Day 8 of Road Trip Takes Us to Arizona Border Crossing and Visit to Meteor Crater

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The glorious Meteor Crater where Apollo astronauts trained for the moon.

Day 8 of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip featured a visit to the nation’s oldest house and church and then onto a major drive to the world’s most famous crater on our way to the day’s final destination, the Grand Canyon.

OLDEST HOUSE AND CHURCH IN U.S. DISAPPOINTING

We bid farewell to Santa Fe with a lightning quick visit to the oldest house and church in the United States, both of which are literally right across from each other and both of which are barely worth more than a photo op to brag you were there.  You can’t go inside or even peek through the window of “oldest house” (built in 1646) and as for the oldest church (built 1610) it is covered with scaffolds and construction right now.  The kids liked knowing they had visited both buildings because they are the “oldest” things in their categories but you could easily skip them.

In front of all you see in front of the oldest house in the United States.

One of the most peculiar sites in Santa Fe we that you should see, the Miraculous Staircase of the Loretto Chapel, eluded us two times, first because of a private wedding and second because our departure time was earlier than the attraction’s 10:30 a.m. start time for tourists.  Angela and I got to see this impressive work of art during our first visit to Santa Fe earlier this year and it’s a worthwhile stop during any stroll through the state’s capital.  (If you want to know the “mysterious” story behind the creation of these magnificent stairs click here).

ONWARD TO ARIZONA

Arizona has the most welcoming state sign we've seen so far.

At around 4:57 p.m. ET/1:57 p.m. PT we finally did it.  Passports in hand, we crossed the border from laid back New Mexico (probably PapiBlogger’s favorite state) to Arizona (certainly one of the most scenic ones).  Ironically, despite their government’s controversial policies, Arizona has one of the nicest, most enthusiastic welcome signs in the nation.

As we approached Flagstaff it became apparent that keeping to our plan to visit Sedona was going to put us into the Grand Canyon at a less than desirable late hour so we improvised.  We nixed Sedona and replaced it with a visit to the world famous Meteor Crater that was only 12 round trip miles off our track to the Grand Canyon.

The world’s best preserved crater of its kind, the Meteor Crater is the breath-taking result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago.  It is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep.

When you go, budget at least one and a half to two hours for your visit.  At the crater’s rim is a large visitors center that features the largest rock fragment ever found about this crater and that visitors are encouraged to touch.  The center also has an educational 10-minute video about the crater’s history and an even better interactive exhibit that’s all about meteorites.

Outside the center, which we recommend you visit first, is the actual rim of the crater.  If you’ve been to a dormant volcano’s rim, it’s very similar because this crater is oval and Arizona’s terrain here looks volcanic.  The kids were immensely impressed and what was bonus cool for all of us was seeing how visiting this crater brought our visit to the Kennedy Space Center full circle.  The Meteor Crater is THE site where all the  Apollo astronauts trained for the moon landings.  Because a lot of the terrain inside the rim has fragments of an asteroid, the crater was a terrific place for these men to practice walking and driving on the moon as well as learning how to collect soil samples.

At the crater’s rim are two observation decks at different elevations that give you ample photo and video opportunities.  The observation decks have permanently fixed telescopes that point to specific things inside the crater like the station where the astronauts practices, rocks that equal the size of a house and more.

PAPIBLOGGER FAMILY ROAD TRIP TIP OF THE DAY (Sponsored by Sprint Nextel)

If you’re going on a road trip with kids you are inevitably dealing dealing with some amount of normal chaos.  If you want to keep your sanity it will be critical for you to develop a consistent set of routines with your kids for things like bathroom breaks, eating and sleeping.  No matter where we are or how late we may have had to drive on a particular day, we try to be consistent.  Routines are as important on the road as they are at home.  Keep them and you keep your sanity.

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