After leaving Albuquerque, we continued on towards Sedona. Before reaching our next destination, however, we made a mid-road decision to follow signs to a meteor crater. Because, come on, don't you want to see a giant meteor crater?
First, I need to back up and talk about our stop off at a gas station. Seriously. It's important.
We stopped off at a gas station in the, you guessed it, middle of nowhere and filled up. We ended up chatting with a guy who pulled in behind us. What did we chat about? The massive number of dead bugs that were smashed on the front of our respective vehicles.
In case you ever plan on doing a US road trip, you really should be aware of this reality of open road driving. Many, many, many insects, both small and large, will meet their fate on your windshield and front bumper. An insect of the decidedly large variety was smushed on the front of this dude's SUV. And I am talking remarkably HUGE. Comically huge. Therefore, when Carmella and I stepped out of the car to stretch our legs and caught sight of this massive winged behemoth that was decorating his front grill, the laughter just rolled out of us. The awkward positioning of this poor creature's demise was just too much. We'd been stuck in a car for several long hours so it really didn't take much at this point to crack us up and this would have been funny on an ordinary day. The owner of the adorned vehicle came out to see what was so hysterical and he caught sight of his new traveling companion and joined in on the laugher. Although, not quite as intensely, I must say. I guess he wasn't as delirious as we were. Anyway, the point is, we shared a laugh, a quick chat and introduced ourselves. His name is Matt. (or Mark...or Mike. I'm 80% sure it was Matt.) Then we both went on our merry ways.
It was after this gas station stop that we started seeing signs for a meteor crater. Since road trips are not complete without at least one unplanned stop, we exited at one of the meteor exits. (I say "one of" because apparently there were two.) The detour that led to the crater was a bit longer than expected and qualifies as being a road to nowhere. That is, until you make the final turn and dip, and a single building reveals itself. This single building is the meteor crater museum, built flush against the giant crater with paths leading around part of the crater's rim.
When we parked in the museum parking lot we saw a familiar vehicle. It was Matt's* bug-adorned SUV!
*His name may not be Matt.
We rejoiced at the funny kismet that had brought us together again. And this is where the second exit comes into play, because Matt definitely did not follow us to the crater. We separately decided "Meteor crater?! OOOoooOOOH! Let's see that!"
The three of us paid for a museum tour and saw the remaining crater fragment. We got treated to a very informative walking tour of the museum, full of interesting facts, none of which I remember.
After the tour, we walked out and took a bunch of pictures of the massive impact site. It is hard to get a feel for the scale, but this is a really large crater. I'm pretty sure the tour guide provided a measurement using football fields, but again, I did not retain that factoid. If you care, Google it. Google knows everything.
And, YES, we did take a group picture with our new man friend.
After this adventure we said goodbye to Matt* for real and proceeded towards Sedona.
Sedona is GORGEOUS. Just stunning. Even the air feels fresher than anywhere I can remember. Here's a bunch of photos.
That little motel/hotel in the picture is where we stayed. It was an awesome view to wake to in the morning.
We spent a lot of time in crystal shops and other hippie-licious stores full of good vibes. A quick rain poured while we were in one of the shops and a worker ran outside to dance in the rain for a few minutes. That is Sedona.
We spent two nights in Sedona and just loved it. We nearly unpacked there. The little town is adorable and charming. If you have any bit of gypsy in your soul, take a little trip to Sedona. You'll enjoy it.
After Sedona, we headed towards the City of Angels and returned Carmella's things to whence they came.
Thus concludes my epic three-part chronicle of my Austin to Los Angeles road trip.