Okay, Monday was the train, Tuesday we arrived in Flagstaff, Wednesday we went to the Grand Canyon, and Thursday we went from Flagstaff to Phoenix by way of Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. I mentioned my parents were very excited about our visit and planned the most beautiful routes for us.
This picture is a little hard to see, but you can make out the road we would be traveling in 3 different spots. The first one is going from left to right, the second from right to left, and the third, lower down again, is from left to right. I the ten miles or so it took to drop down into the canyon, we lost 3,000 feet of altitude. It was beautiful!
Oak Creek, the cause of the Canyon ran along side the road for a long way. The vegetation was pretty typical of mountains, lodge-pole pines, quite a few fruit trees which had been cultivated there, and at the top of the canyon, this cactus growing on the rock and blooming.
It was a shock of "We aren't in the Midwest any more."
The lower we went, the warmer it got, as well. There were many places to camp, and there seemed to be communities branching off the road, but all of a sudden we came around a corner, and we were in Sedona. This pictures shows the red rocks, the vehicle we were traveling in, and DH taking one of the 900 pictures he took on the trip.
It was gorgeous! This picture gives you a good idea of Sedona. It is surrounded by beautiful scenery. There's a lot of "old time" cowboy stuff, there's a lot of tourist stuff, and then there's all the new age stuff. It seems that in or around Sedona there are a male and a female vortex that come together. (!)
As a result of the touristy stuff, there are a lot of fun shops. DH found a pair of cowboy boots, and I found a couple of thimbles and spoons.
For lunch we went to the top of one of the buttes to the airport. You can't see it in this picture, but this is the runway. We ate on the patio of a small restaurant; most of the cars in the parking lot had Arizona plates, which made us feel this was a real Sedona place.
There is a lively artist community in Sedona as well, along with everything else. And what do artists need? A place to sell their things, of course. There is an upscale "mall" called Tlaque Paque with high end shops that we spent some time perusing. Art glass, clothing boutiques, a bead shop, a bronze sculptor's studio, where you could order one of the statues based on the clay model, and an oriental carpet shop with beautiful rugs. I think I could have spent all day there. There was a Christmas shop, and I got an angel made from corn husks:
and another arpillera made in Peru:
This one is quite a bit larger than the farm/village scene I got last summer in Michigan. I love Bible stories, and all the animals in Noah's Ark are fun to look at.
We stopped at Montezuma's Castle, which has no actual Montezuma, but it is a cliff dwelling.
After the hype and glitz of Sedona, it was a lovely, quiet, and real part of the history of Arizona. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but the setting is so beautiful and quiet that it was a real oasis in the day.
After that we settled down and pushed on to Phoenix. At one point, all of a sudden, you started to see saguaro cactus. I am amazed by all the different landscapes in Arizona.