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From Las Vegas to Austin

Our first stop on our way home from Las Vegas was in Havasu City, AZ, to see the original London Bridge. It is there. From the top, it just looks like many other bridges. From underneath, it looks much like many other bridges, also. I like the fountain more than the bridge. The bridge is free to visit, but the parking lot is not. I was not impressed.
Walnut Canyon was the next stop after a night in Flagstaff, AZ. A description I had said that cliff dwellings were visible from the visitor center. Well, they are, but they are not close. They are across a canyon. A trail walk that includes 240 steps up is required to get a good look at the ruins. I did not want to take the time or expend the required effort. The view below is as good as it gets from the visitor center area.
Our next stop was at Meteor Crater in Arizona. This is a really big hole in the ground! Meteor Crater is privately owned and operated, not a national park or monument.

To give an idea of the size, the above picture of half the crater has the remains of a drilling operation in the crater bottom at the left side. Below is a closer view of that site. On the fence at the lower right is a flag and astronaut. The flag is 5 feet wide. The astronaut is 6 feet tall. Pictures like this are why I use a Tamron 28-200 mm zoom lens.

There are a couple of viewing platforms behind the visitor center. This one has preset scopes and labels to allow several interesting  points to be easily seen. There are conducted tours of the rim available at specific times. It was too hot for me to want to take the tour.
Our third stop on 20 September was at the Very Large Array, or VLA. It is located along US Highway 60 about 50 miles west of Socorro, NM. The array is located in a remote, flat valley, and can be seen from a great distance. There is a self guided walking tour with signs that explain much of the equipment. Displays in the visitor center tell of some of the accomplishments of the array.

The dish antennas are arranged in a Y shape. The present configuration is with the smallest spacing between units. The antennas can be picked up and moved by a monster machine that rides on four railroad type rails. Maximum size is 13 miles for each of the three arms.

After a night in Socorro, NM, we headed east, avoiding the interstate highways. The last night of this trip was in Big Spring, TX. When checking out of the motel, I asked where the "Big Spring" was located. The counter lady knew, and gave me directions. This green water, turtle filled hole is what remains. An older man feeding the turtles told me the original spring was located in the dark area of this photo. He said he swam there as a boy. The spring dried up when the road above it was built. They now have a piped-in water source, with the pipe hidden, just to the right of this picture. 
Next stop was home in Austin, TX. We enjoy the traveling very much, but we also enjoy our 10 grandkids, and miss them too much to stay gone too long.

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