Sinéad and I went on what was one of our biggest adventures about a year ago - our Honeymoon. We never imagined we would see Sedona, let alone go there for our Honeymoon. However, we were very blessed with a huge gift that allowed us this amazing opportunity.
I made this blog post as a gift to her for our 1 year anniversary. Something for her to be able to go back to and see when ever she would like to retrace our adventures in Sedona. For this posting I am using photos we both took.
As per most long distant getaways, our adventure started with a bit of travel. After being blessed to spend an absolutely wonderful day in Maine with the Blazeks, we got up early and made our departure to catch our flights. We made our flights with time to spare, and our connection went smoothly. It was a clear enough to take in some great views of the landscapes we were darting above.
When we arrived in Phoenix the sun was setting. We boarded the bus to the car rental facility and proceeded to spend the next hour waiting on the rental agent to figure out how to not recover our reservation and then fumble us into another. By the time we left the parking lot we were both extremely hungry and irritable. ...Couldn't have started off in Arizona on a better note... (it's funny now, wasn't so much then)
We steered our powerful Hyundai Accent to the nearest Target and equipped ourselves with a Garmin. From there we proceeded on the long, dark, hungry ride to Sedona. It was night and overcast by the time we got out of the Phoenix metropolitan area. There was nothing to see except the road, the blackness, and the elevation markers that went up by the thousands. We thought we were being led to drive off a cliff.
Eventually we found our way to Sedona Summit, checked in, and then found a McD's for a much needed bit of food. By the time we made it back to our room, we were exhausted. It had been a nearly 20 hour day of travel on hardly any food. Sleep conquered with ease.
~ Day 1 ~
The next day the adventure took off! We opened our curtains to see our first Sedona sunrise and the first glimpse of the surrounding landscape.
It was spectacular!
We made our way to the Concierge and discussed plans and things to do. I have to admit, I wasn't so eager to bother the concierge, but Sinéad knew better and it was well worth it. Not only did we get some great information, we also were able to grab a beautifully handcrafted, Native American, horsehair pottery, wedding vase.
We'd hear so much about the Coffee Pot, that we had to stop there for a much needed breakfast. The reviews were by no means misleading. The food was incredible. We explored the gift shop while we waited for a table.
Bellies full and still awestruck by the landscape, we started to explore.
We were just starting down the Secret Slickrock trail when quickly approaching storm clouds and nearly non-stop thunder forced us to reconsider our plans.
We hopped back in Snoopy (the Hyundai) and sought out our next checklist item...
- the Chapel of the Holy Cross -
On the way back from the Chapel, we sung into an odd looking road-side shop called Son Silver West. It defined eclectic to say the least.
We had heard about Taco Tuesdays at Javelina Cantina. We stopped in for some drinks and tacos, and ate a bit more than we anticipated. It was some great food!
That wrapped up our adventures for the first day. The day had flown by, and we were anxious for what the next day would bring.
~ Day 2 ~
We were welcomed, yet again, with another great sunrise. We had grabbed some supplies the night before, so we researched some options for what we could explore while we ate. It wasn't long before we were off to our next great stop...
Montezuma Castle was incredible! There was quite a lot more to the site than just a great view of the cliff side dwelling structure. There was plenty of walkways with information on how the Sinaguan people would have utilized the resources of the area. It was a fascinating place to discover.
We spoke with some of the people at the site, and they suggested also checking out another location not too far away. It was still early so Sinéad and I made our escape just as the flood of tour buses arrived. We were on the road again, but soon found ourselves at our next adventure site...
Montezuma Well would not have been nearly as fascinating had it not been for the cliff side dwellings both at the top of the rim, and down by the water. Sinéad and I had a great time exploring the area, but we were quickly running out of steam as we weren't yet used to the elevation, and it was nearing lunch time.
We both needed a chance to rest after Montezuma's well, but not until after a great lunch at the Cowboy Club. The concierge had highly recommended the cactus fries. I think Sinéad still dreams of those.
We did end up heading out to explore the area a little more, but stayed in the center town of Sedona or found our selves driving around a little of the area. It was the night we got our Red Dirt Shirts. We also spent some of our time at a time share presentation in an attempt to earn an additional adventure for later.
~ Day 3 ~
Our passes for Montezuma Castle offered us a discounted rate at another amazing site to see. Sinéad and I woke up early again to get a jump start on site seeing before the place could get busy. A short journey later we got to discover...
