Today was a day I would just take to the road. I knew where I was going and when I could get there, but I wasn't in a rush and I would see what was on the way.
What I happened to come across was a National Monument sign for Montezuma Castle near Verde Valley, AZ, off of I-17. It was $3.00 a head. A fair price for a piece of an ancient civilization. Though the place was named after Montezuma, who was of one type of group of Native Americans, but not the ones who actually lived there. Stupid namers!
Check out the NPS site for it here (copy and paste): http://www.nps.gov/moca/
As you can see it looks like a high rise apartment. Has several floors and must have had some crazy ladder system to get up there.
Here is the river that runs parallel to the "castle." It was very nice and serene. I'd have liked to camp there and just listen to the water run by all day.
Here I am standing in front of the cliff dwelling.
Upon leaving the monument, I spotted a man with a van set up on the side of the road. His wares displayed on tables, bracelets, rings, earings, necklaces, chimes and a vat of boiling veggie oil to make fry bread. I left the car running, because I only expected to be stopped for a minute or two in order to purchase a few gifts for friends and family. I was the only one there with the Native American Indian. I asked him what Fry Bread was and he told me like sopapillas, which is a lot like zepolies. I knew what sopapillas were, because I tried to make them for my nutrition course at college. Yeah, they aren't nutritious, but I needed an ethnic food and I like Mexican food, at leas the American versions of it and I don't mean Taco Bell or the newly discovered Del Taco (much like TB). I was going to get some fry bread, but then a hoard of other people showed up. Luckily I had picked out my gifts and was about ready to go. I heard someone ask whose blue Hyundai was parked there, thinking I was going to get hassled for leaving it running in this day and age of environmental concern, which normally I am, I mean, I am considering and Eco career. But he simply commented on the dealership and asked where I was from. I told him and he told me he was from Huntington as well, off of Oakwood Road. He was with his family vacationing and taking in all the sights of Arizona. What a coincidence to run into someone from so close to home so far away.
After that encounter, I went across the street to the casino/hotel to get something to eat. I got a rather delicious grilled chicken sandwich with fries and bacon for only $6.00. It was pretty cheap food. If I wasn't full, I'd have gotten desert. I then drove around to the casino, lost a few dollars in the slots, maybe only $3.00, whatever singles I had on me and took off for the north.
Here is Coconino National Forest on the outskirts of Flagstaff. For all of those who think Arizona has no trees, well your damned wrong! This picture was taken from a rest stop I napped at, between Flagstaff and Sedona. There were many more Native Americans selling stuff there.
Here I am. What a view. . . Behind me that is. Ignore me if you can, it's best. And I was sold some crappy film. All those marks on the picture. Phooey!
This picture must have been taken from the car on the windy road descending into the valley that leads into Sedona. You can't go more than 15MPH otherwise you'd fly right off the road. I'm sure people have.
Here are the red rock mountains of Sedona. It was breathtaking entering the valley. After being in Peoria and Sierra Vista for a week, it was a fantastic change of scenery. The green forests of Coconino were amazing only to enter the valley, lush and green. People had amazing houses built along or over the creek, which I am told flooded a few winters ago. The air was much, much cooler and I had Dave Matthews Band on (my fave), some live songs I got off the 'net, not available on any CD. It was wonderous. I hadn't been down that road since 1999 or so. It had been far too long and I am glad I forgot how amazing it was, because that allowed me to experience it like it was the first time all over again. I only wish I had stopped in more places and taken more pictures of things other than maintains and mesas and other rock formations.
Look how green it is. Tyrel was telling me it was Monsoon season and that it was pretty much over and that the Salt River, which runs past Phoenix had been full (what I witnessed while driving on I-10 was a dried out wash instead) and he had gone tubing on it with Suesan. Anyway, things were green in lots of places. The green is good.
Just driving aimlessly and seeing what there was to see, I drove down some side street, which turned into what the sign called a "primitive road." Meaning it was unpaved and ungraveled. Just red dirt, packed down. I took it as far as I could, looking at beautiful houses amongst the green pines and other desert flora. Some houses near cliffs, others just in the middle of the green and red of the earth. I stopped to take a few pictures and took the road until it became a paved road again, on the other side of town that I had never been to. I turned around and drove back into the downtown area of Sedona.
I checked my coupon books from the tourist information center for cheap hotel rates. Sedona is a very trendy place, for spiritual people, mystics and all those folks who come for the supposed healing properties of the magnetic vortexes found in certain places out in the desert. I wonder if there are Ley Lines convering out there or something.
I couldn't find anything in my price range for Sedona, so I considered driving back up to Flagstaff that night for a $30 room. The drive is pretty short. Or there is Cottonwood down the road a dozen or so miles. I like to call it Cottonmouth though, like the snake, a nasty serpentine bastard of the Bayous. Yeah, so a bayou snake wouldn't live out here, but I call things as I like to.
I decided to search around town and check each hotel in person for rates. I found a decently priced room ($70 is the best one can get in town) at the Kokopelli Suites. Kokopelli is an Anasazi god of fertility and bountiful harvest. He could be found in ancient paintings on cave and mesa walls, often depicted with a very large phallis as he was a seductress of women. I believe he was an alien who came to impregnate Native American woman to make hybrids. Why else the huge alien schlong? It was like a third leg! He also plays the flute. Chicks love guys in bands.
As I was checking out a Bed & Breakfast before getting to the suites, it started to pour. Lightning and thunder crashing about. It was wonderfully refreshing. I hadn't seen rain since Missouri and this place really needed it. I had been desperate to go swimming in the pool, I was glad the motel had a pool, but didn't need it after the rains.
Sadly today you will find Kokopelli has been exploited and will appear in places hundreds of miles from where he was believed in. He's depicted on the tile floors of supermarkets in far away places. If I'm wrong about the belief range, please do correct me.
I did get to see an actual painting on the mesa wall, huge johnson included some years ago when I visited with my parents and took a Pink Jeep Tour.
That night I went to the Mexican restaurant my parents and I had eaten at years ago, Oaxaca Restarante & Cantina. I remembered liking the place, but to my dismay and hoping to maybe chat with someone, fellow patron or wait staff, I was placed in the back corner of the front room, where I would scarcely been seen. The food was delicious but I was out of water in no time and waited several minutes for someone to come check up on me or the group of old folks now stuck across the room from me. No one, so I got up and searched out someone who could get me some water. What shitty service. I wanted to not leave a tip, but having had so much family work in waiting tables, I knew that was mean, so I left two bucks. I don't plan on going back there again.
Later on I would finally fill out some of the postcards I bought as far back as day 2. I would get them sent out the next day.