(THIS IS SATURDAY’S POST)
Stepping out of the rig early this morning I noticed the air currents were moving in from the Northwest. Sedona is northeast of us so didn’t figure we would see any hot air balloons. Later heading for the highway we saw a balloon chase crew sitting in a parking area. They obviously know more about a balloon’s direction of travel than I do. Minutes later heading into Sedona we saw 4 in the air with one looking like it was headed straight for Annie’s place. I would like to get a few photos of a hot air balloon landing.
EARLY MORN AT OUR HOUSE
SPOTTED THIS BALLOON FLOATING ALONG BY THE ROAD ON OUR WAY TO SEDONA
Had not realized this was a long week-end with President’s Day happening. We sure bore the brunt of that early this afternoon but this morning’s traffic was light in Sedona as we hit the Information Booth about 8:30 a.m.
COMING INTO THE WESTERN OUTSKIRTS OF SEDONA
THE NAVIGATOR CHOOSES THE ROUTE…ME, I JUST DRIVE THE DARN JEEP
Armed with a couple good maps we made a bee line out of town looking for Schnebly Hill Road. Fellow in the info booth said it was a great Jeep road & that is exactly what it turned out to be. Commonly called Jeep roads these roads are all usually doable by any high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle although I really had to wonder about some of the domestic vehicles we encountered today. Had to keep in mind there were a lot of week-end tourists out & about as well & I’m sure a lot of the vehicles we saw today never did make it to the top of the 4 mile dead end road.
THIS IS VERY TYPICAL OF THE ROAD ALL THE WAY UP & ALL THE WAY DOWN…NOT NICE!!!!
But first a word about Sedona. Yes it’s very commercialized with way too many people & way too much traffic. Not my kind of place at all but there is another side to this place. Surrounded by towering red rock mountains Sedona has gone to great lengths incorporating their surrounding mountain colors into the town’s architecture. Buildings are restricted as to how high they can be so all buildings have a low profile which allows views of the surrounding mountains from just about anywhere in Sedona including downtown. You can stand on main street in spots taking photos of the surrounding mountains as if you were right out in the wilds. I like Sedona’s Southwest architecture & earth tone colors. It’s a very pretty, neat & clean looking town. I don’t mind seeing all the little colorful shops, arts & crafts places, eateries, café’s, & antique parlors. To me they are eye pleasing scenery in themselves because they are constructed well to fit in. There is beauty in landscape architecture & I like to see that. Just as long as I don’t have to get dragged through the shops I like to look at I’m OK. It’s just too bad there has to be such a mosh of people & such a mass of traffic. But without one you would not have the other. More about how Sedona’s crushing traffic swallowed us up & spit us out later.
The sheer beauty & majesty of Sedona’s surrounding mountain scenery is truly awe inspiring & breath taking. It is the redness of the soil & rocks that gives this area it’s appeal. And to that add a carpeting of greenery with Alders, Junipers, Mesquites, Oak & Pine trees, Sycamores, Acacia, Chokecherries, etc. The list just keeps going as does the forests of green bringing out that deep burgundy red in the soil, the rocks, & the mountains. It was into this wonderland of scenic wonders we soon had Jeepers scrambling over multitudes of rocks along one of the roughest & rockiest roads we have ever been on. This road was definitely a tire burner.
We crawled our way up through the Canyon with an average speed of about maybe 10mph tops. We really got pitched around inside the Jeep on this road but the breathtaking scenery just kept pulling us forward. I did stop & get out at one point to figure out how I was going to climb over one particularly bad spot. Figured I’d just follow the tire tracks of countless vehicles before us & that worked. Did bottom the Jeep’s rear end out on the way back though at that same spot.
GOT OUT & HAD A LOOK AT THIS SCRAMBLE BEFORE WE DECIDED TO GO LEFT
SOMETIMES THE ROAD JUST DROPS OFF ON THE SIDES
A PINK JEEP TOUR RUMBLES BY
As I have said before, we are not Jeep extremists & there is a very thin line where one can make a wrong decision which could easily result in damaging one’s vehicle. That very thin line consists of two things. On one hand is that young foolish male Macho attitude that of course is not just restricted to young males as many of us older males well know. The counter balance to that maleoolishness is the much steadier common sense mature approach that many females rightly so bring to the mix. It is generally an evenly balanced combination of the two that makes for a successful day. Destinations are simply reached in a safely thought out manner with no harm being done to the vehicle or passengers therein. Oh yes there are always some words exchanged along the way but as long as an agreeable balance is maintained we generally reach our destination in full agreement.
