundreds of very clear petroglyphs. It's pretty amazing to think of people leaving each other messages here almost 1000 years ago.
The Petrified Forest was really neat, and odd. Out in the middle of the desert are hundreds and hundreds of logs, all beautifully crystallized. Apparently, this area was once a forest with many streams. When the trees fell, they were washed into the streams and buried in silt, mud and volcanic ash. The park brochure says that "the sediment cut off oxygen and slowed the logs' decay. Silica-laden groundwater seeped through the logs and replaced the original wood tissues with silica deposits. Eventually the silica crystallized into quartz, and the logs were preserved as petrified wood".
All of the black bumps in the picture below are logs. Weird.
On the way out of Holbrook, we stopped to see Meteor Crater. Scientists believe the hole was made 50,000 years ago when a giant meteor hit the Earth. The hole is 550 feet deep (60 stories, or the equivalent of the height of the Washington Monument), 4000 feet across, and 2.4 miles in circumference. That's BIG! Astronaut training has been conducted here in the past, and there is a model astronaut in the middle of the crater. You need binoculars to see it! There are other meteor craters on Earth, but most have been leveled by erosion. The site in Arizona is the most intact impact site on Earth. It was pretty amazing to see. There is a wonderful visitor center on the edge of the crater, but we didn't have much time to explore. There were cats in the car, and it was getting hot outside!
So, we turned on the air conditioning, and kept moving west...

For more Field Trip Fun, visit Live the Adventure!

Memphis, TN

In May, Crumpet and I spent 2 weeks traveling the Northeast and saying goodbye to friends and family. Then we went back to Georgia to pick up my husband and the cats, and we began our trip cross country. We did the trip in 7 days, stopping 3 times just to sleep and then carry on driving, and stopping in 3 areas to explore and enjoy some time out of the car.

Our first big stop was in Memphis, TN. The only bad thing that happened to us on the entire trip was this:
This is a view from the passenger side of the windshield. See the big horizontal line in the picture? That's a crack and it kept growing and growing as we drove. A truck had kicked up a rock that hit the windshield on the way to Memphis. Luckily, as we pulled into the city, we passed a car glass repair place that was able to fix it for us in an hour. We couldn't have asked for anything more.
So anyway, we loved Memphis. We went to Beale St. for dinner on our first evening in town. Beale St. is the big music center in Memphis, and there was blues music coming from every doorway. We ate great Southern food while listening to live blues music, and then went shopping in some really funky stores. A great intro to the city.
The next morning, we went to the Memphis Botanic Gardens. It seems that we arrived right after most of the flowering plants stopped flowering for spring, but it was still beautiful. This was a huge place, with a variety of garden types, and it took us quite a while to get around.
The Japanese garden was very pretty, and we bought a bag of food to feed the koi fish.
The insane koi fish. There were tons of them, and they were quite aggressive about getting to the food! Crumpet loved this.
There are some huge, beautiful magnolia trees along the trail.
We found a little dinosaur garden with plants from prehistoric times.
Crumpet got to uncover a few fossils.
Then we headed to the children's garden, which is fantastic. It's hard to see, but in the picture below, Crumpet is in a huge spider web, looking up at a spider hanging from the tree. Creepy!
There is a scarecrow area, with a big box of dress up clothes for the the scarecrows.

Crumpet and his Dad built a cool fort to hide in.
Beautiful bird feeders and "bottle trees" made from used materials.
There was a huge bird nest, where we pretended to be baby birds.
"Wormville". There were fun tunnels to crawl through here.
There was a little cottage, and inside, the walls were a giant "I Spy" game. The paper lists at top told you what to find glued into the walls below. We had a lot of fun with this.
Raised flower "beds". Get it? They're actual beds! Tee hee.. I'm easily amused...

Crumpet in a chrysalis swing. He spent a while pretending to be a caterpillar changing into a butterfly here.
There was a "monster garden". The staff stuck big googly eyes on a variety of plant types, and it really did make them come alive!
A really dark picture of Crumpet and me in front of an Elvis statue at the Memphis visitor's center.
The trolleys run all the time, and they're quite cheap. Crumpet loved seeing them.
The Memphis Pyramid. It was funny to see this in the middle of the U.S. This used to be a sports stadium, but it's unused now.
We spent the afternoon on a riverboat ride on the Mississippi River. This was nice and relaxing, and the guide gave us a great history of everything along that stretch of the river.
And that concludes our first stop on the route to California. I counted, and Crumpet has been to 23 states in his 4 years, and I have been to 38. In 38 years.

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