Williams, AZ & Route 66

The kids are not as enthusiastic about being at KOA campgrounds as they should be. It is a kid friendly environment with a nice pool and places to do things. We rented a small cabin. As I write, it is still hot both inside and outside the cabin, but I know that in this thinner mountain air it will be cool as soon as the sun goes down.

Williams is a much higher altitude than Phoenix. Thick forests of ponderosa pine cover the nearby mountains, and the air is cool at night. Up a little farther north is the Colorado Plateau, with widely spaced trees in a park-like setting. It is always surprising to me how fast environments change in the mountains. Our campground is in a fairly dry area of small trees. A few miles up the road the trees are really tall. Up a little farther is high plains (what in most of the world they call steppe). I plan to wake up early tomorrow and run through at least three distinct biomes. I like it here.

Meteor crater was featured on the movie “Starman” with Jeff Bridges. It looks a lot bigger in the movies. It is worth seeing, but not worth going to see if you have to go very far – unless you are interested in those sorts of things, and there are such people. Before we went, I consulted the web about the crater. It is a Mecca for meteor watchers. The crater was formed by a meteor impact about 50,000 years ago For reference, this is about the time anatomically modern man started to wipe out his Neanderthal cousins. (This factoid I know because I am listening to an audio book on evolution as I drive. Now I will probably remember both factoids until the day I day or dementia sets in.) The crater is well preserved because the meteor had the good sense to land in what was a desert even then. In a more temperate climate, it would have filled with water and the sides would have caved in.

Route 66
Thousands of emigrants from the East headed west for the Promised Land in California along the “mother road”. Route 66 ran from Chicago to Los Angeles before the advent of the Interstate Highway system. Highway travel was more of an adventure fifty years ago than it is on today’s highways with today’s cars that slice through mountains and make travel across deserts an air-conditioned pleasure. Although Interstate 40 roughly follows the course, most of Route 66 is now gone or converted to local streets. We will be traveling along the route for much of our trip. We are starting in Williams, Arizona where part of the original road is preserved in something approaching its original condition. Below are photos.

We ate at the Route 66 Diner. I had a 1950 style greasy hamburger that made no pretense about being healthy. Even I thought the batter fried French fries were a little grease redundant however. After we ate, a small band dressed in Civil War costumes played songs. The leader said that he was a teacher who had done a project with his class. Some of them were so interested in the subject they wanted to explore it further and did studies on the songs.