OUR DESTINATION IS THE TOP OF THAT TALL ROCK ON THE RIGHT & A TELEPHOTO VIEW SHOWS PEOPLE ALREADY ON IT IN CENTER OF PHOTO BELOW
At the top end of Schenebly Hill is a small turn around parking lot. A short rock scramble from there takes one up onto a high rock formation called Schenebly Hill. Great views from up there all the way back down the valley one has just traveled all the way up from Sedona below. We didn’t scramble up the rock formation right away because there was a gaggle of people already there.
THEY REALLY HAVE THESE JEEPS TRICKED OUT
Two pink Jeeps from the PINK JEEP TOURS company had arrived just before us. No way we wanted to be up there with a whole bunch of people chattering away. These types of places need to be seen & experienced in the true serenity of their surrounding. That is precisely why we do not enjoy going on hikes or tours with groups of people. Of course the upside of tour groups is that you have an informative guide along explaining everything you are seeing.
LUCKILY THE LAST PINK JEEP LEAVES & THE HILL IS OURS…BUT NOT FOR LONG AS MY TELEPHOTO LENS TELLS ME MORE PINK JEEPS ARE ON THEIR WAY
WE SCRAMBLE UP SCHNEBELY HILL
Luckily we did not have a long wait & the pink Jeeps were soon loaded up & on their way back down the Canyon. Didn’t take us long to scramble ourselves up onto the big sandstone rock formations. Pheebs is part mountain goat & scrambles around rocks like a Monkey in a tree.
Probably took a couple dozen photos before I noticed below more pink Jeeps on their way to Schnebly Hill where we were standing. Knew they would be loaded with people so we soaked up as much of the tranquil ambience as we could in our short 15 minutes before heading back to the Jeep & getting out of their before all the noise arrived.
LOADING UP TO HEAD DOWN & A LAST LOOK AT SCHENEBLY HILL WE JUST CLIMBED
We have always found that whether one is walking, hiking, or driving, return trips to starting point trailheads always seem to take much less time. And so it was this morning as we seemed to take half the time coming back down the rocky road as it took going up.
We had spotted a dry rock waterfall earlier on our way up so stopped there & hauled out our peanut butter sandwiches. Beautiful spot as we sat on a couple rocks beside a hiking trail next to a cave like rock formation that would indeed be an active waterfall during Monsoon season.
EATING OUR PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES IN A FOREST BY A DRY WATERFALL
SOME LADY HIKERS & MOUNTAIN BIKE ENTHUSIASTS COME BY ALONG THE TRAIL WE
One of the pink Jeep tours slowed down & we heard the operator tell people this spot has been used in movies. Said a big water tank truck would go up the road a bit farther then dump their load of water into the dry creek bed. Below the film crew would be all set up to do their scene as soon as the tanker trucks load of water came cascading over the waterfall’s smooth rocky lip. Groovy:))
THE DRY WATERFALL
ONCOMING TRAFFIC REALLY PICKED UP AS WE WERE COMING DOWN
We finally made our way down the canyon to the trailhead where the pavement started. It was a short half mile drive into Sedona. It was a short half mile drive into traffic hell is what it was!!
A LAST LONG TELEPHOTO 300mm LOOK BACK UP THE VALLEY TO SCHENEBLY HILL
Within minutes we were transported from some of the most scenic beauty we have ever seen into instant traffic chaos. Our day went from super great to super upside down aggravating in about half a mile. Never in my life have I encountered so many round-a-bouts in just one area. If there was 2 there was 22. Not having ourselves a hard destination we were soon swallowed up in the madness & it didn’t take us long to become totally disoriented, turned around, befuzzled, & discabooble-ated in the swirling manic maelstrom of downtown Sedona. I felt we were caught up in Monsoon’s raging torrent. We went around numerous round-a-bouts like we were on a merry-go-round. I won’t attempt to tell you where we all were because I don’t know where we all were. I do know at one point we were headed for Flagstaff so had to make a U-turn & drive right back into the moiling metal mess again.
