Day 24, November 3, 1997: Seligman to Globe, AZ

I received an inspiration this morning to change my route a bit and decided to go and look at the big hole. No, no, not the Grand Canyon. That other hole that was a standby to old Route 66 travelers - the Great Meteor Crater. Anyway, I really prefer the north rim over the sourth rim of the Grand Canyon and have been there too many times as it is.

Re-routing to the crater called for a lot more driving on I40 than the original route would have. Driving along through the high scrubby terrain at 75mph doesn't allow for much sightseeing so it is good that there isn't much to see. I got to the crater at 9:30AM, a bit later than optimal for the best lighting. In any case the zoom lens on my little digital camera isn't sufficient to take in the whole crater from the available vantage points so no "big picture" was possible.

After the crater, I drove south but instead of being on back roads as my original routing would have produced I was on fairly major state roads. The route took be over some very high pine-covered areas, sometimes over 7,500 feet. This gave me pleasantly cool temperatures which lasted almost until drive's end. There were several very pretty canyon scenes along the way down Arizona 77 looking like miniature Grand Canyons. The largest and most impressive was Salt Canyon but the prettiest was an unnamed one further north that looked like a great picnic spot except that there was no way down the several hundred feet of cliff separating the road from the stream and forest below.

I wound up in the town of Globe by default: I didn't feel like driving any more and they had motels and restaurants. Case closed. I did have an interesting meal at a Mexican restaurant called Irene's which claims generations-old recipes. The red chile was a real revelation and had somebody served it to me with chapates instead of tortillas, I'd have sworn it was north-Indian cookery. The spicing was totally unlike any Mexican food I've had before.

One unexpected benefit of stopping here was the discovery of Besh-Ba-Gowah, the archeological dig of a village that was abandoned around 1400. The name given is Apache in origin since they were the only ones around the site when the first European explorers appeared on the scene. The Apaches didn't really know anything about it either and simply made up what they thought was a good name. Studies have shown that the builders were fairly advanced people who traded and travelled widely. If you have an interest in southwestern cultures, this is a must-see.

Only one picture today, a partial view of the Meteor Crater from the rim.

Tomorrow I'll be heading toward the Mexican border via Wilcox and Douglas. That should get me into some old western history along the way as I continue the 12,000 mile journey around the edges of the USA.

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