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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Roadtrip #4A: Sedona, AZ and back

    Happy Spring 2009 to all you road trippers...

    My family and I are taking a "mini" road trip to our neighboring state of Arizona for a free week-long stay at a resort near the town of Sedona, courtesy of a grueling 4-hour timeshare presentation I endured on the last road trip.

    We'll use this as our base camp during the week to visit places in the near vicinity. We've been to Arizona twice already and visited most National Parks, so we're kind of making sure we pick up all the "leftover" destinations that we've skipped over. For instance, we'll be taking a few days to visit the southeast corner of the state that we missed last time. A plethora of National Monuments are also on the list.

    Once again, Google Maps has given me the opportunity to show our route and all planned destinations of our 10-day excursion. You'll probably have to zoom in since some things are crowded together.

    Our itinerary: (which of course is always subject to change)

    Day 1 - Drive to (and tour) Tombstone, AZ
    Day 2 - More Tombstone, Bisbee (Mine Tour), and Chiricahua National Monument
    Day 3 - Drive through Phoenix, Sun City West, arrive at Sedona
    Day 4 - Chill day - Tour the town of Sedona if it's not too crowded
    Day 5 - Visit Jerome, AZ
    Day 6 - Trio of National Monuments, including Sunset Crater Volcano
    Day 7 - Visit Flagstaff, downtown area, etc.
    Day 8 - Visit Tuzigoot NM and take the Verde Canyon Railroad
    Day 9 - Chill day - Leftover ideas will go here if any
    Day 10 - Drive through Williams, AZ and Barstow, CA to get home

    I may do spotty reports this time around (meaning not every day), although in the end I will report on everything I've seen. This will also be the first road trip that I get to put my Canon EOS 50D SLR camera and 5 different lens to the test. And what better place to do it than Arizona? :)

    And of course, if you have any ideas that I haven't listed here, please feel free to share. I'm always open to spontaneity.

    Our trek starts at 4:00am PDT on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. Stay tuned for the usual fun-filled field reports...
    Last edited by Kinless; 05-12-2009 at 09:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default My "home turf" = the Chiricahuas

    Joey,

    Looks like another great trip you've got lined up. Cave Creek in the Chiricahua Mountains is always going to be a "home turf" to me. I was a lookout on Silver Peak for six months back in the olden days.

    We look forward to your periodic updates!

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some Others

    You've got some great choices in the southern Arizona portion of your trip, but a couple of others worth considering include Kartchner Caverns State Park and Fort Bowie National Historic Site. If you use I-17 north out of Phoenix rather than taking US-60 up through Sun City to Sedona, you'll have the chance to visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, and just east of Flagstaff, on old US-66 there's Walnut Canyon National Monument.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Day 1

    ===== DAY 1 =====

    Our day began at 3:30am PDT, the earliest we've ever had to rise and shine for a road trip. It was a necessary evil, as we wanted to ensure enough time for a full day at our first destination almost 530 miles away.

    We left our San Juan Capistrano, CA residence at 4:10am PDT and headed south on Interstate 5, doing our familiar transition of I-805 to I-8 and heading east into the California desert. After a breakfast in Yuma, AZ, a transition to Interstate 10, and a few pit stops for gas and restroom breaks, we finally reached Hwy 80 and headed south, arriving in Tombstone, AZ short of 2:00pm MST.

    After checking into our hotel, we drove into the town made famous by the 20-second event of Wyatt Earp and the O.K. Corral gun fight. It was rather amusing to see it replicated everywhere you went, in pictures, posters, souvenirs, models (full scale animatronics to model scale), and murals. I honestly had no idea about any of this stuff (history is not my strongest subject), but Dad, being the western novel reader he is, was anxious to see the town he's read so much about, as well as witness the history behind it. At least I walked away learning something, haha.

    We managed to catch the final gun fight show of the day at the O.K. corral and took a glance at all the historic items littered throughout the area. We also caught the what-seemed-to-be-out-of-the-1960s presentation with a revolving model of Tombstone and a movie narrated by Vincent Price. Mildly entertaining. We topped it off by heading to the Epitaph printing station and looking at the printing presses from the late 19th century.

    We walked up and down Allen Street, looking for anything worthwhile to buy besides the usual postcard, shotglass, magnet business. Oh yes, and we remembered to head over to the biggun Rose Bush museum. That thing was so huge even my 17mm wide angle lens wouldn't fit it. Once we were done we headed back north to the old Boothill Cemetery where over 250 graves were marked. Although the headstones weren't exactly authentic, they still gave you the low down on who, when, and how. I managed to get some decent shots.

    We decided the Longhorn restaurant would be our choice of dining for the evening. Decent meal, decent price. We're good.

