Sunday, January 25, 2009

Northern AZ Road Trip: Part 1

Without further ado...

I'm finally getting around to posting about our amazing road trip through Arizona. The idea kind of started on a whim. We decided to be spontaneous and take a vacation inside our vacation. So, with the Christmas money I got from my Grandmother, I decided to do some sightseeing...experience what Arizona actually has to offer beyond long, toilsome hours buried in law school text books.

So, Melissa and I sat down in front of Google maps and charted out our journey.

Stop 1: Sedona, Tlaquepaque
Our last trip to Sedona was great, but I was really sick so I couldn't really enjoy the whole experience. And we didn't have enough time to see some of the things we wanted to see. So, we went back. Sedona is about two and a half hours of driving through beautiful landscapes. As you leave the Phoenix area, things slowly turn to a different shade of brownish-grey, the cacti disappear, and trees appear intermittently along the highway. By the time you're getting close, you notice the red rock formations for which Sedona is famous. It's called Red Rock Country for good reason.

One small disclaimer, before I go on: There are countless sights we did not get to see that we still plan on seeing. I may mention a few in passing.

So we passed Camp Verde and Montezuma's Village (one of those sights for another time) and entered Sedona, which is perpetually under construction. We stopped at an information center before we entered the town and had a nice chat with one of the attendants there. He turned out to be from Aberdeen...small world. He recommended a few sites along the way which I will mention as they come.

We hit Bell Rock...

We went back to the Chapel of the Holy Cross...

Then we headed up to Tlaquepaque, "the art and soul of Sedona"...

Tlaquepaque is kind of a shopping plaza, but more. It's hard to explain its allure, but it exists, I promise. It's full of arts and crafts and paintings and photography exhibits from local artists (not necessarily from Sedona, but regionally local). I almost spent hundreds of dollars, but fortunately Melissa was the voice of reason this time. I did buy two inexpensive prints from a set, depicting a sunset over a desert landscape with cacti. They are set in hand-cut mats. We had extra frames for them.

After a few hours, we decided to get on our way to Page, AZ.

We looked for Sunset Crater Volcano along the way (recommendation of the Aberdeen man), but were relatively unsuccessful in finding it. We found the sign for it, but we didn't feel like delving too deep into a detour when we were antsy to get on the road. Page was another four hours north of Sedona.

The journey to Page will be another entry. Stay tuned...

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