Day 8 – Saturday 23 July 2016

Sedona, Sedona, Sedona - film history, shooting, horses, hot chili and the changing face of Snoopy Rock

I was up at 6.15 this morning, had a quick shower and ate a banana (I’m sure you wanted to know that) packed my bag and headed out the door reasonably early, destination Uptown Sedona and the Wildflower Bread Company that Charlotte had recommended as a good spot for breakfast. I decided on a big breakfast today of two eggs over easy (I stupidly said ‘easy over’ and the waitress looked at me like I was an idiot, and fait enough) bacon and French fries, a quinoa salad with cranberries, a delicious bowl of fruit with yogurt and muesli washed down with a regular size (which means large in America) cup of coffee. It sounds like a lot of food but the bowls were small. I watched the sun steadily rise in the sky and could feel it slowly warm up my skin. It was quite a dreamy experience.

Movies history of Sedona Elvis history of Sedona Artists history of Sedona John Wayne history of Sedona

The Wildflower Bread Company is in a group of shops known as The Shops at Hyatt Pinon Pointe. Within this are a number of newly erected plagues that gave a good overview of a number of different facets of Sedona’s history, including film. Back in the day Sedona was a bit of mecca for films to be produced in, particularly westerns. John Wayne and Elvis made a few movies here, and the highly regarded film ‘Johnny Guitar’ was also made here. (I’ve wanted to see Johnny Guitar for some time now, apparently there’s street in Sedona named after the film. I’m going to find it later.) After my brief cinematic education I walked down to the nearby post office, which had just opened for the day, bought a pile of stamps for postcards (and for some reason had to show my ID when I paid) and made my way back uptown. My plan was to go into the Sedona Arts Centre and do a little bit of writing (like this) and some drawing. But it didn’t open until 10 and it was only 9.15 so I found a bench in the shade and started observing.

So, let me give you a little taste of Uptown Sedona from 45 minutes of sitting and observing. Firstly, there were many cowboys and confederates with guns, and I mean real big guns, in holsters wandering around – I spotted 8 guns in 45 minutes - seemingly patrolling the streets (hopefully not looking for a fight). There are many spiritual shops promoting the vortexes and crystals as well as future, psychic and aura readings, tarot and chakra, and fairies and UFO sighting tours. There’s mature tough guy American bikers on low-riders with bandanas and no helmets (with loud classic American rock music blaring) cruising by; there’s lots of ceramics and expensive art stores; about a million crappy Sedona t-shirt stores; pink tourist jeeps; these weird red rock pillions held upright with rigid casings of wire; lots of badly dressed and overweight tourists (I probably fit into one half of that category) with accents from all over the place particularly Mexican/Spanish sounding and occasionally European; and then there’s the occasional wacky store like Murph's (Irish) Country Store mini-market, the Hot Spot chili sauce store, the Sedona Fudge Co., the Scorpion on a Porch store and the World Of Jerky. There are no local buses, but plenty of weird shaped and coloured tourist jeeps, and there are no taxis. Today is main day of the 12th annual national day of the cowboy and if I could to add to yesterday’s exotic list of cowboy festivities and fun for the kids, they include; gun fights featuring the world champion Kirkham’s, cowboy shows (whatever that means) and bean bag tossing. There is one other fascinating fact that you must know about Sedona. Well Sedona has a pretty strict building code, and I gotta say it works because most of the buildings blend into the landscape beautifully. So some time ago the code knocked back McDonald’s (the fast food store) from having their trademark bright yellow arches obnoxiously saturating the town, however, it did let them have turquoise. So I believe Sedona is the only place in the world to have a set of turquoise arches rather than yellow. (I thought you’d all be fascinated by that! Sorry, I just checked the web, and apparently the arches are teal green and yes it is officially a tourist attraction in Sedona.)

National cowboy day And why not get your aura read after shootin' a gun Cowboys with guns Yee har!

OK, so its 10 and I made my way to the arts centre where I spent the next few hours writing. At 12.30 I took off into Sedona once again to visit the chili store. It was worth the wait. I tried an awesome Carolina Reaper sauce, which I bought a small jar of, and a beautiful quite light tasting habanero mango sauce that had a great kick to it after about 20 seconds. The dude behind the counter was a nice fella (I told him that I was a part of a group called the Brethren of the Burn on Facebook and he was suitably impressed.)

Next stop was the Scorpion on a Porch store where I purchased a few more mystery sweetness surprises for my crowd funding supporters. As I was about to cross the road I noticed two young cowgirls on horseback. I figured that might make a photo op once I had crossed, I prepared my phone ready for said photo op but just as I arrived on the curb on other side, about a metre away from me, one of the horses suddenly fell over sending the poor cowgirl flying in the opposite direction and coming very close to squashing me like a pancake. The poor horse was like an upturned tortoise, or a wriggling octopus or something as it struggled to get itself back up on its feet (probably made more difficult for it due to all of the weird curbside pavement grippy things laid down so humans don’t slip in the wet) but it eventually did, much drama ensued and I thought perhaps it was no longer a good moment for a photo op so I wandered back to the art centre. Eric had just been by and I just missed him (bummer) so I settled in for some more writing to pass the afternoon away.

The Hot Spot, chili store, Sedona Pricky Pear Ghost Pepper Jelly. If only I had a bigger bag to bring home. I just can't resist a beautifully painted skull Americana store. Awesome

From my position in the Sedona Arts Centre, in the Left Studio, out the window in front of me is Snoopy Rock in the distance, so called because it has similarities to the way snoopy would lay on his dog house, along with Woodstock, the little yellow bird, sitting on his tummy. It’s been fascinating to watch Snoopy change all day in the light, from shrouded in shadow to half and then full light. At 4.30 I’d had enough, although it was a productive day. I even managed to slip in a bit of PhD writing. I said goodbye to the arts center manager Cindy and we chatted about Tasmania and Cottonwood and Jerome, hopefully my destinations for tomorrow. I walked back up to Wildflower, via a different mini-market, and had dinner. The power cut out about 4 times whilst eating. The clouds were rolling in, this is monsoon season and clearly a storm is heading our way. I made the short 5-10 minute walk back to my casita and settled in for the evening. I didn’t really do much once back. Hassan has invited me on a trek at 6.30 tomorrow morning so an early night is in order. Although I did watched the end of The Revenant and well it only got worse really. It was a beautifully shot and directed film, but the story and even DiCaprio’s acting was pretty silly (more like utterly ridiculous) really and straight out of the cliché handbook. At least it looked good (and those frozen American landscapes were amazing.) Perhaps a 7 out of 10 on the Edgar scale.

Snoopy Rock by morning

Snoopy Rock in the afternoon