Tuzigoot was one of the neatest structures to encounter. It was nearly fully accessible to the public. We were able to walk into and explore this historical structure. Tuzigoot was a pueblo structure community. A village of people once lived and thrived here.
Jerome was not far from Tuzigoot, and we were told that we had to go visit Jerome - by both family and locals. There wasn't much that interested us in Jerome, but we did swing by the Douglas Mansion - Historical Museum. While we gave the museum a chance, and the history was interesting, it just really wasn't our cup of tea. The view from the parking lot made the stop worth while.
Our next stop was a photography lesson back at the hotel. Sinéad and I had fun with the lesson and shooting afterward. (gotta push the lens for the Bokeh!)
We still had one more big adventure for the day, and we wanted to make sure to be ready for it. We headed back to our room where we rested up and got ready for...
The Pink Jeep Tour
The Pink Jeep Tour was an absolute blast! We did the Sunset run of the Diamondback Gulch tour. (Operating a DSLR while off-roading proved to be one heck of a challenge!)
We ended up having a little post adventure, adventure after the tour. Sinéad lost her favorite hat on the ride back. Luckily we were able to head back out and find it. The road wasn't heavily traveled so that hat was in perfect shape when we found it.
~ Day 4 ~
Sinéad and I had a great adventure planned for this day! It was a bit of a drive, so we set out early. Fortunately, we did not set out too early to catch an unexpected setup of some Native American Vendors when we stopped at a scenic overlook of Oak Creek Canyon.
We enjoyed the view but could not stay long enough for the vendors to get setup. From what we saw of what they were putting on display, it was going to be well worth a second trip. We hopped back in the car and made the long journey to...
The Grand Canyon
One of the hardest things to believe about the Grand Canyon is just how absolutely huge it is. Pictures just cannot do it justice. It goes for as far as the eye can see in just about every direction. Another of the hardest things to believe is that the rim we walked on was about 1000 ft higher in elevation than the summit of Mt. Washington. Sinéad and I were getting winded walking up the slight grades of the sidewalks. We also needed to sit and have lunch to help overcome our bodies not being used to the elevation. It was both a visual experience and physical experience of monumental natures. And, it was wonderful! (Except for the idiots trying to get the perfect facebook profile shot while hanging over the ledge...)
We hit up the gift shop before heading out. We had a long drive ahead, so we left before sunset. I decided to take Rt. 180 which brought us through Flag Staff. We drove right by Humphreys Peak. It was incredible to be at an elevation marker for 8050 ft, and still see that monster of a mountain towering overhead. We drove down a small chunk of Rt. 66 as we made it through Flagstaff.
Once we made it back to Sedona, we got out for a bit of a walk around the town. I tried to convince Sinéad to let me buy her a blanket, we just couldn't find a great enough one to grab. We enjoyed our walk and then headed home. Time was going by too fast, we weren't ready for the next day to be our last full day in Sedona.
We enjoyed our dinner that night at the Cowboy Club. Sinéad fell in love with their Buffalo Pot Roast, I acquired a taste for Red Rock Mules.
~ Day 5 ~
We started our last full day in Sedona off the right way with a breakfast at The Coffee Pot. We still haven't found salsa, nor a morning breakfast stop that competes.
We did a slight bit of exploring after breakfast before making our way to the Oak Creek Canyon Vista Overlook. This time, we were able to grab a few gifts from the Native American artisans. They had some really beautiful work. On our way back from the overlook we stopped at Slide Rock State Park for a bit of fun.
We enjoyed a massive late lunch at 89Agave. It seriously was massive, and really good! Sinéad and I could hardly walked out of the place...
We were fortunate enough to enjoy the sunset the final evening in Sedona. We went up to the Airport and were surprised to see just how many other people had decided to do the same thing. It was an understated but pretty autumn sunset.
Sinéad and I had a funny feeling about how the day ahead was going to play out. We got packed up and left a little extra early. It was a fortunate thing we did, but I'll explain that later. About a mile from the airport I was able to find one of the most shady gas stations to fill the car at. Definitely glad it was sunny out! The station was about 80 cents a gallon cheaper than anywhere else. Sinéad did not leave the car...
We got the car dropped off and made it to the airport. Southwest's computer systems were down across the entire country... We waited a couple hours to get checked in. The lines were incredibly long... We were glad we got there extra early!
Our layover was in Chicago and Sinéad was super excited to see that Midway had her favorite sandwich shop - Potbellies. We had a great lunch, and eventually made it back home. It was a long drive in the dark, but the roads were familiar, and it felt good to be home again.