Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments

Sunset Crater

Yesterday, I took a day trip north of Flagstaff to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. These two Monuments are nestled within and adjacent to Coconino National Forest.

Sunset Crater - This volcanic cone is part of the San Francisco volcanic field and erupted/formed about 1,000 years ago. What started as a fissure in the ground spewing lava, continued to build into the cone we see today with subsequent eruptions. The area is replete with lava flows and cinders.


The Visitor Center

Black and blue

The barren, south-facing slope of Sunset Crater

Lava flow, then trees, then the San Francisco Peaks

Wupatki - Wupatki sits on a high plateau with alternating areas of sage brush, grasses and pinyon/juniper. This area is known for its ancient pueblo ruins. The various ruins are mostly situated near the edge of the plateau, overlooking the Painted Desert to the north.


Wukoki Pueblo ruins - Wukoki is Hopi for "Big House"

Inside looking out

Note the small, narrow passageways between rooms

The curve of an exterior wall

The Visitor Center

Morman Tea

Wupatki Pueblo ruins behind the Visitor Center

The community room

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Cave Creek, AZ

Welcome to Cave Creek

Yesterday, I took an afternoon drive up to Cave Creek, which is north of Phoenix. It's a small tourist-y town with art galleries, restaurants and specialty shops. I made stops at Big Earl's and Cave Creek Coffee Company, aka C4.

Big Earl's

In my tireless, thankless job as Marker Researcher for Flippin' Jimmy's, I stopped at Big Earl's to try out the food. It's a small place filled with a lot of old-time memorabilia. Inside, there's a horseshoe-shaped counter along with a couple tables. Very quaint, but very crowded. There is also a large outdoor patio that provides most of the seating. The structure itself is a converted gas station.

I ordered the mushroom burger with Swiss cheese, fries and iced tea. The beef patty looked a little too symmetric and uniform to be a hand-formed patty. It was probably pre-formed and frozen. To be honest, it was a pretty bland sandwich. The french fries weren't anything special. All in all, not as good as Heart Attack Grill, Two Hippies or In-N-Out.

I wouldn't go out of my to go to this place. The entire meal cost me $11.50, $7.00 of which was the burger. If you're gonna charge me $7 for a burger, it better be lights out! FAIL. A lot of customers were there just to buy their milkshakes and malts, so maybe those are good.

Big Earl

The patio with two old gas pumps

My lunch

Stick your face here. Wait for it......That's what she said!

The front end of something being used as a fire pit

Big Earl's from across the street with Black Mtn. in the background

Cave Creek Coffee Co.

After lunch, I stopped here for dessert. This place is a combination coffee house, wine bar and live music venue.


Chocolate pastry puff and latte

Some religious-themed artwork