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Snow capped mountains after leaving Utah and reentering Arizona.
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Meteor Crater was the first stop on the way back toward North Carolina. It too was not on the original itinerary.
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Meteor Crater is the largest and best preserved meteor crater in the world. The site is privately owned. Your grandparents were glad they stopped.
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What appears to be a barbecue pit and picnic tables actually is equipment left over from the early part of the 20th century when owners of the crater thought they could reach the meteor and profit from the precious metals they were certain it contained. They never found the meteor.
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Your grandparents pose on the crater's rim.
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The petrified forest, where after millions of years, the trees turned to agate.
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Grandma Bert poses beside a very large trunk of what was a large tree millions of years ago.
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From a few feet away, these agate logs look like something a woodsman has recently cut down. In the background, the colors of the Painted Desert can be seen at the top of the photo.
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Winding trails allow visitors to get close enough to the agate logs to touch them.
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The Puerco Ruin and the Petroglyphs are inside the Perified Forest.
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One of several petroglyphs, the meanings of which are unknown.
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The eastern part of the Painted Desert is at the edge of the Petrified Forest.
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Different colors of the Painted Desert.
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A multitude of colors.
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Sandia Peak in New Mexico is home to the longest aerial tram in the world.
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As Grandma and Grandpa headed up the mountain, they passed another tram coming down from the mountain.
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Sandia Mountain is in the Cibola National Forest.
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The cable mechanism on approaching the upper station.
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There were no bears around that morning.
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Grandpa Roy relaxes at the High Finance restaurant atop Sandia Peak.
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Grandma Bert enjoyed a delicious Irish coffee at the High Finance restaurant.
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Heading back down the mountain toward the tramway station.
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After their ascent to Sandia Peak, your grandparents headed for the Albuquerque old town.
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San Felipe de Neri church in the Abuquerque old town.
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Interior of the San Felipe de Neri church.
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A trio playing music in one of the old town squares.
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La Jornada (The Journey), a series of life-size sculptures depicting Don Juan de OƱate y Salazar leading the first expedition of Spanish colonists to New Mexico.
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The last place visited in New Mexico was Petroglyph National Monument, where your grandparents saw numbers of the ancient drawings.
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An example of the petroglyphs. Some think they are just ancient grafiti while others believe they told stories or left messages for certain people.
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The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in Groom, Texas, yet another unscheduled stop on your grandparents' trip. The cross can be seen up to 20 miles away.
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Divine Mercy Fountain at the Groom, Texas, site.
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Entering Oklahoma.
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Lucille's Roadhouse, on the famous Route 66 in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Your grandparents ate lunch at this respected, old restaurant.
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45th Infantry Division Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Your grandparents had a wonderful, free guided tour. Of course Grandpa made a donation to the museum.
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The museum has one of the largest, if not the largest, Bill Mauldin cartoon collections in the nation. Mauldin's "Willy and Joe" were even made into a movie.
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Myriad Park botanical gardens. The building in the background is the tallest in Oklahoma City.
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The only osteology museum in the world is on the outskirts of Oklahoma City.
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This African elephant skeleton is very large when compared with other exhibits in the museum.
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Pushing barges on the Mississippi River, Memphis, Tennessee.
Grandma and Grandpa took a sail on a replica paddle wheeler.
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They sailed aboard the "Memphis Queen."
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Sculpture commemorating the rescue by Tom Lee, a black man, of 23 white survivors after the M.E. Norman sank in rough waters on the river in 1925. Though Lee could not swim, he continued to pull survivors out of the river from his skiff.
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The Casey Jones home and railroad museum was the last unplanned stop on your grandparents' trip.
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The musuem area boasted a large restaurant as well as Old Town Music Highway Crossroads.
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This locomotive was obtained and renumbered as the one Jones was driving when he was killed. It actually is smaller than the engine he died in.
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Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, had attractions for everyone.
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In the evening your grandparents attended the Dolly Parton Stampede. Photos were not allowed in the Stampede hall itself, but they were okay in the saloon, where attendees were entertained by a trio of country music players that was quite good.
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The players liked to show off how well they could play without even looking at their instruments.
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Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
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The clouds certainly provide the reason for the name.
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Grandma Bert poses in front of the water fall to which your grandparents hiked in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
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Your grandparents returned to North Carolina at 5,046 feet altitude.
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Part of the trip home was via the Blue Ridge Parkway, not entirely unplanned, but not exactly anticipated, either.
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There were several short tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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There was an old-time car rally heading for a museum not too far from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
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Your grandparents last meal on their vacation was at Shell's Bar-B-Q, listed in the AAA book, but not nearly as good as the Pik 'n' Pig near home. This restaruant also was the last place they stopped, except to fill the tank on the Chrysler, before they got home. It took Grandpa Roy 5 days to recover from his 6,300 mile drive.