The morning began with a walk to the ruins of the original Meteor Crater visitor center, which is located due east of the RV park, on what was old US 66. This is typical of most of the old tourist stops along the “Mother Road.” They have been left to decay, just shells of what was in the heyday of Route 66 before the Interstate.
Meteor Crater RV Park-Mt Humphrey north of Flagstaff in the distance.
Departed Meteor Crater RV Park at 8 a.m. It was about 30 miles to Walnut Canyon National Monument. We programmed Walnut Canyon into our Garmin, “Jill.” Jill took us off the “I” on the wrong exit. Down a primitive road, which means dirt with a sprinkle of gravel. So our two RVs churned up dust for three miles that seemed like much more. Thank goodness we ended up on Walnut Canyon Road. One of the rangers said the Garmins always take people down that stretch of road from westbound I-40.
Tom and I had been to Walnut Canyon in ‘04. We viewed the cliff dwellings from the Visitor Center and walked the rim path but did not venture down the 185 steps to the Island Loop. This time I was determined to do it. So the four of us made the trek. Going down was relatively easy, but we knew it would be a different story coming up. The many dwellings were inhabited for a little more than 100 years and by 1250 the people had moved away. Jim also did the .5 mile rim trail.
It was then on to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument. These can be found in adjacent Parks north of Flagstaff. We pulled into the Visitor Center lot. The RV space was small. We pretty much filled up the allotted space. We decided instead of driving two RVs pulling cars through the park we would drop our car and drive. This was a good decision.
Sunset Crater erupted somewhere between 1040 and 1100 AD.
The weather on the volcano side of the park was cool, the Wupatki side was scorching. We didn’t do too much at the volcano side as we had already climbed Bandera Crater, so we went to see the ruins. They have four groupings for ruins, we went to two. They were terrific. The first one Jim, Sherry and I walked to. Sherry got to see her first rattlesnake. A park ranger was making sure visitors and snake did not mingle.
The next set of ruins only Jim and I walked to and I did not go to the very end. Tom stayed at the Visitor Center, chit-chatting and Sherry walked to the overlook and got overheated.
We continued on to Camp Verde, AZ for the night. The trip down I-17 from Flagstaff was all downhill. From over 7,000 ft. above sea level to 3094 at Camp Verde.
“Jill” struck again. She guided us down the wrong road (in spite of my protests). I was reading the campground directory, which had different instructions. We made it here. The temp. sensor on the outside of the RV read 110 when we arrived. It is 6:10 p.m. and the temp. is 88.
Tom and Jim went to the pool and whirlpool. Sherry and I stayed in the RVs with AC.
We grilled steaks and then I went to the whirlpool. I wanted to go into the pool but it seemed too cold. The pool area was beautiful. Out side the fence there was a small pond with a waterfall and another with a fountain. There were some of the largest prickly pear cactus, or a variety of prickly pear, I’ve seen. They were huge with fruits almost as big as my fist, but no pricklies. Where they removed?