Another short move of just 80 miles to Holbrook AZ. Holbrook is also on the famous Route 66 just east of the town made famous by the song “Take It Easy”, Winslow AZ. They were advertising that you can get your picture taken with a girl in a flatbed Ford on Route 66 in Winslow. We didn't get any pictures of that as I have my own girl in a Ford BAT (Big Ass Truck).
About halfway between Flagstaff and Holbrook is the famous Meteor Crater. The Meteor Crater is advertised a lot along I 40 on the way and they even have a radio channel to get details. So we tuned the radio to the crater channel and found out that they are RV friendly and are only 5 miles off the highway. So off we went to see the big hole in the ground, as if we haven’t seen any big holes this year!
As advertised, the Meteor Crater is very RV friendly. They had many places to park your RV while they took your money, I mean while you visited the Meteor Crater. I was just being funny because the crater is really pretty fascinating. It cost $16 each ($15 if over 60 years old). For that you get to see a 10 minute movie, a museum, and a free tour along ¼ mile of the crater rim. The Tour guide even takes your picture for you. We spent a little over an hour there and weren't disappointed.
|The Meteor Crater Visitor Center on the rim of the crater.|
|NASA donated this test Apollo capsule because they used the crater for astronaut training in the 60's before going to the moon.|
|A piece of meteorite. It is 1100 pounds and is mostly Iron and Nickel.|
|The San Francisco peaks. The tallest mountains in AZ at just over 12,000 feet above sea level. They are about 50 miles away in this picture taken from the rim of the crater.|
|Our rig is on the left. Picture taken from the crater rim.|
|Sort of a cool "window" (a brick wall with a rectangular hole) at the meteor crater building.|
A few facts about the crater: It is privately owned by the same Philadelphia family since the turn of the century. The tourist park is operated, under agreement from the owners, by the 2 ranch families who own all of the land around the crater. The crater is about 600 feet deep and a mile wide. The crater was made 50k years ago.
After leaving the Meteor Crater and getting back on I 40 we arrived at the OK RV Park in Holbrook around 3:30. This RV Park is on a dusty, all gravel flat strip of land within the city limits of the small town of Holbrook. We are staying here mostly because we had planned on seeing Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert National Park. Since they are closed we stayed anyway as it is as close to Albuquerque as we can get and it has WIFI. The sites are not huge but fine for us.
We got setup and after checking our WIFI connection we made dinner. We had a rib eye steak and baked potato with fresh brussels sprouts. We have gotten into the habit of only buying 2 steaks at a time for 2 meals. We grille one nice steak at around ¾ lb. and then cut it up into chucks. Patty’s Uncle Kenny Choops did this for our dinner with them in Detroit a couple of months ago with leftover steak. (It was a great side dish as their daughter and grandchildren joined us for dinner!) We really liked this and have continued it. We don’t like the small thin steaks so this works great and we still only consume 5-6 oz. at a time. Ok, enough with our diet choices!
Today, Thursday the 3rd, we toured the town of Holbrook AZ. The town is built centered on the transcontinental railroad as is Flagstaff. It is also centered on Route 66. The town is home to many Native American Indians and people of Mexican heritage. To be honest, there really isn't much to this town. It is mostly made up of lots of gas stations, motels, and Mexican restaurants.
|Train Station in Holbrook AZ.|
|You can sleep in a teepee at the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 in Holbrook AZ!|
We started our tour by going to the Chamber of Commerce at the historic County Court House. What a treat the court house was! It is basically a free museum of the town that just takes donations. The museum has a lot more than just stuff about the town but the town stuff is the most interesting.
|The original 1800's court house in Holbrook AZ.|
|Jail where George Smiley would have waited to hang.|
The town was a real honest to goodness Wild West town in the 1800's. It became known as a town “too tough for women or churches”. At one point the town had a population of about 250 people and each year 25 would die a violent death. There are 3 main stories about this town we learned while here.
The first is about the Bucket of Blood Saloon. It is located just south of the train station in town. This saloon had one of the nastiest gunfights that it was said that buckets of blood covered the floor. So the owner changed the name to the Buckets of Blood Saloon. The road it is on was also renamed to Bucket of Blood.
|Bucket of Blood Saloon is the left part of the picture. The town doesn't have money to keep the place up so it was closed in 2012. I would think this would be a big tourist attraction.|
The next story is about the town’s first sheriff, Commodore Perry Owens. The sheriff killed several people at the Blevins’ house just a couple of blocks from the Bucket of Blood Saloon including a young boy. The sheriff became a legend after that and was sheriff for 10 more years until 1896.
|This is the original house where the shooting occurred in the 1800's. They do reenactments every year and it is now a senior citizens home for the town. What a town!|
The last story is about the hanging of George Smiley, a convicted murderer. In the late 1800’s, Arizona law required that every sheriff in Arizona, as well as certain public officials, received an invitation to each execution scheduled to occur in the state. Commodore Perry Owens' successor, Sheriff Frank Wattron, could find no official format or template for such an invitation so he designed his own, complete with flowery language and a gilt-border. It read:
“You are hereby cordially invited to attend the hanging of one George Smiley, murderer. His soul will be swung into eternity on December 8, 1899, at 3 o’clock p.m., sharp.
Latest improved methods in the art of scientific strangulation will be employed and everything possible will be done to make the surroundings cheerful and the execution a success. “
F.J. Wattron, Sheriff of Navajo County.”
It sounded like quite an enjoyable afternoon and President McKinley believed otherwise. He believed that an execution demanded a certain amount of gravity and, when word of the invitation reached him, he contacted the Governor of Arizona to issue a stay of execution for 30 days and gave Sheriff Wattron a personal reprimand.
The sheriff wrote another letter that was much less “nice” and was to the point and just a little flippant. However, this time he sent it out just the day before Smiley was hanged, not giving anyone time to complain. George Smiley is said to haunt the old court house to this day waiting on the president to give him another stay of execution.
Again, Wow, what a town!
After the tour of the town we picked up a few more grocery items and then head back to the RV. I filled the fresh water tank to 2/3 and we decided to disconnect except for the electric so we can get an early start tomorrow. We are grilling some ribs tonight with grilled broccoli and jalapeno cheese bread for dinner.
We are planning our earliest start yet, 7 am. We lose an hour due to a time zone change and we have 230 miles or about 4 hours to travel. The Balloon Festival RV parking opens at noon so we want to be there around that time in order to not wait all day getting in.
The next post most probably will be next Monday when we again have WIFI. We may post earlier; we shall see how it goes.