    Long day, and I mean LONG. And tomorrow will be a doozie, too. Stay tuned.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Day 2

    ===== DAY 2 =====

    I suppose the day could have started off better. The allegedly "free" breakfast at our hotel was garbage. Instead of the self-serving buffet-style items we're used to, we had to choose five items from a list to be served to us. That wouldn't have been so bad except the service was terrible, the food wasn't hot, and was given to us in random pieces. You got a tiny glass of juice (and refills weren't free). We haven't travelled since the economic downturn hit its hardest so we're wondering if this is the way hotels are shifting? I certainly hope this was just an isolated "free" breakfast policy.

    Anyway we headed out and back into Tombstone. We made sure to view the Bird Cage theater and museum since we missed that the previous day. Lots of fascinating stuff inside.

    That was pretty much all we had left to do. Down Hwy 80 we raced to the mining town of Bisbee. We briefly walked the streets of old town before crossing the highway to ride the 12pm Queen Mine Tour. We donned our slickers and hats before heading 1500 feet down into the mine, where our guide "Sonny" (who himself was a miner for 21 years) gave us an outstanding overview of how the mines worked. Lots of authentic pieces of machinery were down in the rooms for all to see, even the contraption that miners sat on when they had to "do their duty." I recommend this tour for anyone and everyone!

    We barely begun heading further south when sight of the Pit caught our attention. You could see a half-mile down the side of the road where some serious mining had been going on, with a vat pool of sulfur sitting at the bottom. Pretty deep hole. Pretty impressive, yes.

    Douglas, AZ would have been nice to see, but we had a higher priority date. Up Hwy 191 we drove and transitioned over to Hwy 180, which leads to the National Monument of Chiricahua.

    I had no idea this place was towering with erosion-induced columns and spires, triggering overall beauty towering around you. It's kind of like a mix between Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah. We headed 8-miles to the end of the paved road, named Massai Point. Here you can see miles of the rocks that seemed to pop out of the ground. Here we walked the Nature Trail, and visited the exhibit room with 360° panoramic views. After an hour of that we headed down and stopped along the way where notable formations have stood for ages and ages. It's too bad my folks (and probably myself too) didn't have the stamina nor time to visit some of the more prominent features of the park, such as the balancing rocks. Oh well, our eyes got enough of a treat.

    We left the park around 5:30pm MST, took Hwy 180 north to I-10, and transitioned once again to Hwy 191, leading us to Safford, AZ where we will rest up and continue in the morning.

    Full days all around. My feet hurt. More to come...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Day 3

    ===== DAY 3 =====

    Today wasn't quite as hectic as days past, but it was still plenty of driving and doing.

    We left Safford at 9:00am MST and headed north on Hwy 70, transitioning to the 60 somewhere around Globe, AZ. We finally made it to the city I've unintentionally avoided for the last 4 years. And to make sure it was official, we headed straight for the Capitol Building in Phoenix, AZ.

    We spent a little longer than planned viewing the 4 floors of the Capitol Museum, as well as the outside grounds in front. Very informative and interesting. We dug it.

    Next was a trip to Sun City West, AZ to visit a friend that mom knew from her 2000 trip to Italy. We spent 2 hours there eating and talking it up.

    We headed out at 4:00pm using the 101 Loop to I-17 north. Unfortunately 4:00pm on a Friday afternoon heading away from a major city is never a good idea. We lost 30 minutes to the parking lot on the freeway from merging cars to a 2-lane road. But that didn't stop us from getting to our resort in Oak Creek before sundown.

    Oh, and I'm a little worried about one thing. I've been used to the 75MPH speed limits on the highways, and I was instinctively doing that (maybe 1 or 2 MPH over) on the 101 north loop after we left Sun City West. It was then I saw a camera off to the side. It was also then I remembered that Arizona has speed cameras (CA does not). It was also then I saw the next posted speed limit sign say 65MPH. *sigh* Crap. Now I'm going to be all paranoid this week. I didn't see any flash from the camera, but this was during the day so I don't know if the flash would have gone off anyway. Maybe the local AZ folk would know about this. We do have a rental and I read AZ law about how they have to match up the speed camera photo with the vehicle owner's license photo (and they don't have mine). Maybe I'm OK? I don't need another point on my record after the 2007 Escalante, UT fiasco.

    Now that we're in the area of our primary destination of Sedona, I may not do updates every night, especially days where we just want to relax. You'll know if something exciting happens.
    Last edited by Kinless; 05-15-2009 at 09:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Fingers crossed !

    Hi Kinless,

    I am enjoying reading your report, thanks for the updates.
    I hope all goes well with the speed camera, I don't know if they basically operate the same as here in the UK, but over here if they flash once, you got away with it, a double flash and your screwed ! If you noticed the camera then the flash is very apparent day or night, fingers crossed for you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Day 4-5

    ===== DAY 4 =====

    Saturday was mostly a chill ride-around-town kinda day. We didn't do much except drive to all the scenic points on Hwy 179 south of Sedona and snap the 'ol tourist pics of the rock formations and valleys. I did a small hike to the mid-point of Bell Rock, despite the 95°F weather. Soon after we headed a bit north to the famous Chapel in the Rock, as well as the controversial multi-million dollar mansion (complete with observatory) directly below, which we found the owner to be the patent holder of Lasik. It's a sight to behold, no matter which side of the fence you stand.

