Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RED ROCK ROAD TRIP

Bell Rock near Sedona

Chapel of the Holy Cross - 90 feet high

Near the Chapel

Sedona from Airport Hill

Red Rock Crossing and Cathedral Rock

A different view of Cathedral Rock

In Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona









The above are all at the Grand Canyon

We had just driven past a place called Frog Rock when Aileen spotted this 10 or 12 foot high frog

We’ve been living in the fast lane this past week. Last Thursday, I went with the hiking group to the Coke Ovens which I have been trying to get to since early last winter. The Gila River level is still very low so we were able to wade across in shin deep water. There were 23 of us who waded across and once across it was only about a mile of walking to our objective. A couple of us climbed another hill for a different angle and when we arrived back at the vehicles, most had already left for home. I thought with such a short walk, we’d do something else to make the long drive worthwhile. I took my two passengers into the old stage coach stop. Nobody else was interested but Glen and Irela seemed to enjoy the site. I had taken Bev and Aileen out to the area the day before to check the water level as there was a rumour the water would be pants pocket deep. We had our lunch at the stagecoach stop and saw a road runner as we arrived. They are not seen very often so that was a bonus.

On Friday, the 20th, we drove to Sedona in the land of the red rocks. We managed to get a couple hours of shooting before dark then found our Super 8 hotel and got settled in. We had lunch at the Blue Moon Café in the Village of Oak Creek and did some shooting between there and Sedona. I found the whole area quite frustrating for photography. The scenery is fabulous but the roads are set up so you can’t pull over just anywhere to take a picture. Where they (the engineers), in their esteemed wisdom, put parking and viewpoints, there generally wasn’t anything worth bothering with. Bev managed to shoot as we were driving and got some shots. The other thing I found was there would be spectacular scenery but some development would be smack dab in the forefront. Houses, power lines, roads and more have destroyed so much of the natural beauty of the whole area. You would think that the government developer/designers would have given consideration to how development would affect the viewscape which is what brings all the future tourists and their money. It just seems so short and narrow sighted to me. Perhaps it was all to do with money and to heck with nature. On Saturday, Bev bought a Red Rock Pass which allowed us to park and wander around the area. We went to Red Rock Crossing and took some pictures including Cathedral Rock which Bev had been wanting to do ever since seeing pictures of the area when she was researching Sedona some time ago. The best light would have been late afternoon but we only had the morning. As it turned out, by mid afternoon it had clouded right over so that day wouldn’t have done it. We had lunch at the Javelina Cantina which was supposedly voted best in Sedona. My burger arrived without any meat. In hindsight, I should have kept quiet as it turned out to be possibly the worst burger I have ever had! After that we went to Expressions Art Gallery which Bev had seen online and in magazines. There was some incredible art on display which was mind boggling. Of course, so were the prices. I’d like to sell my 8x10s for $248! There was a huge eagle sculpture with a price of $650,000. There were about 100 artists represented and many different media used.

Our drive up Oak Creek Canyon was less photographic than anticipated because of the overcast. We outran the clouds before getting to Flagstaff where we stayed at a Super 8. At 6900 feet, I nearly froze walking to our supper café as there was a nasty wind. After supper, I spent some time at a Barnes and Noble bookstore next to the motel. We drove to the Grand Canyon Sunday morning via an 8200 foot pass through the San Francisco Peaks where there was a dusting of snow in a few spots alongside the road. This Sunday wasn’t as busy as the Sunday a month ago when we last visited the park. I think Bev was suitably awed with the experience. After lunch the ladies hung out around the Bright Angel Lodge area with a good view. I rode the Hermits Rest shuttle planning to go the whole distance but I ended up walking the Rim Trail about halfway in then the light died and a cold wind sprang up, so I just hopped in a return shuttle back to the truck.

We stayed in Tusayan at the Red Feather Lodge as it seemed to be the only one that allowed pets. First off the toilet plugged so had to get maintenance over. It did it again in the morning and Aileen remembered some mention of that happening in online comments she’d read. However, when it is the only one accepting pets, there isn’t much choice. A first for us was that you had to have a pet inspection of your room before checking out. The little Mexican guy wandered around the room looking like he was checking for dog turds in all the corners! And then since we were still there half an hour later, he had to inspect it again. Weird!

Leaving Tusayan Monday morning, we went to Prescott for lunch at the Palace Hotel which was quite an interesting place. Several movies including Junior Bonner starring Steve McQueen have been filmed in the bar. The food was very good and there were lots of old photos on the walls to peruse. Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp along with Doc Holliday played cards in the hotel and Tom Mix and William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy) were regulars. There were lots of other famous people who frequented the hotel. From there we carried on west through twisty roads and small towns making our way to Wickenburg for the night. We stayed at the Best Western in really nice adjoining rooms. We walked over to the Gold Nugget Restaurant for supper and had a very nice supper. We had the dining room to ourselves for awhile but more diners gradually came in.

On our last day, Tuesday, we took the Vulture Mine Road and worked our way down to Gila Bend where we arrived in time for lunch. Since we were invited out for supper, we got onto I-8 and put the pedal down. We stopped a few minutes in Coolidge for gas and groceries and were about two hours home from Gila Bend. We drove by my aunt Jacquie and Jim’s and found that they have arrived. They pulled in yesterday and reported a great trip down from BC with no snow. Supper was at our Grand Junction friends, Ken and Marie’s place. Ten of us had turkey with all the trimmings done potluck. Of course it was very good! After supper, I downloaded Bev’s pictures from today. She has been having a ball with her digital camera but has a mountain of work to occupy her for some time. She has taken 5210 images since leaving her home less than three weeks ago. I have only shot about 900 in the same time frame. Of course, I have been to many of the areas while they were all new to her. Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day for us and then Thursday is when we drive Bev into Phoenix and her flight home.