Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona

And the answer is…The Chapel of the Holy Cross located in Sedona, Arizona.

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The Chapel was a gift from Marguerite Brunswig Staude who felt that a church should be dedicated to finding God through art.

Sedona is known for its spiritual energies and seems an appropriate place for a church that still seems ageless even in 2013. The groundbreaking was in April 1955 and completed in 18 months at a cost of only $300,000 a modest sum even for those days. The dedication was in the spring of 1957.

The most prominent feature is the cross which seems to be wedged into the distinctive red rocks as though it was just planted there by some giant pilgrim.

When you go to Sedona one of the first things to do is take the trolley ride. It’s a great way to get a feel for the area. The trolley will take you right to the Chapel and allow you time to climb the ramp to the top and explore the interior.

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Inside the chapel is intimate and unadorned. Benches hug the angular walls. Down the center are 14 pews in two rows of 7 each. Your eyes are drawn to the cross in the center with the floor-to-ceiling windows behind it.

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It creates an atmosphere to let the spirit soar.

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When I visited there was little decoration. Apart from two tapestries on the wall the only other striking color is the flickering ruby-red devotion candles.

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The Chapel is surrounded by the iconic rock formations of Sedona, Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Cathedral Rock, even a spire known as Madonna and Child.

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This is truly one of the “Must-see” sights of Sedona.

A is for Alaska

or Alabama or Arkansas or Arizona..any other “A” states? I think I got them all.

Where is this going? you might ask and my answer is Alaska , Alabama, Arkansas and Arizona.It’s not just where am I going but where have I been and where do I still want to go.

There’s a magnetic map they make where you can collect a magnet from each state you visit and eventually the whole map will be covered with magnets. Maybe I’ll get one someday. Until then I think I’ll just go on chronicling and planning .

To that end I thought I’d take stock of things and the easiest way is alphabetically.

 So of the 4 states that start with A I’ve only been to one, Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, home of Red Rock Country and the New Age land of Sedona. It’s where I took my first and so far only helicopter ride.  I’ve stuck my feet in the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I’ve marveled over ancient Indian Ruins and strolled through an “African Serengeti” and all that only scratched the surface.

Alaska. Where to start? It’s such a huge state. It’s where I hope my vacation will take me in 2012. I want to see the glaciers and animals; lots of wild animals. There should be bears and seals and bald eagles. There might even be a wolf and whales. We’ll cruise the Inside Passage and spend time in Denali.

Now we get to the other “A”s. Arkansas and Alabama. I don’t know much about them as far as tourist locations but lets see what I can dig up.

Arkansas: Well the Clinton Library immediately comes to mind. After all, Bill Clinton is still a prominent figure, not some dead president. But if that’s all there is it would be a very short visit. Arkansas is a center for quartz crystal mining. Hot Springs and Mt. Ida have Dig-Your-Own Crystal Mines. That could be interesting. The Arkansas Ozarks are beautiful forests and mountains with loads of  hiking trails but beneath your feet is a labyrinth of cave systems. Tours abound  so that could also be interested along with canoeing and kayaking the wilderness areas with my trusty camera in hand. I’m sure there’s more and I’ll have plenty of time to see what else I can find.

Last but not least is Alabama. Right off the bat I can tell you there are National Parks. A great opportunity to collect my Park Stamps. I believe there are 7 separate parks spread throughout the state. Indian culture…the Trail of Tears of the Cherokee people as they were forced to leave their homeland. How about other history. Alabama was a hot bed of history in the civil rights movement and a visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute sounds like a good way to start exploring it. There are Zoos and Aquariums and more history with the Civil War Trail. Sounds like that could be a very full vacation too.

After the “A”s comes “b” but I don’t think there’s a state that starts with “B”? Am I wrong? If there are no B’s we’ll have to move on to the C’s. But I’ll save that for another post.

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If any of you have been to these states or live there and can offer some suggestions or insight, I’d love to have your comments.

A Little bit of Trivia

A friend of mine is a college professor who works with foreign students in an ESL program. ( English as a second language). I happened to run across a quiz on Travel in the USA that is geared to the ESL student. I figured as I travel around the USA and was born here that  I’d Ace the test. Ha! I won’t tell you my score but I will say it wasn’t 100.

