Friday, October 31, 2014

10/31 More Homolovi Ruins State Park

I love empty campgrounds where you can see forever.  This time of year is a great time to visit the Southwest because crowds are down and the weather is fantastic.  Today had a high of about 80, but there was a beautiful strong breeze that made it feel comfortable.  Here is my campsite--note the lack of neighbors. 

Mostly this time of year, you get a lot of older, retired people traveling, many of whom travel full or "most" time.

There are four ruin areas in this state park, but only two are open to the public.  These were very large Hopi Villages each with over a hundred rooms.  Here are some photos of Homolovi I:

There is not much left in terms of walls of these villages, but the ground is full of pottery shards and bits of flint left over from knapping points and tools.

People have picked up pottery shards and flint pieces and left them on rocks for others to enjoy.  Note the wide variety of colors and types of pottery.

One reason the Hopi chose this location was the Little Colorado River that passes nearby.  You cannot see the river here, but you can tell by the different vegetation that there is a river.

There has been a lot of archeological digging in this area and a small amount of reconstruction. 

People had piled up a lot of pottery on the top of this reconstructed wall.

I am holding a tiny, but very thin and sharp piece of chert or flint. 

Note the coils and basket pattern on many of the pieces on this rock. 

If you blindfolded yourself and bent over and picked up a handful of "rocks" here, about 80% of them would be pottery and tool pieces.  Amazing.

It is about a two-mile drive to Homolovi II.  This area has paved walkways and is handicapped accessible. 

A small area here has also been reconstructed.

This is what "out in the middle of nowhere" looks like.  Note, however, that the village is the highest place around, so the Hope could easily see someone coming, literally for miles away.
A square kiva that was partially reconstructed after being damaged by people digging for treasure decades ago.

You can see a bit of the Little Colorado River here.  There must have been considerable agriculture in this area to support four large communities.

More pottery.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

10/29 Homolovi Ruins State Park

Arrived here for an overnight stay.  It is certainly flat and isolated here, although actually only a couple of miles from I-40 and Winslow, AZ.  The area looks very much like the area around Meteor Crater--flat and empty, at least to us easterners.  This is the visitor center.

I checked into the visitor center and had to chuckle at a couple of signs that were posted.  Apparently, the rattlesnakes enjoy sunning themselves on the stairs and using them as a path, so they have closed them to humans.

I will take more photos in the morning.  So far, I have not seen any snakes, but I have seen some birds and a desert cottontail, neither of which seemed dangerous.

10/28 Meteor Crater, AZ

Meteor Crater has been privately owned for more than a century. I was originally staked as a mining claim and then later leased to the family that currently runs the attraction.  I have been here before, but like Grand Canyon, it is impressive every time I see it.

You can see the crater in the distance.  Before the meteor hit, the land was completely flat.  The impact caused the rock layers to lift, so it now looks like there was a hill there originally.

Pretty desolate area around the crater. 

You are allowed to walk only in specific areas around the rim, unless you receive special permission as a researcher. The viewpoints are very accessible, however.

Over the decades, a lot of holes were dug or drilled in the middle to find the remains of the old iron meteor, but nothing of substance has ever been found because it is likely it broke up before it hit or upon impact.

If you look closely at the rock layers in this photo, you can see how it has been lifted and bent.

This 2' long chunk is the largest part of the original meteor that has been found. The original was estimated to be 150 feet across, traveling at 26,000 MPH.

10/29 Visiting Family at Lake Mead, NV

Believe it or not, I am not the only adventurous person in my family. My cousin Bob and his wife, Becky, have been full-time traveling in a motorhome for a lot longer than I have.  Once in a while, we meet up for a visit.  In fact, last year, we ended up in campground next to one another at Lake Mead for Christmas!

My travels to Florida this year took me right past Lake Mead again where they were staying, so I stopped by for a quick overnight. It is a beautiful campground right on the lake, with good shade, paved roads, and nice views.  It is also fairly quiet and peaceful. 

Paved roads and sites are important because they prevent dust and I get a lot of dust inside as it is.

Here is Bob and Becky's motorhome.  I am parked directly behind them.

A large piece of the trim on my front slide fell off while I was driving through Ash Meadows a couple of days ago.  I was not an easy nail-it-back-up fix because it seemed to be a bit long and was supposed to be attached to a metal plate.  Thankfully, my cousin has a good tool collection and offered to help me out by screwing it in place with metal screws.

Talk about a neatly organized tool compartment!

And his helper, Becky, while I took photos.

Saying good-bye.  He said I could stop by once a year for RV repair.  Might take advantage of the offer!

Could not resist adding these old photos.  Here we are when Bob was a year-and-a-half and I was two-and-a-half at my parents house at Christmas.  I'm not sure if the buggy was mine or his, but it is certainly too big for a doll buggy.

And sitting in front of the Christmas tree. Our brothers would not come along for a year or so.  Just noticed that we both seemed to be right-handed!   

Monday, October 27, 2014

10/26 Ash Meadows - Part 2

I drove from Point of Rocks to a pond and an old dam which were made before this area became a wildlife refuge and the land was all bought up by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Not much of a crowd in the parking lot.  

There was a flock of coots in this pond.

I could see this coot swimming underwater when he dived!  Neat.

The temporary visitor center is nearby and another spring and boardwalk. 

More fish swimming here, but they blend in so well you cannot see them in the photo.

What an incredible oasis in the desert!

The spring and streams feed a wide variety of small trees and plants that provide food for animals.
This strange looking plant growing on a mesquite tree is mistletoe!  Much of the mistletoe we buy at Christmas, by the way, is collected from trees like this in Mexico and shipped to the U.S.!