The utter stillness of the national park was just the ticket for our previous two nights of not-quite restful sleep. Yes, my wife's 4 a.m. call of the wild introduced a bit of discomfort as the chilly night air rushed into the tent and down to the bone, but once that call was taken, the early morning agenda was open and the phone lines were cleared.
After listening to the modern day morning camping chorus consisting of the beep-beep-beep of backing up motorhomes, an errant car alarm or two, and the whipping flap of 20 lb. ravens hovering nearby in hopes of stealing a campers breakfast, we broke camp, took $2-for-8-minute hot showers at the convenience center a short walk away, and found our way to a nearby cafeteria for way-too-much breakfast at way-too-much prices.
Still and all, we saved a few bucks by camping out the night before, so the splurge didn't bother us, knowing as well that we'd probably skip lunch as the national park foodstuff weighed heavily in our gullets.
The last stop in our Grand Canyon tour was at the Watchtower. I hadn't been snapping as many snaps in and around the GC as most of the other tourists we observed during our stay, but something about the Watchtower brought some life back into my shutter finger. Indulge me a bit and let me post a few here...
Side note here, a great drive leaving the GC area would be via the easterly Desert View drive, and down the hill past the Little Colorado River Gorge. Spectacular views out of every window, tight curves, smooth pavement, and 65+ speeds the entire time.
Growing somewhat weary of ruins and natural wonders, we opted instead to head into the fantastic Red Rock Canyon for a visit to the artistic colony known as Sedona.
The drive down the RR Canyon was full of twists and turns, narrow at times, and dangerous as all get out, only because its so very hard to concentrate on the road when the scenery outside the windshield is utterly breathtaking.
As long as it took to get into Sedona, once there, S and I couldn't get out of town fast enough.
Sedona may be loved by the folks who live there and the busloads of tourist and art seekers who flock to the place every season of the year, but whatever historic remnants of the small artist colony ever existed are now buried beneath the heavy-handed strokes of commercial developers, faux-southwest designers, and million dollar hillside homes that Mary Colter would gasp at with utter disdain.
As did we.
For a town that sits in such a naturally magnificent setting, boasts a roster of some of the Southwests master level artists, as well as a rich history worthy of the great cities in the country, it has become a soulless place.
But, I don't live there, so just ignore my ramblings. Sedona-ites would probably scoff at my small Oklahoma town as simple and soulless as well.
We made our way to the city of Cottonwood which has a far removed section of the towns old Main Street that seems to be undergoing a small nostalgic resurgence. We stopped at a wonderful antique junk shop that was closing it's doors in 5 minutes, that we'll be visiting in earnest when it's doors open in the morning.
S wanted a tub to bathe and relax in tonight so our accommodation choices were limited to chain hotels. Awhile back we passed by a Jack in the Box, a fast food chain that hasn't yet made it to OK, that originated and is quite popular in SoCal. The menu is typical fast food burger and fries fare, but Jack offers something called the Super Taco (now known as the Monster Taco) that is a unique taste sensation.
You Super Taco eaters know of what I speak.
So yes, for dinner we entered a state of denial and bought a 6-pack of the nasty, greasy, deep-fried pseudo-Mexican treats in a slip-out sleeves and finished the bottle of muscat from our campfire last night.
Hey, we're on vacation.