Let me know how you do on it.:)

1) At this tourist attraction in Washington D. C. you can find Lincoln’s Bedroom, the Green room and the Red Room.

  • A) The White House
  • B) The Smithsonian Institute
  • c) The Museum of US History

2) Which of the following is NOT a borough of New York City?

  • a) Manhatten
  • B) Queens
  • C) Long Island

3) Which state legalized gambling in 1931

  • a) California
  • b) New Jersey
  • c) Nevada

4) What is the smallest US state?

  • a) Hawaii
  • b) Rhode Island
  • C) Washington D.C.

5) At this famous monument located in South Dakota, you can see the faces of four US presidents.

  • a) Mount Rushmore
  • b) Yellowstone
  • c) Mount McKinley

6) Carmel is a romantic, beach resort in __________?

  • a) Florida
  • b) Hawaii
  • c) California

7) What is the capital of California?

  • a) Los Angeles
  • b) Sacramento
  • c) San Francisco

8) Jazz Music comes from this city.

  • a) New Orleans
  • b) Atlanta
  • C) New York City

9) This is the longest river in the US.

  • a) The Colorado
  • b) The Missouri
  • c) The Mississippi

10) What State is the Grand Canyon in?

  • a) Colorado
  • b) Arizona
  • c) Nevada

Ok now. Have you got your answers?

The correct answers are:











How’d you do?

Last Night, Sedona

As we left Flagstaff on 89 A we were following a couple of motorcycles and I was contemplating how it would be to take a bike on those hairpin curves coming up. It was at that moment that I saw one of the bikers point to the left. I was confused as I thought it was a hand signal but there was no turn off there. Concentrating on what the motorcycles were doing I almost missed it! Sandy yelled “Deer”. I glanced around but didn’t see it so I reply with a loud..”WHERE!” Of course her reply was “There!”. (Who’s on first?) Anyway I finally spotted a doe bouncing off through the pine forest. It was definitely a mule deer. It ran with its tail down ( a white tail deer has a tail like flag when it runs) and it bounced more than bounded. It made me think of a cartoon animal bouncing with springs on its feet.  Yea! Wildlife!

It’s my last trip down the winding Oak Creek Canyon for this trip. And as if the sunset gods knew it was my last chance the sky lit up in reds and golds over the red rocks of the area. Afraid I wouldn’t get to the bottom in time to get “my sunset picture” I pulled off to a wide spot on the shoulder. I grabbed my camera and bolted outside to see what I could capture.

Unfortunately there was no iconic rock formation for the foreground (like Snoopy Rock or Bell Rock) but I won’t complain. Who knows when I will have another chance like this.

Parked as I was in a precarious place on a winding road, I didn’t dare stay too long or wait out the setting sun. I grabbed what I could and returned to the car to finish the drive down the canyon.

It seems like Sedona was putting the finishing touches on our trip, a nice sunset, a bouncing mule deer. Too bad we didn’t see any javalina’s while we were here.

It was time to think about packing up, clean out the fridge and getting ready to leave in the morning.

Back at the Time Share, we stopped at the reception area to print out our boarding passes and complete the check in process online. I dropped off a couple of boxes of clothes that I was shipping home and then it was time to go back to the unit and finish packing. It was nice to be able to drop off the “if it fits it ships” boxes. The Time Share charged my card for incidentals for the postage and then they gave the boxes to the postman on Saturday. If I had to go to the post office in the morning I wouldn’t have had time before we left for Phoenix.

A nice perk of the time share is an apartment sized washer and dryer. We’d used it mid-week and tossed in a last wash now so that we could take home clean clothes. It’s nice to get home and not be faced with a pile of dirty laundry. On the other hand, if the TSA is going to paw through my suitcases giving them dirty underwear might be a deterent..maybe? I’m still miffed over the loss of that $50.00 camera battery but what can you do???

I will wrap this up now as we did absolutely nothing special that last night so I won’t waste your time with useless drivel. 🙂 I mainly wrote this post to tell you about that final beautiful sunset. As always I have to say that the pictures don’t even come close to doing it justice.

