Yesterday we decided to take a day-trip in the convertible now that the weather is finally cooling off a little. Top down and rarin’ to go we took off in the early AM with no concrete plans, just thoughts of getting away. As we approached the red rocks, I felt a sense of humility just gazing on the natural wonders. Every time I drive 179 and see all the monolithic rock formations and spires I become so inspired to walk the land and soak up the energy. They just make me feel good.
If you’ve never been you should visit Sedona, AZ. It is about a 2 1/2 hr. drive from my little Phoenix suburb, Ahwatukee and every time we go I am so happy we did. We drove along 89A and took a side road called Airport Rd. which goes to ….uh, obviously the airport and Mesa Grill at the top of the road but most importantly the vortex turnoff on the left. We had trouble finding a parking spot, went up to the top of the road, checked out the view there then were lucky enough to get a spot on the way down. There are two trails Airport Loop trail is to the right. As we walked along this trail it runs along the edge of the mountain and we were able to look out and see Bell Rock and all of the other formations. It was just amazing. Until you see it live, you’ll never believe just how awe-inspiring the views are. We could hear the sound of bagpipes from the valley of the foothills of the rocks which was ethereal. The hills and formations were tree-covered which gave a different view than usual. I don’t believe we’ve ever been at this time of year to see the green growth from some of the rain we’ve had.
As we walked, we found different trees and growth than we’ve seen before. Sedona is far enough north of where we live that the trees are different. The juniper trees are amazing and look like they’ve been there since the beginning of time. As we walked along the mountain precipice, we were aware of the rock wall to our right…..and found an interesting face in it………I think it looks like a steer skull. What do you think? As we continued our walk a lovely bluebird popped out of the growth, but got away before I could photograph it. The day was magical.
We then continued down 89A N to Oak Creek Canyon and drove along it. It is so peaceful and charming. We found a few turnarounds, and were thinking of pulling over, but just never found the right opportunity. So as we continued one mile past Slide Rock State Park, there on the left is the entrance to Garlands, which is to the left. On the right was the little place I remembered as the perfect place to stop. It is a little park with picnic tables and barbecues and of course Oak Creek. The sound of the rushing water is so soothing as you sit down on the giant rocks and look for fish. As we drove in we saw a man with a half dozen trouts on the line. So, they are out there.
As we had done all this adventuring, my husband thought it was time to eat. I wasn’t hungry yet, so we drove 15 miles on 89A Cottonwood so I could look through the Ye Old Hippie Emporium. The
town is terribly charming and has their own barbecue places, cafes and the like. I was a little disappointed in their fare as the last time I had been there, I found quite a few cute silk dresses for a fair price. Unfortunately, this time I wasn’t enamored with anything in the store, but did look at a hippie bag made of bits of cloth with embroidered flowers and peace signs. My husband liked it so we bought it as he totally remembers bags like it from the day, so I felt compelled to buy it and wear it.
Then we stopped in an antique shop which Cottonwood has quite a few of. Nothing really caught my eye there either, but I think at this point I was thinking of food.
We took off back for Sedona and had the biggest, best burger I’ve had in years at The Red Planet Diner. If you’re looking for a giant, honking, greasy burger that’s a throw-back to when you were a kid and had outdoor barbecues, this place is for you. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my belly and I went along with my husband ordering a double cheeseburger. OMG, you can get it to order, too. So I had the biggest, juiciest RARE burger since my family cooked for me and coleslaw on the side. A little salt, ketchup, pickle slices, coleslaw and Hello Heaven! I made a concerted effort to eat the whole thing, but I didn’t make it! I did a damn good job, but am still paying for it today . . . I’m not used to eating that much beef at one time, but it was worth it, it tasted sooo good! I think my stomach is still full and I’ll pass on eating today.
(c) Evelyn Garone 9/30/12