JUST MADE A U-TURN & ARE HEADING BACK INTO THE SEDONA FRACAS
We came out of one round-a-bout heading south on highway 179. Didn’t take us long to realize we had just made one big huge mistake. 179 is a major highway into Sedona from # 17. Traffic coming into Sedona was bumper to bumper for miles. Figured half the city of Phoenix was probably headed into Sedona for the long week-end. We just kept heading south cause I didn’t want to turn around & get stuck in that long traffic jam going back into Sedona. Did see a sign for the CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS so rocketed out of a round-a-bout down that way to have a look. Well it’s a dead end road & the whole area was a Zoo. Cars randomly parked & abandoned with people all over the road taking photos etc. I grabbed a few photos out the side window going by, wiggled onto a big flat rock (remember you can do that with a 2 door Jeep Wrangler:)) & got turned around. No way was I wanting to stop in that mess so we got ourselves out of there right quick. Maybe go back again & have us a look another time when there are not hordes of people everywhere. Oh ya, a tour trolley loaded to the hilts had just pulled in ahead of us too. I was lookin fer ya Phil but didn’t see ya.
ALL THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS WERE TAKEN FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT ALONG HIGHWAY 179 SOUTH
We were soon back on 179 thankfully putting miles between us a the traffic menace in Sedona. On the plus side we got to see more great scenery that we might not have seen if we hadn’t got muddled up. Kelly remembered a place called the V-BAR-V HERITAGE SITE east of #17 so figured while we’re down that way trying to find our way back to the rig we might as well check it out. Well that didn’t work. Signs up saying ‘No Pets’ as we pulled into the parking lot. Well that was it for me. Not leaving Pheebs in the car no way!!
By now with the maps we had Kelly figured out a shorter way back to the rig. I certainly did not want to have to go back through Cottonwood because I knew that would be a traffic nightmare over there as well. To make a long story short we found a road heading towards Fort Wow that lead through a little town called Cornville. Lite traffic & we had nice quiet & scenic ride all the way back to our rig. Soooooo glad to get back to our wide open spaces, chirping Robins, & loads of peace & tranquility.
Not sure where we are headed in the morning but if we have to go into Sedona to pick up another Jeep road we will do so very early in the morning & make sure we have a clear escape road heading back to our camp. Many of these back mountain roads are connected so I’m sure we can map out a route to totally avoid Sedona on our return. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Sedona & think it has a lot going for it. It’s just too darn bad about all the people & all the traffic. And too bad we had to be here on a long week-end. But then again we headed here for probably the very same reason countless thousands of others did…..this great spell of unusually warm weather going on at the moment. Think we might have made it into the 80’s again………………….
Going to try & answer a few questions here from readers. The Class A we thought might grab our spot pulled into a tiny spot just off the road about a quarter mile before they would have reached us. So in hindsight we might have been Okay leaving our spot empty maybe. They were still there this morning but when we came home this afternoon the Class A was gone……Question in Shoutbox was, “
What is the annual cost and maintenance expenses for a Class A vs Class C MH? What is the mileage lifecycle for these MH's? Best answer & advice I can give to this ‘Guest’ is head on over to RV NET FORUM & post those questions. You will find a bunch of knowledgeable RV folks over there much better qualified to answer those questions than I. Somebody asked me the other day how old I was & I even had trouble with that…………:((
GROANER’S CORNER:(( Mrs. Baker wanted to go ice fishing. She had read several books on the subject, and finally, after getting all the necessary equipment together, she made her way out onto the ice. After positioning her comfy stool, she started to make a circular cut in the ice. Frighteningly, from up above, a voice boomed, 'There are no fish under the ice.' Startled, Mrs Baker moved farther down the ice, poured herself a large coffee, and began to cut yet another hole. Again, from the heavens, the voice bellowed, 'There are no fish under the ice.' Mrs Baker, now became very concerned so she moved way down to the opposite end of the ice, set up her stool, and began again to cut her ice-hole. The voice rang out once more, 'There are no fish under the ice.' Mrs Baker, stopped, looked upwards and said, 'Is that you, Lord?' The voice replied, 'No, this is the Ice-Rink Manager.'