Monday, July 23, 2007

July 16, 2007

Flagstaff AZ - Sierra Vista AZ
The Super 8 Motel has a continental breakfast of sorts and the mouse to their i
nternet computer was broken, but we managed, and rolled out of the motel to begin another day of travel and discovery. First was a drive of about 10 miles north, to Copeland Lane. It is here that my great-Aunt Fern (Blanding) Ferrell with the help of her mother, Edith (Akin) Blanding, bought some land with her husband Carl Ferrell and tried to make a go of it in the early 1920's. According to deed/mortgage records I found at the court house in Flagstaff in 2002, they raised hay and potatoes. My grandfather, Leonard Pearce, was also an investor in the farm. It is here that my mother, Nadine Pearce was sent on the train by herself as a child (about age 6) to stay with Aunt Fern. She tells the story of her little girl friend, Daisy Copeland, who lived across the road. And she told of another family about a mile down the road whose little girl had a pony (her father (maybe Doyle) was said to have been a guide for western author, Zane Grey). One day Nadine had ridden down to that house with the little girl on her pony when some of the neighbor's cows came wandering back to their property. The family was wondering how the little "pock" marks had gotten on the rear of some of their cattle. That is when little Nadine said "Oh, my Aunt Fern did that" -- Aunt Fern had taken her BB gun out in frustration with the cattle damaging her garden and shot at the cattle to get them out of the garden. This upset the neighbors so they developed a plan to get get even. When Aunt Fern and Uncle Carl came in their big Studebaker car to pick up Nadine later in the day, they wouldn't let Nadine out of the basement where she was playing, until they got some sort of satisfaction for the BB gun episode. Heated words were exchanged and when the man looked like he was going to slap Aunt Fern, Uncle Carl pulled out his big pistol and demanded they produce Nadine. Nadine was summoned up from the basement, and that was the end of Nadine's rides on her friend's pony to her house where the swings were. My mom says she figures that was the time she was kidnapped. Well, about 80 years later, Aunt Fern's great-great-great grandchildren were driving along Copeland Lane taking photographs, and imagining the pony walking down that lane, and trying to figure where Aunt Fern's house might have been. This lane is just east of the largest San Francisco Peaks.

Next we
continued up Hwy 89, north about 5 miles to the Sunset Volcano Crater National Monument. This cinder cone that rose quickly and blew it's top 900 years ago. The eruption killed all plants within a 5 mile radius. Sunset Volcano is the youngest of the 600 volcanoes that make up the San Francisco Peaks (see picture at right) area of Flagstaff. At a top peak of 12,633 ft, there is skiing offered in the snowy winter here. We got a National Parks passport stamp and enjoyed the visitor's center activities, then drove a little more to a overview lookout site to see steam coming up from a volcanic vent. The surrounding lava fields surround the road and the two types of sharp and smooth lava are called the same as in Hawaii - a'a and pahoehoe. We didn't have time to drive around the loop and visit the Wupatki National Monument and see the pueblo ruins of 800 years ago of the various cultures of the Wupatki people.

I noticed what looked like an archaeological dig going on as we drove south on Hwy 89 (one mile north of Flagstaff Mall). It is an ongoing excavation and restoration of the Elden Pueblo Archaeological Project and an interesting place for a short walk. It is a 65 room pueblo
of the prehistoric Sinagua culture from about 1200 AD and Hopi ancestral pueblo site. Excavation began here in 1926, so I guess Aunt Fern had left the area by that time and returned to Los Angeles.

Ever since Braden found a brochure for "Meteor Crater," he'd been wanting to see it. So we headed east
on Interstate 40, to the road leading to the crater, 35 miles east of Flagstaff. We could see storm clouds off in the distance. We arrived at the privately owned National Landmark where 50,000 years ago a piece of asteroid, 150 ft across, crashed into the earth. The site was originally 700 ft deep and over 4000 ft across, it has eroded little here because of the arid climate. It was an amazing site. We listened to a guide talk about the crater's history, we saw a movie, and visited the impressive museum. A raven, called " Charlie" glided around us outside in the winds, which got to be very, very strong. The winds were the front of an approaching thunder storm. There was a Subway sandwich shop in the gift shop area, and we ate before leaving, still hoping to visit Walnut Canyon pueblo ruins back towards Flagstaff. But Scott telephoned about that time and calculated we wouldn't be home in Sierra Vista until 9:30 pm if we left Meteor Crater and drove directly home. So I decided to make a bee-line home rather than ending up sleepily driving in the middle of the night home.

As it turned out the drive south was long,
as we left Meteor Crater a hail storm hit us with a temperature of 60 degrees. We left Flagstaff on I-17 at 4:30pm, and Phoenix at 6:30 pm, As we drove through Phoenix the temperature rose to 116 degrees!!! Continuing on I-10 as we drove south of Tucson, a large series of dust storms blanketed the landscape and caused decreased visibility, but a great sunset. We stopped at exit 208, a favorite Pilot Gasoline stop, and also filled up with Dairy Queen blizzards. Turning off onto Arizona-90 we finally arrived at Sierra Vista, and home sweet home at 10:20 pm. We traveled over 800 miles from St. George, Utah.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The kids had a great time on the whole trip... even if there were a few "meltdowns"!