    I took a nice dip in the spa that night and talked to some cool peeps. Good times indeed.

    ===== DAY 5 =====

    For Sunday, the goal was the small vertical town of Jerome and the 44th Annual Home Tour that went along with it. We arrived there about 10:00am MST and bought our tickets in the middle of the town. From there we were shuttled to 10 different points of the tour, most of them being upscale bed-and-breakfast pads, or some other important landmark. Our favorites for the day were the 5-story Victorian Mansion (under construction for the last 15 years and being sold for $1 million), and the Honeymoon Cottage with fabulous rooms and views. The rest had some history behind it, and were worthy pieces to tour. We ended the day with a walk through downtown before heading back down the mountain.

    My feet are killing me. Another 30 minutes in the spa tonight should set things right.

    We'll be doing more stuff this week. Keep it right here.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Day 6-7

    ===== DAY 6 =====

    For Monday, our goal was to hit a trio of National Monuments, all within the vicinity of Flagstaff, AZ.

    At 9:00am MST we headed up Hwy 89A, never letting off of that number until we reached the turnoff for the Wupatki National Monument, our first stop for the day. There were six different pueblos to explore, and we managed to hit all six, despite the temperature soaring into the mid-90s. Luckily each "hike" was no longer than a 1/2 mile. Each site had it's own special flair to offer. We liked the Citadel, the one on the top of the hill with 360° panoramic views.

    The road luckily connected us up to the next National Monument on our list, Sunset Volcano. As we entered into the park boundaries, those afternoon thunderstorms started rearing their ugly (i.e. beautiful) head. We hit the Lava Rock Trail parking lot and it started raining at a decent pace, but that didn't deter the mom. She took off towards the trail, beckoned by the piles of lava rock. We also started seeing impressive lightning streaks across the valley near the San Francisco Peaks, which of course captured my interest right away. Dad and I waited for a few minutes in the van until the rain subsided, then we joined Mom on the trail. We spent the next hour taking the mile-long loop at the base of the Sunset Volcano. Excellent scenery (and weather) all around.

    By the time we were done here, it was almost 5:00pm and we were getting tired, so we decided to take National Monument #3 and put it off until the next day. Our feet can only take so much.

    ===== DAY 7 =====

    On Tuesday we got off to a late start. I was pretty much forced to endure another timeshare presentation for the free week stay we were getting. Of course, I (repeatedly) declined as I'm in house-hunting mode and will already be stretching my income as it is in order to make that happen. I did get a free $50 VISA card out of it.

    As I walked in the door to our resort, we headed right back out to the National Monument we missed yesterday, Walnut Canyon. We arrived a little after 1:00pm, and decided between the two trails offered, that we would take the more strenuous one down into the canyon. The weather has been improving (temperature-wise) and was only 78°F in the canyon so it wouldn't tire us out. Good enough.

    Down the 240 steps (180 feet) to the loop that took you around one of the mountains. Here was a plethora of pueblos built into the hillside, with the overhanging rocks as the main incentive. Great views to behold, and the walk back up wasn't really that bad, since we paced ourselves accordingly.

    We headed back into downtown Flagstaff and walked the street of San Francisco, taking a few side streets to see what was around. I took a few pics of the government buildings but that was all. I headed down to the Amtrak station in hopes of seeing some trains, but my timing wasn't quite right. *sigh*

    We grabbed some Del Taco for dinner and headed home. The next day should be exciting, and you'll find out why soon enough.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default Be careful along I-17 South

    Oh, and I'm a little worried about one thing. I've been used to the 75MPH speed limits on the highways, and I was instinctively doing that (maybe 1 or 2 MPH over) on the 101 north loop after we left Sun City West. It was then I saw a camera off to the side. It was also then I remembered that Arizona has speed cameras (CA does not). It was also then I saw the next posted speed limit sign say 65MPH. *sigh* Crap. Now I'm going to be all paranoid this week. I didn't see any flash from the camera, but this was during the day so I don't know if the flash would have gone off anyway. Maybe the local AZ folk would know about this. We do have a rental and I read AZ law about how they have to match up the speed camera photo with the vehicle owner's license photo (and they don't have mine). Maybe I'm OK? I don't need another point on my record after the 2007 Escalante, UT fiasco.
    Since you're doing your best to avoid speeding tickets, beware of the speed trap in I-17 South as you approach Phoenix. As you descend the highway, you may very well run into a local law-enforcement officer parked on the median or shoulder with a radar or laser gun to bust you for speeding. It's easy to speed because it's all down hill around Black Canyon City.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-20-2009 at 01:15 PM.

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