Family, Friends. and Touring

An All American Transcontinental (almost) Road Trip - Part Two

June 24 - July 24, 2009

Bobbie at Sunset Crater outside of Flagstaff, Arizona

The people living just northeast of what is now Flagstaff, Arizona, must have been warned by tremors before debris exploded from the ground and rained down on their pithouses. The lava flows and erupting cinders that followed forced these farmers to vacate the rocky lands they had cultivated for 400 years. A few generations later, at Wupatki and nearby Walnut Canyon, families returned to grow crops for another 100 years in the shadow of Sunset Crater. Slowly, plants and animals returned too, some specially adapted to living on the lava. By the late 1800's ranching and logging operations sustained the new populations settling Flagstaff, and the memory of the most recent eruption on the Colorado Plateau lived only in the stories of indigenous Southwest People. Today occasional earthqakes still remind local residents that they live in a geologically active area. At Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments, here you can contemplate how the environment and people change each other.

Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments

(Bruce, Janie, and David enjoying a cool mountain morning.)

(Another day in the saddle - Oh! My left leg.)

The Grand Canyon - Day One


The Grand Canyon is one of the Earth's most powerful, inspiring landscapes that never ceases to overwhelm our senses. Its story tells of geologic processes played out over unimaginable time spans as a unique combination of size, color, and dazzling erosional forms: 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Its rugged landscape hosts a fascinating variety of plant and animal communities, from the desert next to the Colorado River deep in the canyon to montane forests atop its North Rim.

Humans have played parts in the story for thousands of years. Broken spear points, enigmatic split-twig figurines, decorated pots, abandoned mines, and historic hotels suggest some who have called the canyon home. Its history is an unending story and we are only stewards in the passage of time.

(Bruce and Bobbie)

The Grand Canyon - Day Two

The Grand Canyon reveals a beautiful sequence of rock layers that serve as windows into time. The carving of the canyon is only the most recent chapter, a geological blink of an eye, in a long story. That long story includes rock nearly two billion years old in the bottom of the canyon, land masses colliding and drifting apart, mountains forming and eroding away, sea levels rising and falling, and relentless forces of moving water. Several factors make Grand Canyon's geology remarkable. Many canyons form as rivers cascade among moutain peaks, but the Grand Canyonits incised into an elevated plateau. The desert landscape exposes the geology to view. It is not hidden under a cloak of vegetation. The strata revealed preserve a lengthy, although incomplete, record of Earth's history.

(Just Me Again)

(Bruce and David)

(Janie, Bruce, and David)

(Bobbie and Bruce)

(Look at the rain.)

(aka Michael the Bruce)

(aka Senex Magister)

(It turned a little cool quickly!)


(Bruce and Janie)

(Bobbie and Bruce)

(Janie and David)

The Grand Canyon - Day Three

This was our third and last day at the Grand Canyon National Park and I still remain in awe at the natural wonders to be realized when you are in the presence of the momentous power of nature herself. It was a stop and go affair most of the time especially when a certain location was more than just a little crowded. On this day though we visited many places that were only accessible by a Park Bus with an exception which Bobbie made sure we took advantage. My disability allowed us to take our own vehicle instead of waiting for a very crowded bus.

I should mention the weather too. We were quite surprised at how pleasant it was especially once we got beyond Kansas. I had a friend who I worked with at the Middle School whose parents had retired to Phoenix, AZ. He took a dim view of this argument about dry heat but after this trip I am not so sure that I would agree with him now. He always said 100 degrees was always 100 degrees but when you factor in Midwest or Washington humidity his argument weakens a bit or else we were just lucky.

(Bruce and Bobbie)

(Who is this nondescript character?)

(Bruce talking with the Germans.)

This page is the work of Senex Magister

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