Madrid, NM & Meteor Crater, AZ: The Home Stretch (Days 41-42 of 42)

Our 3,116-mile journey had to come to an end, partially because we planned it that way, but mostly because we were getting a little tired of the single-ply toilet paper that RV septic systems demand.  Bring on the two-ply Charmin!  But we had two fun stops planned along the return road from Colorado: the revived-ghost-town-artists’-hamlet known as Madrid, NM (that’s MAH-drid, not ma-DRID) and the world’s largest and best preserved meteorite impact site, Meteor Crater, AZ.

Madrid, NM is a peculiar little place, about 30 miles south of Santa Fe.  It was formerly an abandoned ghost town, and many of the buildings in town still have that appearance, even though they are fully occupied.

Madrid has recently evolved into 305-person destination town, mostly consisting of artists and misfits who are happy walking the streets in bare feet and selling their curious wares from renovated little houses turned into shops and galleries.

Even the locals are quick to agree that they are quirky, as this poster attested, encouraging everyone to come let their “freak flag fly” in a parade, and then afterwards attend the world’s smallest pub crawl (there are only 2 eatin’ and drinkin’ places in town, across the street from each other).

The local weather vane tells you what kind of weather to expect based on the current condition of the weather bone.

This place looks like a working diner (inside and out) but it isn’t; it was actually built specifically for a scene in the 2007 biker movie “Wild Hogs” with Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy.

The one and only restaurant in town, The Hollar, is actually very highly rated and we loved their outdoor patio.  The name comes from a very-old Southern Kentucky term meaning “down the road a spell,” an apt description of Madrid itself.

Madrid is SUPER-dog-friendly and we wished we had brought Bella and Sprinkles to town, as they had never before had their very own menu to choose from.

The one and only bar in town, the Mine Shaft Tavern, was relatively quiet during our visit, but supposedly very rowdy on the weekends and during numerous unusual festivals held in town.

As a 48-year Arizona native, I had never visited Meteor Crater and felt great shame. The WORLD’S largest and best-preserved meteorite impact site, and I couldn’t find the time to drop by?  No way.  This travesty had to come to an end.

Even though it wasn’t “earth shattering” (get it?), wasn’t super “impactful” (har har), and didn’t “rock our world” (the hits just keep on coming, folks!) it actually was really amazing, if just for its size if nothing else.

It is impossible to properly convey the size, but you could put 22 NFL football fields in the bottom and fill the sides with 2,000,000 fans and still have room to spare.   It’s 3 miles across and a 60-story building could fit inside!

Here is one side ….

…. and here is the other.  

It was traveling 40,000 miles per hour, meaning it would have been sighted in Paris just 3 minutes before hitting in Arizona.  See that “little” rock at the arrow below, on the rim of the crater?  That rock is bigger than a house.

The meteor responsible for this hole was estimated to be 150 feet across and had enough iron-nickel to make 42,000 automobiles!  They also have a huge and modern Visitor Center with a short movie and lots of science-y educational exhibits.

Here is a “picture of a picture” from inside the Visitor Center, because it is too big to get a photo of the whole thing with my camera.  You can see the Visitor Center on the lower left, another indication of the overall size.  Amazing!

Philip and I cherished our time together in close-knit quarters (although we have to give the prize to the Missouri couple we encountered in Breckenridge who is RV’ing with their EIGHT children, all in one RV.  That might put me over the edge!).  We love the RV lifestyle and love each other, while loving seeing the U.S. up close and personal!  The kids made this pillow for the RV and gave it to Philip for Father’s Day present this year … perfect!

We returned to Scottsdale and upon opening 6 weeks worth of mail, found a letter advising that this photo of the Lucky Charm (taken between Silverton and Ouray, CO) was chosen as runner-up in a national photo contest held by Motorhome Magazine and Fleetwood RV for “truly capturing and depicting the RV lifestyle!  Nice validation to continue dragging my camera as a constant companion on our adventures.

The 2015 Summer Adventure has drawn to a close, but we have so many wonderful memories to relive. Six weeks … 3,116 miles … and 1 gazillion beautiful sights!  Truly a Summer Adventure to remember!

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