6/8/07 We spent our second day in Sedona relaxing in the campsite and by taking a bike ride to Uptown Sedona. Diesel, of course, raised the issue of not being provided with his own bicycle and we had to remind him that he is still grounded to his leash due to several episodes of aggressiveness and backtalk. About a 1/2 mile trail walk outside of the Rancho Sedona entrance with its view of a Cartoon Rose Mesa framed by arching tree branches, is a series of arts and crafts shops called Tlaquepaque. We were very much tempted to have our auras reviewed at one of the many establishments apparently thriving on such psychic examinations. It was a bit of a climb up out of the valley where our campground is located, but it was worth it for the better views that we had of the red rock towers around us. Sedona is like a sort of Zen garden with un-defaced public sculptures and objects de photograph like this old buckboard placed beautifully around the town. Avoid any thoughts of Disney World or the various Westworld places that you might have seen and think instead of what pretty towns like Easton or St. Michaels would be like if the national government owned and protected everything outside of carefully defined city limits. At the corner of AZ-89 and AZ-179 that marks the center of Sedona, there is a tasteful little resort with an inner courtyard looking out over Oak Creek and our tree hidden campground.
Turning north on AZ-89 we peddled up the hill to what is called Uptown Sedona with more shops and many adventure enterprises like hot air balloon rides, helicopter rides, and many off road Jeep and Hummer possibilities. We made the choice of Pink Jeep Tours as our adventure vendor for the next morning and then made a slow tour of the public sculptures before riding back to our campground for showers and dinner.
6/9/07 This was to be the day of our great Pink Jeep Tour adventure so we rose early and walked along the trail from our campsite to the place where we were to catch the free Sedona Roadrunner which would take us to the Pink Jeep Plaza tour departure location. We met our other jeepmates and then mounted our trusty pink steed for a ride past our campsite and up, up, up Schnebly Hill Road through the red rock towers with their protective basalt caps until we had reached the very top of the Mogollon Rim at about 6,200 ft. where we were photographed by our driver, Chris. Think of the best tour leader that you have had, add a dash of élan and subtract all but one corny witticism and you have our geologist, botanist, and historian guide.
Our tour continued its harrowing way past a rounded plateau of slick rock called the Cow Pies where a gap in the mesa revealed another mesa behind it only veiled a little by the blueness of distance. Next we passed a set of chessboard figures and got a better view of a broken basalt ridge topping before returning to have lunch at the Wildflower Bread Company and walking back to our camp.
6/10/07 We spent the late morning through early afternoon at the high end shopping and eating complex called Tlaquepaque. Linda made a purchase of some bling before we had lunch at a great Mexican restaurant. After our dinner this evening, we will pack up and get ready to say a reluctant goodbye to Sedona in the morning before heading north on AZ-89 through Flagstaff to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
6/12/07 Our first morning in the Trailer Village was bright and very cold so we waited until the sun had warmed things up a little before we set off on a walk north past the Shrine of the Ages to the Rim Trail where we took our first pictures and then walked east to the Yavapai Observation Center. There we caught the Blue Shuttle Bus for a ride around theVillage Route to get our first look at Hopi House, El Tovar Hotel, Kachina Lodge, the Train Station, and Bright Angel Lodge. We reconnoitered the Hermits Rest transfer to the Red Shuttle Bus line, andthen continued past Maswik Lodge and the back country mule corral to return to our campground. After lunch and a Diesel walk, we again caught the Blue Shuttle for another ride around the village to the Hermits Rest transfer point where we rode, stopped, and snapped our way through Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, and Pima Point to the Hermits Rest at the end of the trail.
When I first visited the Grand Canyon in 1977, I had gotten a room at the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim until I could get a back country camping permit and had then spent the next week hiking the canyon from the North Rim to an ascent of the South Rim on the Bright Angel Trail then hitched a ride to the South Kaibab Trailhead and descended into the canyon for another three day trip back to the North Rim. On first reaching the South Rim, I had been horrified at the degree of development that had taken place with all of the lodges and the other tourist infrastructure. Thirty years later, I am not such a purist and the old lodges seem to blend into the contours of the canyon rim. The shuttle buses run on natural gas and are quiet and clean with cheerful and knowledgeable people piloting them. I still hate the mules and their riders who smash the trails into dust rivers with their big clunky feet as they carry lazy adventurers to an air conditioned overnight stay at the Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the canyon.
6/13/07 I got up at 4:25 AM to ride the Blue Shuttle and the Red Shuttle to Hopi Point for the sunrise. I set up my video camera on its tripod and let it run for 15 minutes as the shadows slowly spread across the canyon mesas while I took a few stills and watched a herd of female elk as they took their morning repast. Then I returned to Maswik Lodge and pursued another herd of elk as they munched their way along the railroad tracks into Bright Angel.
We broke camp at about 8:30 AM and drove south on AZ-180 to Williams where we rejoined historic Route 66 (I-40) west to Kingman and paid our now traditional homage to Wally World. As we are driving along the highways we have been singing a paraphrase of the Counting Crows "A Long December" lines:
"And it's one more day up in the canyon; And it's one more night in Hollywood." Our version goes:
Images of Greece 1989