Monthly Archives: April 2011

Flagstaff to Phoenix

IMGP3307 It’s hard to believe the week is over for us.   It’s 2:30 AM here.   I slept about 4 hours and I’m wide awake now.   I’m feeling a little feverish.   Probably just too much sun yesterday.  So I’m just sitting out in the hotel lobby keeping the night clerk company and writing to you.    It’s been an amazing trip.  Even though I’ve been to the Grand Canyon 4 times now, I still can’t get over the magnificence and beauty of that place.   And then finally getting over to Monument Valley was like icing on the cake for me.    It brought me back to all those old (and some new) movies that have been shot on that location.   It’s the quintessential old west.   But then to top that off was spending the night and part of the next day in Flagstaff, the old frontier town, now a college town (Northern Arizona University).      Looking down the street from our 1926 built hotel is another, Hotel Weatherford, built in the late 1880’s.   IMGP3312It has been host to a number of celebrities including the legendary Wyatt Earp.      Today the hotel still seems to carry some of it’s late 19th century charm, including the large safe located in the front lobby.    The Monte Vista in turn still maintains it’s 1920’s visage.   Its was great to stay in this historic location as our vantage point to explore the sights and sounds of Flagstaff.    Could have easily spent a few more days there.

However, we needed to move on, so we started out about 11:30 AM toward Sedona, our final “red rock” visitation point.   To get there we had to drive down through Oak Creek Canyon.    It’s envelopes yet another world of concave mysteries.   The canyon road (Router 89) loops it’s way down the walls of the canyon, at each turn revealing another white stone vista.   IMGP3346 Once we got down into the canyon, we were greeted by a clear water river with various camp sites, parks, quaint resorts and hiking trail heads.    As we worked our way down, the red rock cliff walls begin to appear.    Once we were finished with the 23 mile drive we arrived in Sedona.    Sedona itself is nestled between red rock canyons and buttes.    But with the lower elevation (somewhere between 3000 – 4000 feet, the air is much warmer and inviting to walking about.       We stayed about 3 hours in the down, just going from shop to shop and taking in a awesome view from the rear of the restaurant where we have some lunch.     Afterwords it was time to head on to Phoenix.   Along the way we stop to see the Red Rock Chapel, a Catholic Church that is built right into the cliff side of a red rock mesa.    And then finally, we stop for a short hike up to Cathedral Rock.    It was a nice finish to our Red Rock country tour.

IMGP3365 This morning, we’ll have a easy morning getting our things packed and then head to the airport for a 12;07 flight.    I hope you have enjoyed looking over our shoulder during our trip.   This is easily my most favorite area of the USA to visit.   The contrasting landscape, natural wonders and timeless beauty makes this are of the country a must see on anyone’s list.    Once I get home, I’ll spend a little more time cleaning up the site and posting so more pictures, so stop in again to view more of the photos.

All the best and God bless you!


FYI, click on any of the pictures to get a larger detail view!




Kayenta to Flagstaff, AZ

IMGP3139 Today, we traveled from Kayenta, AZ near Monument Valley to Flagstaff, AZ. Kayenta is on Navaho Nation land. The hotel we stayed in (the Kayenta Monument Valley Inn) is tribal owned and operated. It was a great place that I’d recommended to any travelers in the area. Along the way down to Flagstaff we visited Sunset Crater National Monument. It’s actually a part of the national park system, but I guess it is small enough in size that they list it as a “monument”. It was certainly worth the visit. Sunset Crater is an extinct volcano cone. Much of the mountains around Flagstaff are extinct volcanoes, including Humphrey’s Peak, which is the highest mountain in Arizona (elevation 12,637 ft/ 3852 meters). The Crater is located east of Flagstaff in the mists of a beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest. It’s interesting to travel through the forest as you can see that much of it was hit by a forest fire a few years back. I remember the news reports back then about the fires near Flagstaff and the concerns there were about them getting to residential areas as well. What is amazing to see is how the forest rejuvenates and recovers from the damage. Martin, Cathy and I hiked through some of it to get to the top of a hill to get a view of the surrounding nature. After that we moved on to view the Wupaki pueblo ruins. These are pueblo’s that date back to 1100 A.D. It was fascinating to imagine how people lived in these dwellings back in those days.

IMGP3291 Tonight we are staying at an old style, downtown hotel called the Hotel Monte Vista. It’s a quaint old street corner hotel that is surrounded by several blocks of stores, boutiques and local eateries. Even has a guitar store, which Martin made a “bee line” to as soon as we got checked in. Me? I just walked around town and then hung out at the railroad station. The busiest freight line in the USA goes through this town, with trains going in either direction every 20 to 30 minutes. Basically, lots of containers that come in through Long Beach, CA end up on trains passing right through Flagstaff, AZ heading to Belen, New Mexico and beyond. I love big freight hauling trains. Always have, ever since I was a kid. So I sat at the station and watch them go by, listening to and feeling the power of those massive diesel locomotives. I know, it’s odd, but I just love it.

Tomorrow I think we will take in more of the town, do some shopping and then head down to Sedona on our way back to Phoenix. Sorry that our time in this most interesting and beautiful state will be coming to an end soon, but I know we’ll be back again.


IMGP3193Humphrey’s Peak from Route 89
Humphey’s Peak from Sunset Crater park
Lava flows (Sunset Crater in background)
Pueblo ruins
Guitar Store Martin
Flagstaff Rail Road Station
Billy’s big train

Grand Canyon to Monument Valley

IMGP2948 Hi all. I had hoped to post more photos yesterday and today, but we’ve had some pretty poor wireless access at the hotels. We really are out in some remote areas, so it’s not hard to imagine. We’ll be in Flagstaff tomorrow night, so I should be able to get something going there.

We had an exceptional morning today, watching the sunrise over the canyon. I’ve experienced it twice before, but it never gets old. In the early morning around the rim of the canyon, the air is cold. This morning it was around 40 deg. F. So you have to dress warm. The wind is also higher around the edge of the canyon. Their are so many local or micro climates in action near the rim that you can’t just rely on how thing are outside the hotel room.

After the sunrise, we had breakfast and packed up to head out toward the Four Corners Monument. IMGP3132 This is more of a stop than anything else, but we though Martin would enjoy stepping on 4 states at one time (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah). Afterwards we drove through lower Utah to headed toward Monument Valley. That I have to say is an awesome site. The red rock formations are even larger than I expected. And of course, standing in those placed that we’ve all seen in various movies…. well they just seemed unreal. Tomorrow we head to Flagstaff for a hopefully more relaxed day. We put a lot of miles in today.

Look for more photos after tomorrow night.