Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Flagstaff - Arizona 2014

I left Cottonwood at 7:45 AM and arrived at the Cinder Hills OHV Area, north of Flagstaff, at 9:45 AM. Karen and Dan, the hosts, had come here yesterday. We are parked on black cinder. Under the trees the ground is covered with brown pine needles.

Just north of here is Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The ash and cinders came out of the crater about 900 years ago. People ride their All Terrain Vehicles in the hills. 

We have no snow here at 7,000 feet. It is cool during the day and Dan told me that the temperature was 31 degrees F. last night. I took the heavy blanket out and will use it.

When I got up this morning it was 39 degrees F in the motorhome. I turned on the catalytic heater and went back to bed for another thirty minutes.
We drove the Wupatki – Sunset Crater Volcano Loop today.
Our first stop was the crater area.

From there we went to the Bonito Lava Flow area. 

A dead tree caught our attention. 

We ate our lunch there and after we were done Dan decided to look for a geo cache. Maynard found it in a hollow log. It was a medicine bottle with a marble in it. In the clear marble was a black bug. There was a description of the bug and a piece of paper for Dan to fill out.

Our next stop was the Wupatki National Monument. The large ruins are quite impressive. 

The Wukobi ruins are nearby. 

The Citadel Pueblo is located on a hill and the inhabitants of the pueblo had a 360 degree view of the countryside. 

It was cool and windy today, but we enjoyed the tour.

We went to the Elden Pueblo Heritage Site this morning. After seeing the ruins at Wupatki National Monument the ruins at Elden were kind of disappointing.
Our next stop was more exciting. We hiked the Island Trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument. 240 steps brought us down to a lower part of the canyon. 

We walked to Cliff Dwellings.

The Sinagua Indians saved time and labor by taking advantage of natural recesses in the limestone walls of the canyon. They only had to built three walls to create rooms. Thick walls and small doors kept the dwelling cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Vandalism and treasure hunters damaged the structures before the National Monument was created.

The Visitor Center is located high above the canyon. 

We are now ten motorhomes and two fifth wheel trailers. I moved my motorhome today a few feet to get more sun on the solar panels. We are located under trees.

Today we visited the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. Timothy and Michael Riordan were prominent pioneer Flagstaff businessmen who developed a successful logging business, the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company.
The two brothers were known for their contributions which were essential to the development of the social and economic structure of Flagstaff. Tim and Mike married the Metz sisters, Caroline and Elizabeth. The women were cousins of the Babbitt brothers, another influential Flagstaff family. The two close knit families built this large mansion comprised of two separate homes connected by a common area known as the cabin room.
The mansion was built in 1904. It is a remarkable example of Arts and Crafts style architecture featuring a rustic exterior of log-slab siding, volcanic stone arches, and hand split wooden shingles. The expansive home has forty rooms, over 13,000 square feet of living area, and servant’s quarters. The residence was designed by the creator of Grand Canyon’s El Tovar Lodge, Charles Whittlesey.
The families had all the modern appliances of that time. There was also a six car garage. 

We could only take pictures of the outside of the home. The children had a big playhouse. 

The mansion is so large that I could not take a picture of the whole building. This is part of the front. 

After visiting the mansion we went to eat lunch. Most of us ate at a Chinese restaurant. At 12:30 PM we met at the cars and drove to the Pioneer Museum. 

It was warmer today and not so much wind.  

There was no wind on my morning walk. The temperature is more like normal for this time of the year. We are thirteen WINs now.

At 10:00 AM we left for a four wheel drive tour around the base of the San Francisco Mountains. It was a fifty mile round trip.

We ate lunch on the side of the road.

We had a snow ball fight. Since I participated I have no pictures. I was a passenger in Dan’s truck. My Saturn would not have survived on the rough dirt road.

I walked this morning through the forest with the hope to see some elks or deer. Then it dawned on me that those animals need leaves and shrubs to feed on, and this is a pine tree forest.

At 9:00 AM we left for the Lowell Observatory. At the lobby of the Visitor Center is a piece of the meteorite which, by impact, formed the Meteor Crater. The piece is mostly iron and weighs a little bit over 500 pounds. The rest of the meteorite probably burned up or they have not found it yet.

The WIN’s had fun putting nickels on this device and watching the coins move faster when reaching the smaller diameter of the device.

An able young lady gave us a tour of the facility. We came by Percival Lowell’s mausoleum. He was a graduate of Harvard and came from a rich family. He founded the observatory and research facility.

From the observatory ground one can see Route 66 in Flagstaff and other parts of the city.

There are several telescopes. This is one of the older ones.

Near one of the walk ways are exhibits illustrating the scale of the solar system from the sun to Pluto.

The water tanks are painted with an observatory motif.

The guide really knew her stuff and got the visitors attention.

We were able to look through a small telescope and see the sun and the flares around the sun.

 Our little group learned a lot today.

We ate our lunch at the observatory grounds and then drove to the Lava River Cave. This mile long lava tube cave was formed roughly 700,000 years ago by molten rock that erupted from a volcanic vent in nearby Hart Prairie. The top, sides, and bottom of the flow cooled and solidified first, after which the insides of the lava river continued to flow emptying out the present cave.

Since the temperature inside the cave is 43 degrees F. I brought a heavy jacket. This was wrong; I should have brought a light jacket since I warmed up fast climbing over big boulders. I also should have brought my LED head light. This way I would have had both hands free to lean on boulders.
At some point the cave is high and at other points it is easy to hit the ceiling with the head.

Some members of the group did not go down the entrance of the cave, it was not easy. They stayed at the entrance and waited. I climbed in part of the way.
Karen had her Jeep at the Chrysler dealer for repairs. Dan drove us there and I drove the Jeep home to the camping area while they returned to the Lowell Observatory for the evening program.
Later two local young men tried to go up a tree with their ATV in the camping area.

This morning I got a surprise. On my morning walk, through the cinder forest, I saw a male elk with two females. One female stopped and looked in my direction.

The group went to the Meteor Crater. I did my own thing today since I have been at the crater several times.
I stopped at the Flagstaff Mall and did my computer work at the Food Court. When I was done I had rice, mixed vegetables, and chicken from the Wok. Half of the food I took home. From the mall I drove to Old Town. Near Heritage Square are some fancy eateries. Flagstaff is a university town and a lot of young people work and play here.

At Gateway Plaza are some restaurants with a lot of outdoor seating. 

This is our last day in Flagstaff. We came here when it was cold and today I wore shorts.