Monday, May 29, 2006, Sedona, AZ
We've just spent the weekend in a place that reminds us somewhat of home - and not always in a good way!
We left the Grand Canyon almost directly after the helicopter flight - we felt that we had really done it justice by then. Our goal was Sedona, a place that we'd both heard of but never visited. We drove directly from Tusayon to Flagstaff (slogan: "They don't make towns like this anymore") where we stocked up on a few things at the supermarket, and used the internet to pay the latest credit card bill. Then we drove down the stunning Oak Creek Canyon in the direction of Sedona. We had planned to find a campground somewhere along this canyon in the Coconino National Forest. It was only Thursday, and we figured that most people would have to work and wouldn't be able to get away for the weekend until Friday. How wrong can one be? The winding and sometimes steep decline down the canyon had plenty of traffic and the campgrounds either showed 'Full' or looked very crowded with campers already. It was a very stressful drive and after turning around (not an easy feat) to look at yet another crowded campground, we decided to drive into Sedona and find something there.
It proved to be a good decision, for more than one reason. We drove into town and immediately hit the 'Uptown' area - full of tourist oriented shops, and roadworks in process to beautify this area for visitors. I was wondering where the locals were - first similarity with Byron Bay! We drove through and followed the directions from our guide book of campgrounds (courtesy of AAA) to Rancho Sedona. It proved to be a well-treed RV Park on the bank of Oak Creek and from the moment we took our tired selves into the office we started to feel better. The women working there were extremely friendly and courteous. We got the feeling that they picked just the right site for us and, rather than just sending us off to the nearest vacant spot, they gave us directions to check out the site before making our decision. We were very happy with the site and went back to the office to check on internet access - yes, they had wireless, so we paid for 4 nights.
Sometimes we seem to travel endlessly and it feels good to just stop a while. We felt like we had to stop somewhere this weekend as everyone we spoke to advised it, but we were also ready to stop. We parked the truck, plugged in the electricity, made a gin and tonic and sat down under the big shady tree that came with our site. You couldn't really hear much noise except the creek and some light traffic noise in the distance. We started to relax.
The time here has been very useful, particularly for Juergen, not only to get our website updated, but also to do some of the time-consuming jobs like the guest book and the site map. But we also found time to check out the town and the surrounds.
On Friday we walked from the Park uptown. The views from the main street are stunning. Sedona is certainly in a beautiful place - next similarity to Byron Bay. It is surrounded on 3 sides by red rock structures, weathered through ages by wind and water to appear like whatever your imagination sees. You look at one and think, that's worthy of a photo and then your eyes move on to the next one and the same thought comes in. The town is also very green - the green trees and the red rocks portray a stunning vista. Houses are also seen dotting the hillsides, but the colour covenants that seems to be in place mean that the vast majority blend perfectly into the landscape. (Even MacDonald's has to obey the regulations - hence, no yellow arches!)
As well as the tourist shops offering t-shirts and off-road tours, we discovered art in this area, both on the street and in numerous galleries - another similarity with Byron Bay. It seems that Sedona is home to many artists. There were also many new age shops offering massage, tarot and various other self-help therapies (even a small shopping plaza named Osho Plaza) - another similarity with Byron Bay. On our way back to the park we stopped at Tlaquepaque, a mexican style precinct with designer clothes shops, restaurants and more galleries.

Continuation on > Page 2 > !

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