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After a great day yesterday soaking in the beauty of the Grand Canyon, we started our day today early. We left the Red Feather Lodge under cold, but clear skies not long after sunrise. Our day today was spent under beautiful blue and sunny Arizona skies—the temperatures however have ranged from the high 30’s to the high 60’s. The elevations have ranged from approximately 7500 feet to 750 feet—it’s incredible the range of mini climates throughout the state.

flintstoneWe began with a great breakfast at Fred’s Diner, which is approximately 15 miles from the south entrance of the Canyon. The diner is part of Bedrock City, which is a Flinstone-themed RV park, café, gift shop and incredibly fun (and well-preserved) theme park—there are no rides, but there are swings, a slide, many Bedrock homes/cars, evidence of a petting zoo and of course the beloved Flinstone characters—talk about the perfect kitschy photo op on our last full day of our trip! (thank you Jerry for the recommendation!) Not only was the place incredible, but we ate an inexpensive and delicious breakfast there too AND we each got a copy of Todd Oldham’s photo book of the place—personally autographed by the owner Linda.

sedonaWe were so focused on our enjoyment of Bedrock City that we didn’t notice the low level of gas in the car and we arrived at our next stop, Sedona, on fumes. Luckily we didn’t run out of gas and have to push—whew! We drove through the town of Sedona rather quickly and went to the Upper Red Rock Loop, just off highway 89A (thank you Mark for the recommendation)—it was incredible! The most fantastic views and perfect weather for taking pictures. We stopped for about 45 minutes at Red Rock State Park and took a short 1/3 mile walk around part of the park.

After that, we headed to Jerome, AZ—it’s a former mining town that was a ghost town until the 60’s when it changed into an artist community. We found the place at the recommendation of a friend (thank you Ken). It is up a very winding and steep mountain road. At every turn, I was sure we were  going to drive off the mountain, but the drive was soooooo worth it! The town is amazing—we were able to watch a glass artisan blow some glass and we went into a couple of galleries, an artist co-op, and a wonderful café where we had lunch al fresco watching the town and the mountain below—we felt so mellow, relaxed, and completely spoiled! If we had more time, both Jon and I could have spent the rest of the day there, but we had another place left on our trip.

montezumaOur last tour stop was Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well. This is a park devoted to the Sinagua Indians who were cliff/cave dwellers in the area –the park is really beautiful, but we left wanting to be able to climb up into the Castle (the best preserved of the cliff/cave dwellings)—of course it would never stand up to thousands of visitors every year, so it’s understandable why it’s fenced off; but it was still disappointing in that respect. The well is a clear spring fed lake which features heavily into the lore and history of several local tribes.

Once we were done at Montezuma, we headed south. We drove to Phoenix and were able to grab dinner with my friend Mark, who I hadn’t seen since 1999. We went to a fabulously 50’s diner for some dinner and catch up.

dinerCurrently, we are at the last scheduled destination of our trip—Gila Bend, AZ (we are staying in the Best Western Space Lodge, which is shaped like a flying saucer). The room is great, but we’ve heard the train rattle by a few times (there it goes again) so I’ll have to sleep with ear plugs tonight (Jon has had to endure my snoring during this trip, so he is quite used to wearing them).

Tomorrow we are driving to San Diego, which is my end destination—my new home—yay! Jon and Pilot will stay a day with me and then head on up to Los Angeles.

This trip has been incredible. We’ve gotten to see so many different snapshots of Americana that neither of us had experienced before. We don’t want it to end. We have a four hour drive tomorrow and we’ve already found one more stop to make along the way.

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