Day 7 Ė Friday 22 July 2016

A wee dream come true, an empty vortex, an astonishing chapel and tis the season to be a festive cowboy

Standing on the Airport Mesa Vortex viewing the seductive red rock mountains surrounding Sedona

I woke at about 8, got myself ready for the day and went into say hi to my hosts, Charlotte and Hassan. We had breakfast together and talked about all sorts of things. Charlotte is American and Hassan is originally from Iran but has lived in America since the early 70s, so the conversation took on a strange but really interesting global perspective.

Following breakfast they offered to drive me around some of the sights of Sedona. We first drove up around the back of their place to where it looked like a new residential housing suburb was being built. There were many new big houses resting on the peaks of lazy hills with incredible views of the town and the surrounding red rock mountains. Our next destination was Airport Road. We drove past where one of Sedonaís infamous vortexes is located and onwards to the top of the hill. The surrounding view of Sedona was mighty impressive. Our next destination was down Highway 179 to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. I had booked a rental car to be picked up at 12 so we drove back up Hwy 179 and into West Sedona again. My hosts came in with me to the car hire place just in case there was an issue, which there was somewhat, but it all worked out and sooner rather than later I was driving my way around the streets of Sedona in the US of A.

Now, I must say that I have always wanted/dreamed of driving around the US ever since I first travelled here in 1994. For the past week I have been thinking much of this moment. Yes I was a little nervous about the thought of driving on the right hand side of the road (we drive on the left in Australia) so this was a very new experience for me. I had the words of Carol ringing in my mind, Ďjust make sure you stay in the centreí which helped.

The surrounds of Sedona Sedona Weird tree Around the back of Sedona

So Iím cruising along in the hire car, my first stop was the Airport Mesa Vortex (a vortex is an energy centre that apparently saturates the nearby area and can be, for some, an uplifting and/or strange physical or psychological experience) and a short walk up Brewer Trial to the top of the hill and probably the most magnificent views of Sedona that I have come across thus far. Any strange or uplifting experiences from me I hear you ask, no, I was hot, I was thirsty, and I was excited about driving around, thatís about it. Perhaps during my next vortex visit something might occur as there are 5 of them in Sedona.

Courthouse Butte (left) and Bell Rock (right) From the Airport Mesa Vortex From the Chapel of the Holy Cross From the Chapel of the Holy Cross, with bunny ears

Anyway, I walked part way onto the airport loop track, but it was too hot for me to continue so I made my way back to the car. I drove up to the top, near to where the airport is, and to another magnificent lookout over the township. Sedona is an incredible place. The red rock mountains surround it on all sides. The taller mountains have grey white-ish rock at their pinnacle where it looks to be sharper in texture. The famous red rock of the lower sections seems to appear to be much smoother and softer in texture. Itís truly a wondrous and inspiring sight to behold. I donít think I could ever get bored looking at this landscape. What is it about rocks and me?

The Chapel of the Holy Cross

Perhaps a vortex opening up above Bell Rock Coconino National Forest, such a beautiful name Bell Rock, one of Sedona's 5 vortexes Incredible

I was back in the car and decided that I would go back to the Chapel of the Holy Cross but this time I went inside and had a look. The chapel was the inspiration of Marguerite Brunswig Staude and was completed in the mid 1950s. Itís an extraordinary piece of architecture - a ridged but simple form that stands in odd sharp angles on a commanding position jutting out from the surrounding rich red rock. I spent maybe 10-15 minutes walking around. It was still very hot so I didnít stay much longer. Back in the car I drove to the ranger station out past the township of Oak Creek, I had a quick look around, back in the car again before making three more stops to look at rock formations from various different angles including Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Snoopy Rock, and the other side of Cathedral Rock (of which the carpark was closed as it would seem that the flash flood the other day had caused much damage. There were many trucks and workers busily making repairs.) I drove back into West Sedona, picked up some supplies from Saveway and Staples and a few souvenirs from Walgreens.

My final stop before home base casita was Uptown Sedona. I parked out the back of the Sedona Arts Centre, dropped in and met Adryanna in the gallery before walking both sides of the main street (otherwise known as State Route 89). Today and tomorrow thereís a cowboy festival going on so for my viewing pleasure whilst strolling there was the following; little cowgirls doing cheerleading dances with glittery pompoms, country music singers (including one particular old fella singing the saddest tune I think I have ever heard), a horse or two, a try-your-hand-at-roping or a learn-how-to-crack-the-whip cowgirl, a live snake being passed around, and plenty of dressed-to-the-nines cowboys and cowgirls.

Jerky anyone? Any day is a good day when there's habanero's around, fresh at Saveway The Hot Spot, Sedona The Hot Spot

Whilst strolling I went into quite a few stores looking for some genuine Arizona hot chili sauce (for those of you who supported me with the hot hot hot reward) and sure enough I found a whole shop selling it, aptly named The Hot Spot. Sadly it was shut but I will be back there tomorrow. I also managed to find some pretty unique mystery sweet treats for those of you who supported me that way. Uptown Sedona was buzzing, this is the tourist strip and there were many of them (including me) wandering about. Itís not a big strip of road but thereís plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and a few cowboy bars, which Iím sure were going off at night due to the festival being in town.

I'll have Ostrich please... Everybody needs the World of Jerky Or perhaps a little roping? Spooky mask with spooky Dave shadow

I finally made my way back to the casita, said a quick hello to Charlotte and Hassan before heading into my room for some dinner and a quite night of writing, a bath (how luxurious), and I commenced watching the start of The Revenant (the first 30 minutes was excellent I thought, so elegantly and beautifully shot) but I couldnít keep my eyes open for long and went off to sleep.

Uptown Sedona