Petrified Forest

Ahh the Petrified Forest, who hasn’t heard of the place where trees have turned to stone? It was quite a ride from the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook. We headed north to RT 40 and east toward Winslow. Along the way we passed Meteor Crater. I’ve been there but to my surprise Sandy said skip it. She said if we had time after the went to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert we could stop on our way back.

I was surprised how much longer it was after passing Meteor Crater. It was past lunch time so we stopped at a Denny’s for a quick lunch. We had fish! In the middle of a desert we ordered fish! It was really good. Ironic isn’t it?

Back on the road we finally began to see signs for the Petrified Forest. There were lots of places willing to sell us a bit of the petrified wood too. It’s illegal to take any of the petrified trees or bits of wood from the National Park but not all of the Petrified Forest is in the confines of the park so there’s ample opportunity to get a sample. We finally spotted the Visitor Center where I wanted to stop anyway to collect my National Parks Stamp.

We got some good rangers and volunteers again.  We explored the exhibit of  dino remains that were on exhibit and heard stories about the petrified wood and how it’s so hard that only diamonds are used to cut and polish the “gems”.

We bought a CD that is  a ” Driving CD” audio tour. It included a rough map to help us see where we were in relation to what we were seeing.

The whole tour is about an hour a and a half if you drive straight through. We didn’t plan to linger too much but we weren’t going to rush through either. We were playing cat and mouse with the weather again.

 Little rain storms kept cropping up all over. It would rain, kind of hard at times but then it was over and the sun was back out just as fast. We could look out over the landscape and see these little pockets of rain.

The tour started right at the Visitor Center called Rainbow Forest Museum. In addition to the fossils on display here there is a short trail that winds through a section of the Petrified Forest. It contains some of the most massive logs in the forest including the big one named “Old Faithful”.

The road led us into a series of mesas called Flattops.

 It is in this area that archeologists have found evidence of the Paleo Peoples who lived in the area.

They were hunters and gatherers so most of the remains are artifacts such as tools and weapons. They can track the development of trade through the years as their artifacts changed over time.

Jasper Forest has a large deposit of  red hued petrified forest. The logs here were buried in  mud so the minerals from that mud settled in the wood and created the red color. Now the bluff is eroding and the logs are being revealed.

One of my favorite stops was Agate Bridge, a natural bridge of a petrified log. The railroads shored it up with concrete so it stands today.  I am going to share a  story but if you go I am sure a guide will tell it better than I can. The story is that 2 cowboys were playing poker and one bet the other that he and his horse couldn’t ride across the Agate Bridge. If the Cowboy made it he would win a $20.00 gold piece and bragging rights. If he lost, the challenging cowboy would get the dead man’s saddle and boots. Well the horse was surefooted and the cowboy was a good rider and they made it across safely.  Anyway, you won’t catch me on that bridge.

The Blue Mesa was a great spot! The views here were of a striated multicolored landscape. Blue Mesa has also been called the Purple Forest because of the purple or lavender color of the crystals in the petrified wood here. There’s a 1 mile round trip hike that I would love to take if we had more time. The area we are in is also referred to as the badlands, just like the Badlands we visited in South Dakota.

The teepees came up quickly and there was no mistaking them! They are really memorable. They look just like the teepee of the plains indians. There is little plant life or vegetation here . The landscape is so surreal it’s almost like stepping onto another planet.

Our tour led us to Newspaper Rock. It took some looking but I finally spotted at least some of the Petroglyphs this stop is named for. The Petroglyphs are scratched into the surface of the rock. It removed the dark stains on the rocks known as Desert Varnish. Joe (From Native American Journey’s) had mentioned it to us on that tour. Apparently scientists still aren’t in agreement on exactly what the Desert Varnish is but it didn’t stop the ancient people from using it as a black board for their art.

We saw the railroad tracks and the river lined with Cottonwood Trees. Our next stop was at Puerco Pueblo. As we listened to the tour we pulled into the parking area. It sounded like an abandoned pueblo similar to what we saw a Tusigoot. In the interest of time we chose to move on. We wanted to be sure we had time to  see the Painted Desert.