Thursday, April 18th – Day 16 – Flagstaff to Meteor Crater RV Park

Screenshot_20190420-195152_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day: Visiting Meteor Crater and our 37th wedding anniversary

Worst part of the day: Rushing, rushing, rushing

Distance: 38.4 miles Riding Time: 2hrs 55min
(Plus 11.3 miles out and back to Meteor Crater Visitor Center)

Bed count: 7 Sleeping Bag count: 9

It was another cold morning in Flagstaff, weather app was showing about 25 degrees at 7am! Brrr!! But, another good breakfast at the hotel helped to warm us up. Took our time to finish packing up and we were on the road around our planned time of 9. It was tough 5-mile ride out of town, uphill, into the wind! It was a real struggle for Fay with her breathing because of the altitude and effects from her cancer surgery over 18 years ago.

Finally, finally our route took us in a easterly direction and had crosswinds instead of headwinds. Plus, we were now heading pretty much downhill!! Came upon a section of newly or near newly paved road!! Nice road shoulder, few cars! What a treat! And the weather was starting to warm up as we continued to drop 1,000’ of elevation. 20190418_100203(Our view along the Townsend-Winona Road. Very pretty!)

Eventually, pulled into a Shell station prior to getting back on I-40 to strip off our warm clothing! Talked with a man there who runs a dormitory on the Hopi Reservation. He gave us his contact info and said that we needed anything, don’t hesitate to call. We thanked him for his invitation.

This gentleman’s kindness and offer of support is what we continue to encounter on our travels. It helps to restore our faith in humanity and that there are wonderful people out there in this country!

Back on I-40 AGAIN! A number of miles down the freeway, Peggy had another flat! This was not one of your ordinary wire-from-a-shredded-truck-radial-tire variety. NO!! This flat was caused by a 12p nail going not only through the tire and tube (two places), but, also her rim!! Wow! We didn’t think she needed a new spoke whole in her rim! 20190418_110442_2319(That nail went all the way through the rim!!)

The two of us pitched in to help P&J change the tube (Jerry also put in a tire boot where the nail punctured through the tire) and then we were back on our way.20190418_110752_1260(How many Bike Hikers does it take to change a flat??)

We were rushing to get to RV park so we could get our tent set up, panniers unloaded and ride the over 5 miles to Meteor Crater Visitor Center hoping to make last rim tour at 2:15! Most of that two-lane, no shoulder road was easy rolling hills, but of course, there was a short, Costco Hill-esque hill to get up to the VC parking lot level!! We were hurrying to lock up our bikes near the entrance when a worker came out and said that we had to move them down to the parking lot level!! Argggggghhhh! More time lost! Got to the tour start area where the tour docent was just about to finish his introductory talk just in time to change out of our bike shoes into walking sandals! Better than walking in our bike shoes!20190418_150740

The tour lasted around an hour and was very interesting. The docent spoke about the crater’s origin (it’s speculated that the meteor was about 150’ in diameter traveling at about 26,000 miles/hour when it slammed into the Earth), how the layers of earth were literally flipped upside down from the impact like pancakes, the mining engineer investigators of the crater looking for the meteorite or evidence of it, the dispute as to whether the crater was volcanic or meteoric in its creation, and, the two new minerals which were created because of the impact.20190418_14253220190418_14253620190418_142542(A little 3-picture panorama of our view of the crater.)

He also spoke about the crash of a small plane inside the crater and the survivors of that crash!!

The crater land area is private and currently owned by the grandchildren of the man who first suggested that the crater was created by a meteor. It’s a National Historic Landmark, not a National Park.

After the tour, we viewed a 10-minute video about the crater, walked through their exhibit area and finally had dinner at the Subway there at Meteor Crater VC (yes, a Subway)! Splitting a foot-long sandwich (with lots and lots of veggies – our salad!), we finished just before their 5pm closing time and headed back to our bikes for the ride back to our evening’s “home”. 20190419_080349(Our tent sites at the Meteor Crater RV Park.)

The RV park is a well-maintained place. Very clean, green grass in places (especially at their 3 tent sites), a Rec room with TV, showers/bathrooms, laundry and general store.
Upon returning, getting cleaned up was priority #1! Afterwards, the four of us assembled in the Rec room to relax, discuss the next couple of ride days and of course, have our dessert, cookies!! We also added ice cream bars to tonight’s dessert list!

Peggy’s lower leg injury from her fall the day of our Oatman/Sitgreave Summit/Fire station ride day a week ago flared up, her left calf had swollen up. It actually manifested itself earlier on our Flagstaff rest day, but she soldiered on. She’s a tough cookie!! In the Rec room she was icing it as well as keeping it elevated. Dr. Jerry was taking good care of his patient! But, it was having an impact on her ability to walk normally. The two of them decided to get Peggy checked out at a hospital in Winslow tomorrow, hoping that she’d be able to ride the around 20 or so miles to the facility. If not, we’d have to come up with an alternative. We’ll find that out in the morning how she is.

Normally, the Rec room closes at 7:30, but, the staff allowed us to staying here longer. They’re wonderful!! One of the workers, Kevin, said that we could stay in there until at least 8:30! He even left us the key to lock up and put that key in a special place for him to get tomorrow! So much trust.

The employees have a staff meeting tomorrow morning meaning that their normal 7am opening time for the general store would be an hour later! No!! But, they said that the early person will be in at 6:30, get coffee made and available, and, make hot water available for Fay to have her instant oatmeal! This is the kind of accommodating generosity we continue to receive from lodging staff at almost all of the places we’ve stayed so far.

It was a simple, enjoyable way to celebrate our anniversary today. 37 years, wow!! It seems like only yesterday, our kids were truly kids. We’ll look to do something “fancier” when we get back home.

It’s going to be a cold night tonight. Bundle up time once again in our tents.

Until our next post….


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