Monday, August 22, 2011

Roadtrip Part 5: Sedona

Sedona was so much fun!!

This was our last stop on the roadtrip, so we wanted to make the most of it. Our first destination as we drove into Sedona from the Grand Canyon was Slide Rock State Park. Here there are a series of natural rock "water slides" created by the rushing river, and kids and adults alike can brave a trip down the slippery slopes. Seriously, it's slippery! I learned that as we attempted to cross the river with all our stuff to claim a spot on the opposite side and ended up falling camera-first into the water (it's ok, this isn't the first time my mighty little workhorse of a point and shoot has spent time on the bottom of a river; it will never die).

The slides themselves (and really, the whole environment of the park) seem fairly dangerous and like a giant lawsuit ready to happen... but it hasn't happened yet, so we very carefully enjoyed ourselves once down the slide (twice for Stanley). It was fun, but painful. Once was definitely enough for me. Good times though!

After driving into Sedona and checking into our hotel (the Hyatt Pinon Point), we cleaned up and headed out for a Pink Jeep Tour. The tour takes you out for some rough-ish off-roading on the red-rock bluffs. We saw some really amazing views and had fun bouncing along trying not to fall out of the Jeep. Our tour guide (Dylan) was awesome, so if you ever do this, request him!

That evening we walked around the cute little town that is Sedona and ate dinner at the Cowboy Club where we tried the local specialty- prickly pear cactus fries and prickly pear margaritas . Yum (although I got stuck by one the next morning and was not so happy with them after that). We got to bed nice and early since we had to be up at 4 for our final big adventure...

A hot air balloon ride!

This was definitely a highlight of the trip, although it wasn't quite the idyllic, serene experience I was thinking it would be. There were 8 of us crammed into a little basket, the heat of the flame overhead was fairly uncomfortable, and earplugs would have been useful to guard against the raging noise every time more hot air was shot into the balloon.

However, the views were completely gorgeous as we watched the sun rise over the red rocks, and that was enough to take our minds off the physical discomforts of the ride. During the initial ascent we got up super high (which was actually a bit scary if you stopped to think about the fact that you're literally just in a balloon...), but after that we hovered fairly close to the ground as the wind swept us along.

The landing was a bit rough, but added some fun excitement. There are no breaks or directional controls on a balloon, so you pretty much just land where the wind puts you. The truck that was supposed to meet our balloon as it landed didn't quiiiite make it to our landing spot, so we ended up skipping and dragging along the ground (and through a few bushes) for a while until the large men in our group got out of the basket and attempted to hold down the balloon until the truck got there. We managed not to fly away again, but I think we were close to getting a second ride. Fun times!

After a champagne toast at our landing sight to conclude the hot air balloon experience, we decided to take a drive out to the little once almost ghost-town, now sort of revived artsy touristy community of Jerome, AZ. It was a cute place to see and walk around. We had lunch at the Haunted Hamburger, got some delicious fudge, and walked around the shops (including a really cook kaleidoscope store). On the drive between Jerome and Sedona we also stopped at the Tuzigoot ancient pueblo ruins.

The next day we had the joy of a 12 hour drive back to San Jose. Yay. This whole trip was just so, so fun and I'll never forget it. Thanks to Kib and Stan for making it amazing and being the best people I could have ever spent these 10 days with. We'll have to do another one someday!

Kibby can!


Michelle said...

Over already?! I'll miss seeing these beautiful pictures. That hot air balloon ride looks amazing. And I always say that even the strangest, most uncomfortable vacation situations make for really good stories in the future. Glad you and your sister and friend had a wonderful time together!

Barbara said...

Thanks for the blog - Fun! As you probably know, your Uncle Joe pretty much did NOT like Arizona, at least as a place to live!, but I think we both agreed that Sedona was really beautiful. Approaching it by car and being faced with beautiful walls of red rock...Thanks again.

Rod and Alex - aka: "Rolex" said...

Oh my goodness!!! This looks absolutely amazing! I am definitely going to plan a trip! Thanks for sharing!!!