Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Standing on the Corner

Winslow, Arizona

We backtrack 60 miles to see the Arizona Meteor Crater and the "corner" in Winslow, Arizona immortalized by the Eagles.

The crater is not the biggest in the world, but it might be the best preserved. The Apollo astronauts trained here. Some think the moon landings were filmed here, maybe by Steven Spielberg.

The crater is 2.5 miles in circumference and 500 feet deep. Since the circumference is 2.5 miles, the diameter of the crater must be about .75 miles. As you look down into the center they have an astronaut figure six-feet tall that you can just make out with a telescope. It's a big crater. The walls rise well above the surrounding desert, but have eroded 200 feet in the last 50,000 years. The impact released 2.5 megatons of energy and formed high pressure minerals usually associated only with nuclear blasts. In 1964 a couple of commercial pilots flew a Cessna into the crater and were prevented by downdrafts from climbing out. They circled until their fuel was exhausted and crashed on the crater floor.

Route 66 ran though Winslow until Interstate 40 killed the mother road. The town is struggling, filled with empty stores for sale and homes that need maintenance. It's a girl, my lord, and a flatbed Ford.

In Winslow we see the little corner where they celebrate the Eagles song. A loudspeaker endlessly recycles Eagles tunes and they have a statue to celebrate the "standing on a corner" song. Mrs. Phred seems to think that a member of the Eagles had a car break-down and wrote the song, but this seems elusive.

To avoid the tourists, I lead Mrs. Phred to an empty corner and sing my own version for my friends in England, Helen and Chris. Penpals, this song's for you.

I've noticed that the "Wow" factor decreases the more you travel. Part of the problem is that it's a big country, but after you circle it three or five times, you tend to have seen many of the highlights. Here we are in Flagstaff, with Sedona and Cottonwood just to the south and Page and the Grand Canyon to the north, but we don't want to see them again. Maybe some jungles in Thailand? Easter Island?

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