Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday, 29 September

We roll out of the Kingman area fairly early --- earlier than we think because we changed our watches when we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone, not realizing that Arizona doesn't switch to Daylight Time (so we were essentially still on California time). Well, that's one way to get an early start.

As we drove toward Flagstaff, we were steadily gaining elevation. We went through valleys and mountain ranges, but always trending up. This was shown by the gradual changes in plant life. From the dry conditions of yesterday, we saw more and more grass, mostly dry but more and more showing green. In the valleys, there were ranches, though we didn't see a lot of cattle. Trees became more common and taller. Even in the valleys, there were always mountains not too far away.

Just before Flagstaff, we turned off onto highway 89A. We drove through pine forests until we went around a corner and a big canyon opened up before us. This was a canyon with high rock bluffs, and mostly pine trees where there was enough soil.

We did see a few oaks scattered among them; which was good because it's Oak Creek Canyon. The road wound down the canyon, literally. The road follows the canyon for 23 miles to Sedona, and loses 3,000 of elevation in the process. Around every bend was an "Oh Wow!" moment. Pictures cannot do it justice.

Toward the end of the canyon, the rocks became red. Sedona is located at the mouth of the canyon and is surrounded by amazing red rock formations.

We found ourselves in an absolutely mobbed road, choked with traffic and not a parking place to be found anywhere. Then we realized our situation: it was a beautiful Saturday and it seemed like everyone for three states around was taking advantage of it.

And who can blame them. No matter where you look, the town is surrounded by fabulous vistas.

We managed to find the Visitor's Center and get some good advice, including where to find a pet store to get some food for YumYum. That took us out of the tourist madness. We did our shopping (but no dog food of the right kind) and headed out of town by a different route.

Even leaving town we were surrounded by amazing red rock formations. A truly amazing place.

We managed to bypass Flagstaff entirely and ended up in an RV park just outside the Meteor Crater. We know where we will start tomorrow.

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