Photos and their locations (some estimated) on Google Maps. I'd post some in thread, but they're large and I don't have the means at this moment to resize them.
We departed from Phoenix at about 7:30 AM and promptly headed towards the freeway. I was unaware that access to I-10 West was not available at Baseline Road, so we headed west on Baseline to 32nd Street, and headed north to meet back up with I-10, hoping it would be open there. Again, we found barricades. After backtracking East on University and up through the airport, we finally made it to an open highway, the Red Mountain Freeway (AZ Loop 202), where we made a beeline west towards I-10. After briefly passing through downtown, we turned north on I-17, finally heading out of town.
We stopped for a quick breakfast off of Happy Valley Road in the far northern reaches of Phoenix (yes, after 45 minutes of driving, we were still in Phoenix City Limits, and still had another 10 minutes of it left!), and continued on into the High Country.
With all the problems with the car, I was expecting problems, but everything was working well so far.
We crossed the Agua Fria National Monument and drove past Arcosanti (I really wish that would pick up steam, they've been working on it for decades and it's going nowhere fast). After crossing the Verde Valley, we finally turned off the highway near Red Rock, and proceeded towards Sedona.
We stopped and topped off our tank at Red Rock (at nearly $3 a gallon), and stopped at a viewpoint and took some of our first pictures.
Continuing north, we entered Sedona. Not much to see there on this trip, as we're just passing through. Perhaps on another trip when I have more time I'll venture through there.
We turned north on AZ 89A and headed towards Oak Creek Canyon.
The drive through Oak Creek Canyon is wonderful, if not so much for the scenery, but for the road itself. Plenty of curves, hills, and some really nice hairpin switchbacks!
We finally made it into Flagstaff, and headed East to Walnut Canyon. The view at Walnut Canyon National Monument is really amazing, and the hike is a killer. We did only the Island Trail, as it took everything out of us just to get back up (and anyone else who did the hike down into the canyon). It was amazing to walk among the cliff dwellings. I prefer not to call them ruins, because most are still intact and, theoretically, still habitable (although the doors are quite small... I don't think the average modern American could get in one.)
Further along on the trail, we come along some of the more crumbled cliff homes. There are literally dozens of homes in this area alone. It would be amazing to see the canyon light up at night like an ancient condo complex.
After resting and allowing our lungs to re-inflate, we headed back into Flagstaff for a hearty meal. Not knowing where to go, we wandered the streets of Downtown Flagstaff for 45 minutes, until we stumbled upon Bigfoot BBQ. The food is very good and decently priced.
We headed back into Phoenix after wandering around Flagstaff for a little longer.
It wasn't quite as long as I had hoped, and we didn't see everything I wanted to see, but it was a start, and a really good work out!
This is definitely an area that I would like to explore more. Once I have a more reliable vehicle, even hitting some of the back roads in the area to get off the beaten path.