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Experiencing Arizona by Car

Author: Shipmatesforlife (More Trip Reviews by Shipmatesforlife)
Date of Trip: October 2007

Sun. Oct. 21 Grand Canyon/Williams: We got up early and went to the Maswik Lodge cafeteria for breakfast of oatmeal - very good. After we ate we took off for our walk to church. It was a brisk morning - just right for a little jaunt. We were surprised it was such a short walk and that we found it with just one wrong turn. We arrived around 7:20, a little early for 8:00 Mass, but better early than late.

The church was in a modest residential area and blended right in with the other homes since it was a remodeled white frame ranch. The only sign of it being a church was a large cross to the left of the door. Well, of course, there was a sign! We were the first people there so we just walked in and chose a seat. There were only four pews in the center with folding chairs along the sides and back walls. As we sat waiting for Mass to begin we were captivated by the wall behind the altar. The entire wall was a beautiful mural of the Grand Canyon with a bright blue sky and a lone condor soaring high above.

Gradually more people started to arrive. A woman asked for volunteers to assist at Mass explaining that she and her husband were the only regular parishioners. We didn't volunteer. When Mass was over Father said a special prayer for the family of a four year old girl who had fallen over the canyon's edge the previous week. She was the youngest person ever to fall from the canyon's rim and die. http://www.kpho.com/news/14304861/detail.html As we walked back to our room the morning was still quite brisk and I was glad for my heavy coat, hat and gloves. It was time again to pack our bags. We checked out and told them our bags were in our room ready for pick up for the train ride back to Williams.

We had some time to kill so we decided to take the free shuttle to the other side of the south rim. (There are several free shuttles around the south edge of the canyon each with a different route) As we were waiting for the shuttle outside the lodge, a group of hikers ranging in age from 42 - 64 arrived to wait for the same shuttle. They were decked out in all the up to date hiking gear and walking sticks. They were going to hike down the south rim, across the canyon and up to the north rim, back down, across and back up the south rim. For some of them, it was their first time hiking this terrain. But they had a very experienced guide from Canada.

We took the "blue" line out to the Visitors Center and walked to Mather Point which was a wonderful look out. We then continued on the "green" line further out yet to another look out point where the hikers would begin their descent. We chose not to get off the bus here but we wished them well as they exited the bus. We switched buses again back to the blue bus which took us back to the lodge.

We had some time until our train left so we got a dish of ice cream (imagine that!!) and played cards in the dining room. We left the lodge with plenty of time to walk to the depot, which didn't look to be too far of a walk. We headed toward the building only to discover when we walked in the door; it was just another information center. Now what!!!! The depot was not within walking distance - not if we wanted to catch our 3:45 train - the only return ride that day. They told us at the Info Center a shuttle bus should be stopping by soon. Just our luck it stopped within minutes of our "panic attack". At least we were able to ride part of the way to the train depot. Along the way we saw a large elk with a 5 x 5 rack - beautiful. There were many deer around the depot so John was on a mission to capture all of them, including a big buck, on film as I visited with fellow passengers.

We boarded the train, this time we chose first class rather than the dome car (been there - done that). But it was still much better than the regular coach seats. We had snacks again and toward the end of the ride - champagne. During our ride, the same ole cowpoke came to our car and sang a few songs. Then two bandits on horseback got aboard and tried to rob everyone. (not really)

We arrived back at the depot, got off the train and re-registered at the hotel. There was a very long line because everyone from the train was doing the same thing - re-registering. We finally got to our room and our bags were there waiting just as they were at the canyon lodge. We still had lots of water in the trunk of our car. Our goal - to finish the water before we left. We drank lots of water.

We went to the train depot store to spend our $40. They had very nice merchandise and the prices were reasonable but we had to hurry - we were meeting friends for dinner at 7:00.

Back again at Max and Thelma's - there was a long line but our friends were toward the front so we just slithered up front with them. We had a very nice meal.

Our friends discovered they had a broken fan belt when they arrived at the lodge so they had to pick up their repaired car at the gas station after dinner. We offered to take them rather than them getting a cab. We got in our car and John started it. Guess what - another warning light came on. We needed air in "both" rear tires. Now I am really upset! We took them to the gas station which was not far at all. John got air in both rear tires which removed the warning. Now that they were on their way, we went back to the hotel - tired little puppies.

Mon. Oct. 22 Williams/Sedona: We got up early, packed our two little suitcases, checked out, took our luggage to our car and then went to Max and Thelma's for breakfast. It was 8:30am and 35 degrees when we left Williams for our next stop - Sedona, AZ.

We had seen so many pictures of the beautiful red rock formations surrounding Sedona and we were very anxious to experience yet another wonder of nature.

On the way to Sedona I call the Pink Jeep Company (as seen on the internet) and scheduled a very "safe" tour for 1:00 that afternoon. We arrived in the beautiful city of Sedona - elevation 4500 ft - around 10:30. We had to find a place to park then we walked around the quaint little town nestled among beautiful red rock mountains. The sun was shining and the sky was bright blue. It made you feel good just to be alive! We looked in the little shops but not buying. We got a little hungry so we got our usual - ice cream sundae.

We checked in for our Pink Jeep tour around 12:15. We had to wait 45 minutes so we looked around some more. We went into a bakery - big mistake!! We bought macadamian nut cookies. They were very good. On the walk back to the Pink Jeep office a couple tried to hustle us into a Hyatt Resort tour but John was strong and said "no".

At 1:00 we got in our little pink jeep with one other couple and the driver. Off we went. The roads were a little bumpy but the scenery was beautiful. We agreed, though, after seeing the Grand Canyon this mountain range seemed miniscule. We took lots of pictures and the driver was very informative. [My opinion: It was an "ok" tour. I think we probably could have driven ourselves to where he took us - well maybe not everywhere but we could have seen enough on our own. If you didn't mind being bounced around in a jeep and wanted a more rugged adventure they had off-road tours that took you on and over the red rocks and down the "Road of no Return". But we played it safe with the least rugged and possibly the more boring tour. The scenery was very nice but I felt we kept going past the same rock formation over and over - just from different angles.]

When we returned from our tour it was time for us to check in to our hotel for that evening. AAA had booked us a room at The Radisson Poco Diablo Resort. It was a very, very nice place and just a short distance from the main road in Sedona. Our room was very nice with many unexpected amenities. This is another place I would have enjoyed staying longer.

After we checked in, we drove around looking for the local Elk's Club. John is an Elk and he likes going to clubs in other cities and states. We pulled in the parking lot, took a picture of the building against the red rock mountain background. We then noticed lots of people coming out. I asked one woman if the bar was open and she said, "no, they had just finished playing cards. The club was closed." Bummer - I knew John was disappointed as we left.

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