Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day Thirty-nine, 090408 - Meteor Crater, AZ

Day Thirty-nine, Date Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Time in Saddle: 3:57
Distance for the Day: 42.73 miles: From E of Flagstaff, AZ To Meteor Crater, AZ
Accumulated Trip Distance: 1477.4
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 6705’/5469’, Highest: 6730’, Accumulated: 11253’ (huh?)
Speeds: Avg: 10.7 mph, Max: 32.5 mph
Weather: Above freezing, breezy in the AM, picking up speed to near gale-force
Expenditures: $54

As planned, got up while it was still dark; I could see Ophiucus, the Milky Way, and the Summer Triangle twinkling above. I packed up, and was out of there just as the light of dawn was starting to show. The moon, which was already up the previous evening, was now low in the west. During the night, the wind had picked up a fair bit, but the temperature was still in the mid-40s, so it still wasn’t too bad. The road continued to go downhill at a moderate grade, so I made good progress along this side road in the pre-dawn dark, looking to eventually hook up with Hwy 40 again, and it did. I could see Venus above the eastern horizon, and Jupiter more towards the southeast - pretty cool! I got to the junction where the side road intersected Hwy 40, and waited 10 minutes for the gas station mini-mart there to open, and got some hot coco and a Danish ($4). Time is 6:36 am local time (my watch was an hour behind), sun is now up, and heading east toward Meteor Crater, and Las Cruces, NM. Yippee-skippee! I forgot Meteor Crater was on the route to Winslow, and I would now get a chance to see it for myself. It was a very tough haul, fighting a 40 gusting to 50 mph headwind, but by gosh by golly, I was going to see Meteor Crater or get blown off the road, one of the two. I finally made it, and paid the entry fee ($15), and looked at the exhibits, watched the movie, heard the presentation, perused the gift shop, ate a Subway sandwich at the shop, there ($7), and went out to the observation decks to look at the crater in the kind of winds that make you sway and stumble like a sailor on the high seas. It was amazing: mini-dust storms would pick up in the bottom of the crater during particularly violent gusts, and nobody could stay out there for long simply because of the windchill factor. After taking several (mostly) 3D photos, looking at pretty much everything there was to see and read (took about four hours), I left, only this time, I had a quartering tailwind, and made the same six miles in one-third the time back to Hwy 40, which was CLOSED. Huh? They closed the highway?? I went in to the gas station/RV camp and asked why they did that. It was because the dust storms had reduced visibility to zero just up the road. Well, great. Did they have tent camping? Yep. ($27) Okay, I guess I was tent camping here until tomorrow, when it would hopefully clear up. It was pretty cool, though: they had wi-fi, hot showers, and everything was very clean and neat. So, I took a shower, did the laundry, and hit the wi-fi until they closed the Rec Room, whereupon I moved my operations to the bathroom (again with the wi-fi bathroom), and worked until 1:30am. I finally did get in contact with the Panoptx goggles dealer, and arranged to have them delivered via Fed-X to a bike shop in Las Cruces I got some more food items ($5), and hit the hay at about 2am (night owl). The wind had subsided quite a bit, so it should be okay, tomorrow. I still had some blog catching up to do, and would work some more after I woke up.

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