Quick stops – Window Rock and Meteor Crater, AZ

In the post I published a few days ago, I said it detailed my “final solo excursions in New Mexico and Arizona.”  Well, I lied.  There ended up being two other quick stops I made before my honey came back home, and I couldn’t think of a graceful way to sneak them into her next post.  So this is a short one with a few photos of the stops I made at Window Rock and the Meteor Crater on my way to Cottonwood, AZ.

Window Rock –

Those of you who have been hanging out around Moab lately can skip this section, as Window Rock cannot compare with what you’ve seen.  But I thought this unusual sandstone formation in the small city of Window Rock – the seat of government and capital of the Navajo Nation – was pretty cool.  I had never heard of it, but it was on the map right there near the New Mexico/Arizona border, and on my route between Gallup, NM and Canyon de Chelly.  Why not stop and take a couple of pics?

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Window Rock

It’s more like a port hole than a window, but I suppose “Port Hole Rock” wouldn’t be such a catchy name for a city

Window Rock

Well, that’s the highlight in this town, but you’ve got to admit it’s a bit unusual

Meteor Crater –

I’ve been fascinated by this hole in the ground as long as I can remember, and I just had to make a stop on my westward trek across Arizona.  I spent two nights at the RV park just 5 miles from the crater, a much shorter drive than I’ve been making to other attractions recently.

Meteor Crater

I must be getting close!

Meteor Crater

Some of the stats of the impact differed in the displays, but for sure this wasn’t something you could run away from if you were standing there at the time!

I loved the story about the man who spent 26 years drilling into the crater to find a meteorite that wasn’t there (almost all of it was vaporized in a massive explosion).  Other displays detailed meteorites smashing into people’s homes and cars over the years.  Kinda scary!

Meteor Crater

This 1,400 lb. chunk is the largest piece of the meteorite found so far – and I got to touch it!

Meteor Crater
The crater was impressive indeed, created by a meteorite only 150 ft. wide impacting the ground at 26,000 mph.  The details about how the forces of the impact made this giant hole were very interesting, and I spent much more time in the museum studying this and other impact events than I did outside at the crater.

Meteor Crater

I have to admit the first view I got of this hole took my breath away!

Meteor Crater

All of the Apollo astronauts who landed on the moon were trained here – turns out that meteor strikes on the moon yield similar geological information as those on earth

Although the $18.00 admission seemed a bit steep at first, I learned that this is a privately-owned attraction completely paid for by tourists.  The visitor’s center is very nice, and there were hourly guided tours that followed a 1/2 mile path along the rim of the crater. Unfortunately, the majority of the path around the rim was closed over 20 years ago due to vandalism and a few bad seeds stealing items from the property.  Too bad, the 2.5 mile walk around the rim would have been a great way to get some exercise and good photos from different perspectives.

I thought this was definitely worth the stop, and an interesting way to spend a few hours. If you’re ever near Winslow, AZ and haven’t seen it yet – you gotta go!