Roadtrip 9: Lava tube, Meteor crater & a sand storm

We were on the road again. After an hour’s drive through the scenic pines of Coconino National Forest, Jenk found a lava tube marked on Google Maps which we wanted to check out. We stopped, walked to the entrance, and walked right back to our car again… The temperature of the tube was around 5 degrees! We didn’t want to freeze so we changed our clothes. The tube itself was very rocky and difficult to get into, but once inside it was amazing to imagine that lava once flowed through here.

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Climbing straight down into the lava tube..
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Pitch black but thrilling!
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Jenk with a casualty of the tube exploration (his mobile screen)

After this stop, we got into the car again, faced thunderstorms and rains for 2 hours, and arrived at the first confirmed and best conserved (or so they kept repeating at the museum) meteor crater on earth. The crater was 60 stories deep, caused by a meteorite of around 45m across who hit the earth nearly 50’000 years ago!

Fortunately, the weather had cleared up a little, so we remained dry.

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At the crater edge most of the rubble from the impact was still present

After the crater and its museum, we got onto the famous former Route 66 (now Route 40), and after another couple hours arrived at Flagstaff for our motel for the night.

The next morning, we had our first day of mainly just driving. We still stopped regularly, as this route was very scenic. We again drove through Coconino National Park, and the Red Rocks around Sedona.

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Sedona’s Red Rocks
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Red Rocks; This landscape makes your drive a lot more interesting

Then it was onwards to Prescott, crossing back into California. We drove past Granite mountains, which looked like rocks thrown on a heap, making it look almost fake.

Then we came onto the green plains, and felt transported back to Europe.

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As quickly as the grassy landscape had come, it disappeared again – when we left the high altitudes behind us. Back to the lower deserts it was.

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Lookout over the desert
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Spotting the different types of cacti
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Magnificent Spikey

And then we ended up driving through a sand storm!

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A sand storm / rain combo

Fortunately, it looked worse than it was. There’s a lot of wind you have to manage while driving, but the amount of sand was okay in our case, as the rain came after a minute and washed it all away again. Lucky us!

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