Good morning World! It’s the first full day in Sedona. After yesterday’s trials and tribulations we took our time getting up and out. I’ve been here before but Sandy has not so it was fun listening to her oooh and ahhh over the beautiful red rock formations.
Eventually we made our way out to the car and drove up 89A into upper Sedona. The place was packed with tourists. We just added 2 more to the head count. 🙂 I finally found a place to park. Although it seemed like it was part of the parking area it was way down on the bottom level next to the trash cans and recycling receptacles. That’s ok by me. There wasn’t a sign that said 3 hour limit so I guess it pays to “go slumming” now and then!
Since this is Sandy’s first visit I suggested we take the double ride on the Sedona Trolley. Their motto is that the Trolley is the “First , Best thing to do in Sedona”. I agree. The ride is not just a sightseeing trip, it also helps you get familiar with the layout of the town. Often the drivers make suggestions for places to eat or shop as they point the highlights along their route.
The trolley runs 2 tours, each one covering a different end of Sedona. We bought a combo ticket for both rides. It’s very reasonably priced at around $22.00 per person for the combo. Once we had our tickets in hand we had about an hour before our trolley ride started so we used it to explore the shops in upper Sedona. We are saving the actual shopping for the end of our stay but this gave us a chance to see what was available for souvenirs.
Of course “Dirt Shirts” are everywhere and you can watch the episode of Dirty Jobs on how they are made in almost every store.
Back at the trolley we headed out to the area of Sedona the locals use. There’s a Walgreen’s, a Safeway, McDonald’s, KFC and scores of nicer restaurants. We took a side loop to pull over for some photo ops with the Red Rocks like Coffee Pot Rock.
The driver pointed out the plateaus and mesas and buttes. They all probably started life the same way but erosion has changed them into their current shapes. A butte is a small flat-topped hill. Buttes are what is left of a mesa after it has eroded away and they are almost always taller than they are wide. A mesa is a medium-sized hill or mountain with a flat top. To be really accurate there should be standing water on a mesa but not on a butte. Mesa is the spanish term for table. A mesa is large enough to run a herd of cattle or find wildlife. A plateau is a really big mesa. The Colorado Plateau is an example of a REALLY BIG plateau. Most are smaller than that and they are wider than they are tall.
The driver also told us about the various plants in the area and how the Native American’s used them in their daily life from medicines to making needles and using the fibers for sewing. She told us that about 80% of the desert plants have some use to the Native Americans.
Back at the trolley stop our driver left us and we got a new one. This one was a man, I think his name was Wayne. He told more stories including telling us which plants were used to make alcohol and which plants were hallucinogenic ending with “You too can believe in aliens or see a wild jackolope!”
It was this trip that took us out toward Oak Creek and the Chapel of the Holy Cross and the Millionaire’s Mansion that is sitting at the foot of the hill.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of Sedona’s most famous landmarks . It is considered to be a very spiritually powerful location like the vortexes of Sedona. The Chapel is built around a simple cross that rises from an outcropping 200 ft above the desert floor. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. There are banks of candles as you enter if you wish to light one for a loved one.
The Mansion at the base of the hill the Chapel is located on gets almost as much attention as the Chapel. Here is a great example of spiritualism vs excess materialism. The mansion is a summer home for a Romanian Millionaire. It has an observatory, more bathrooms than bedrooms, multiple swimming pools and it’s only occupied a couple of months out of the year. The fence around the building actually has real gold in it.
This is also where we got a really good look at Bell Rock
and Court House Butte.
There is also a formation they call the 2 nuns and next to that Madonna and Child.
We also took a quick turn through the shopping area of Tlaquepaque.
As we headed back into upper Sedona the driver pointed out Snoopy Rock with Woodstock on his nose.
We’d seen Elephant Rock earlier in the tour.
He also said there was a formation that was Lucy but I seem to have missed that one. Sandy said she saw it.
The double tour took us about 2 hours (1 hour each) so we got back to the trolley stop at about 3 pm. Just in time to get something to eat at the Canyon Breeze and recap our ride.
We split a cheeseburger ( 1 cheeseburger at the Canyon Breeze is a 1 lb patty) and fries and sat on the back patio admiring the view. Sandy spotted a little bird in the rafters so we tried to identify it as well as one we saw at the Chapel. We think we figured it out but I will save that for my post on the “Wildlife” of Sedona and Northern Arizona. Can’t give it all away at one time!
After lunch (brunch ) we made our way back through more shops toward where the car was parked. On the way we could smell the wonderful aroma of chocolate! At the Candy Store Sandy had a discussion with the mascot but we resisted for now. I am sure we will be back. It’s only day 1 so how long can our will power last?
Back in the car we took a short ride up 89 a into Oak Creek Canyon to the Native American Crafts stand. We admired the fine beadwork and fine jewelry. Sandy picked up a pair of earings.
Sandy wanted to write postcards and get them in the mail early plus we had to be up a the crack of dawn in the morning to drive to Williams to catch the Grand Canyon Rail Road. To make it easy on ourselves we stopped at the local KFC and took some chicken back to the condo for dinner.
The evening was spent quietly relaxing. Sedona is a “dark sky” community so you can sit back and enjoy the stars without streetlights overpowering the view. It was cool, but not cold….yet!
Seems like we didn’t do much but the day was full enough. I think we were both satisfied with the “laid back” approach.