Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 34 - Sedona AZ

Black Bart's RV Park is quiet and it is dark at night making last night one of the first times that we could see many stars from a campground.  Most of the campgrounds have so many lights going at night that it looks like a mall parking lot.  We are quite near I40 and something involving sirens was going on out there in the middle of the night.  Other than that, no odd happenings happened to interrupt a good night's sleep.  We decided that today we would visit Sedona, AZ.  Sedona's main attraction is a stunning array of red sandstone formations, the Red Rocks of Sedona.  We have driven through the city before but thought it was time to put our feet on the ground there.  Unless you are a die hard shopper, it's possible you would not stop either.  The place is very popular with tourists and shopping seems to be a big draw with hundreds of high end shops and restaurants as lure.

The trip from Flagstaff begins innocently enough by heading down Oak Creek Canyon via US89A.  The sign saying trucks over 50 feet prohibited was probably the best indication that it would be a fun drive.  The whale was safely tucked into her berth at Black Bart's so we had no issues with the length of the pickup.  Once we got going down there may have been some small question about the length of the rest of our lives!  This road does a big series of switchbacks that just look like a tight knot on the GPS screen.  The shape of the road winding down was something like a slinky that has been stretched too far so that it bends over on itself. 

The scenery was thrilling; as we got lower into the canyon the red rocks started to appear.  This is where I would like to say that it is very nice that we have state and national parks.  The canyon and a lot of Sedona is in private hands and there are oh so many signs advising that this path is not for public use, keep out.  But the National Forest Service is much in evidence here and there are trails and campgrounds and lookouts for the common folk to take advantage of. 

No pullout here so we just pulled onto the shoulder and hopped out.  This is a panorama from the highway of several of the more prominent formations.

An interesting feature of the rocks is the variation in color.  The white layer is limestone and the red layer is sandstone colored by hematite (iron).  It is thought that some of these layers were formed underwater, some volcanic and some deposited by water.  This place has a real geological mishmash.

Sedona's main drag has lots of adobe architecture and lots of people.  Today was the Columbus Day holiday so that may have contributed to some of the crowds.  A strategy we used because the shopping didn't appeal to us was to go one block up from the main street and explore there.  Success!

We skipped breakfast since both of us were still digesting the steak dinners from last night.  But we found this cute bakery/cafe called Sedona Memories where we had an excellent lunch.  The place was charming (read small counter at which you make your order and large bakery kitchen in the back) and the people were friendly.  Our order taker declared "it's Indiana Jones himself" when we walked in owing to Brett's hat.  The weather was so lovely that we sat outside at one of the umbrella clad tables.

This is my turkey sandwich.  It is on freshly baked whole wheat bread and includes:  turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce, Swiss cheese, sunflower seeds, avocado, sprouts and lettuce.

There is also a sort of "spiritual" industry in Sedona.  Primary contributor to this is the belief that Sedona contains several spiritual vortexes (in Sedona this is the plural of vortex rather than vortices).  This descriptions says it nicely:
In Sedona vortexes are created, not by wind or water, but from spiraling spiritual energy. The vortexes of Sedona are named because they are believed to be spiritual locations where the energy is right to facilitate prayer, mediation and healing. Vortex sites are believed to be locations having energy flow that exists on multiple dimensions. The energy of the vortexes interacts with a person’s inner self. It is not easily explained. Obviously it must be experienced.

We parked the truck in one of the free parking lots and decided to walk to the museum we wanted to visit.  The walk took us about a mile along Jordan Road on a nice (red) sidewalk.  We got to see examples of the architecture (I liked the square, flat adobe homes) and landscaping (boo-hiss for green watered lawns and hooray for the pebbles and cactus). 

The walk also included some art.  This is a bench we found along the way.  I believe that the critters are javelinas which are the only wild native pig-like animals found in the United States.

This metal sculpture is an apple peeler.  When you get up close to the apple you can see that the inside is made of all sorts of metal things:  gears, scissors, nuts, etc.  The apple theme made sense once we learned that the museum is on the site of a former apple orchard.

The Sedona Heritage Museum Jordan Historical Park was just excellent.  It tells stories of Sedona's history and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  No photos were allowed inside.  There were hundreds of historic artifacts and photographs.  We paid two dollars extra to get the audio tour and it was well worth it.  This added narration by actors depicting the people we saw in the exhibits and explaining more about their daily lives.  Did you know that Sedona was named after the first postmaster's wife, Sedona Schnebly?
The Jordan family from Cape Elizabeth, ME settled here and started the orchard where the museum is now located.  The docents were thrilled to have people from Maine visiting them. 

It looks like the gardeners are serious about their work!

These very nice wood carvers were doing a demonstration outside the entrance.  We talked to them for a long time comparing notes about types of wood and techniques.  This gentleman even invited Brett to attend their woodworkers meeting on Thursday.  Sadly, we have planned to leave on Wednesday. 


This old fire truck is in beautiful condition.

And this is an apple grader which sorts out apples by size.

I wanted to try local foods while we were traveling so we bought this Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly.  I'll get back to you on how it tastes.

There was a lot of activity going on outside as we were leaving so we stopped to watch.  The museum was taking delivery of a new statue "The Storytelling Cowboy" and we were pleased to be able to watch the installation.
We decided to take SR179 out of Sedona rather than go back up the canyon road.  This would allow more views of the rocks from different angles and avoid another harrowing trip up the corkscrew turns.  It was well worth the extra 30 miles. 

All in all a very nice day was had!

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