Sedona Sux

Trip Start Apr 18, 2008
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Trip End Apr 26, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, April 25, 2008

At breakfast, I sit next to Oliver the parrot's cage and try to teach him how to meow. We're served delicious pancakes, and I eat one, forgetting that syrup in the mornings gives me a big sugar crash later. We both are happy enough with the Inn that we make arrangements to stay another night. We even get to keep the same room.

I want to see the Meteor Crater that is off of I-40 near Winslow, about 50 miles from the Inn. Julie doesn't really care, but she wants to go to Jerome, which is south of Sedona on highway 89-A and I don't really care about that. So we agree to do both.

Turns out that the crater isn't worth our time. It's a big hole in the ground, and they charge you $15 to go look at it. It is a really big hole in the ground, I grant you that, but again, the scale is so huge that the brain just can't appreciate it. If you stand on the lip and look down into it, you see some small stuff at the bottom. When you look through the telescopes they have available, you see that one of those tiny things is a paper cutout of a six foot man. The bottom is something like sixteen football fields in diameter, but you just can't appreciate it from the rim.

The crater isn't all bad. They used it as a test environment for the astronauts in the seventies, when preparing them to walk on the moon, for example. And it is kind of amazing to think that some gigantic hunk of rock flew in from outer space and smashed a huge hole into Earth. What is bad is this series of plaques that celebrate the lives of the family that, by sheer luck, happened to own the land the crater was on and were both clever enough to realize it was from a meteor, and greedy enough to try to mine the iron they presumed was left in the ground and when that didn't work (there wasn't any as the meteor apparently was blown apart in the impact) to turn it into a tourist attraction. Hardly merits a commemorative plaque, in my opinion.

So, a couple of hours wasted. Our next stop is Sedona. I'd heard that the red rocks there are really cool. I also heard it's a hotbed of hippy-dippy new age spirituality. To get there, we drive back to Flagstaff, and down 89A through the Oak Creek Canyon, which is gorgeous. We're getting hungry, and decide to stop in Sedona for food.

We've never been to Sedona before, so if you have, you can laugh at us right now. Sedona, at least the part they refer to as "Uptown" is a tourist trap. People everywhere. A lot of cement. Gift shops selling mass-produced trinkets. We park, and start to walk down main street looking for food, preferably something fast and inexpensive. We aren't seeing anything like that. A guy stops us and says we look new in town and says he can help us. We follow him into his storefront, not sure what his game is going to be, but after he gives us info on a great place to hike, he tries to get us to visit his resort outside of town. Says they'll give us $100 if we do a 90-minute tour. We leave and keep looking for food, and still haven't found any by the time we reach the end of Uptown. So we cross the main street and head back to the car. Still no food. So we decide to drive onward to look for something else.

By the time we get back to the car, I feel dirty, like I've just walked through a pornography superstore. In new age terminology, the place has the energy of a sewer.

We drive past Uptown and find a national-chain bagel restaurant and eat a relaxing lunch. We decide to drive to Jerome and then come back to hike. The red rocks that Sedona is famous for do look pretty cool, and it would be neat to take a hike.

Jerome is about 30 miles away. It's the site of an old mining town, and sits nestled into the side of a mountain. The elevation of the town center is just a few feet shy of a mile above sea level. The streets are narrow and hairpin through town; the houses are really old. We'd heard that it was a haven for 60's hippies, but I am disappointed that its just another tourist trap. One with history and ambiance, but nevertheless, the streets are lined with gift shops and the raison d'etre of the place is clearly to separate the tourist from her dollar.

Julie likes it more than I do, but she's really into architecture. And anyway, I'm not feeling too good. I'm starting to get kind of dizzy and a little nauseous. I realize I might be getting some kind of heat-sickness because, as usual when I'm not sure how far apart my bathroom breaks will be, I'd been drinking sparingly. I try sitting in some shade while Julie checks out a pottery shop, but I'm not getting any better. I need some fluids, preferably something with electrolytes, like Gatorade. Luckily, the town does have a "general store," and it does have Gatorade. I ask the clerk if she knows of anything I should do besides get fluids into me. She suggests sitting in the shade in the park. She also suggests that the altitude might have something to do with how I am feeling. Or a combination of heat and altitude sickness. I consider the idea, but the Grand Canyon south rim is like 7,000 feet above sea level and I didn't have problems there.

While Julie looks around town some more, I sit in the park in the shade on a bench next to a woman named Deborah, who seems like an old hippie. She tells me all about her family and her grandchild and the property she owns in a nearby town.... I'm always amazed at people who just tell you their whole life story on first meeting. There's a guy hanging around and periodically interjecting himself into the conversation. His name is Robert (pronounced Rowbear) and he needs a bath. He also seems inebriated. He reminds me of people I knew nearly thirty years ago in Santa Barbara. Julie shows up and I tell her I have to go because I still don't feel better. I'm sorry to cut Julie's visit to Jerome short, but she's a good sport about it.

By the time we reach the outskirts of Sedona, I'm feeling better, but not better enough to go hiking. We sail on through uptown, up the Oak Creek Canyon, and back to the Inn where I lie down for a bit. When I feel better, we go feed doggie biscuits to the sled dogs, who are in a large pen near the parking lot. We see Doug with another parrot, a big red one (Oliver is gray) and talk to him for a little while. Dinnertime is approaching, and Julie notices a menu for the Mountainaire Tavern. We figure it's got to be close as we are on Mountainaire Road. When we ask Doug, he points to the next building over. "That's it." He tells us the food is good, but sometimes it takes awhile to get it.

We walk in and it's really a tiny bar with about five tables on the left. This one redneck guy gives us a dirty look. I am seriously worried he'd follow us out when we leave and beat us up or something. (He doesn't).

The food does take a long time to come, so we are glad for Doug's warning. But it's good, so the wait was okay. And it's not like we've got anything to do but go back to our room and pack up. Tomorrow is our last day in Arizona.
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Where I stayed
The Arizona Sled Dog Inn

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