It had been 34 years since Blue Eyes and I had stayed in Sedona, Arizona. Our two spots for getaways while we were at University in Arizona were Palm Springs, CA and Sedona. About a 2 hour drive to Sedona, and a 4 1/2 hour drive to Palm Springs, both having cheap motels in a college student’s budget, and lots to do and see.
As part of Blue Eyes’ graduation present from me in 1986, I had splurged on a weekend at the gorgeous L’Auberge hotel in Sedona, one of my fondest memories of our early days. This time I used points and we stayed at The Holiday Inn Express, lol! I had used my splurge points this trip on the Anasazi in Santa Fe. It was all a compromise as The Peacemaker had wanted to camp, in a tent, outside!!! 😳 Again, Blue Eyes doesn’t camp, and my back has outgrown sleeping on the ground.
We arrived Sedona late the night before after our sunset at the Petrified Forest, and take away/eat in the car, dinner in Flagstaff. Definitely not our favorite way to eat, but Covid made it necessary.
Sedona is a red rock wonderland with lots of beauty and tons of hiking trails, but for this trip, it was just a simple stopover. The weather was dicey, with a bit of thunder and lightning and some pretty substantial intermittent downpours. Our drive in had been very dark and therefore The Peacemaker had no idea the beauty he would wake up to all around. We opted for a quick hike at Bell Rock, a stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and the scenic drive through Oak Creek Canyon on our way to the Grand Canyon South Rim.
If you are ever in Northern Arizona at this time of year, this scenic drive is simply gorgeous!
I hadn’t really been dictating our meals along the trip, but one thing I did want while we were in Arizona and which brought back great nostalgic memories for me from uni days was a fry bread Navajo taco. My dorm mate had spent her high school years in Window Rock, Arizona, capitol of the Navajo Nation, and most of her friends were Navajo and these friends made the most amazing fry bread.
Turns out, it wasn’t that easy to find, however, due to the pandemic hitting the Navajo community hard, but The Peacemaker did find me one in Flagstaff. We needed to drive back through Flagstaff to get to the Grand Canyon, so we did yet another take away/eat in the car meal. The Peacemaker had his eye on a sandwich shop in old town, but he and Blue Eyes decided we could share one Navajo taco, plus the sandwiches they wanted. Aren’t they sweet. 😉
When Blue Eyes placed the order for one Navajo Taco, and the person on the phone told him it would be $16, he nearly burst a gasket. Turns out this Navajo Taco was a full meal for three!
Suffice to say, we were stuffed and couldn’t wait to spill out of the car at The Grand Canyon South Rim about 90 minutes later.
This was one of the only days on our trip when weather was a factor (unless you count hiking in snow). The thing is though, you definitely don’t need clear blue skies to have beauty, and our time at The Grand Canyon on the south rim is proof. There was blue skies, and then there were clouds, and wind, and rain, and a rainbow, and a magnificent cloudy sunset. We started out in shorts and t-shirts and ended up in sweats and winter coats, and man, was it worth it!
We left the Grand Canyon wanting more and so on our drive up to Page, Arizona, we plotted our trek to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for the next morning. We had originally been scheduled to head straight to Springdale, Utah (just outside Zion National Park, a short drive), but we opted to head back to the Grand Canyon.
So, my car has all these bells and whistles and lets me know whenever it thinks there’s something fishy going on. As we headed up to Page, the car kept giving me a warning message that the right rear tire was losing air. Now it had done this before (not on this trip) and it was a false alarm. Just in case, we decided to stop in to a Sinclair 🦕 gas station about an hour out of Page. There was absolutely nothing else on the map anywhere nearby. It was right about 8:20pm and I really had to use the bathroom anyway.
Unfortunately, we were in the middle of Navajo land and there is currently an 8:30pm curfew, and their air pump required 6 quarters to work. We had 3 quarters among us. The Peacemaker and I ran to the door of the gas station/convenience store only to find the door locked, 8 minutes early! No bathroom for me, and no air for our obviously low tire.
A man drove up to a gas pump, the pumps still worked by credit card even when the store was closed, and got out to pump his gas, a Navajo man, mask firmly in place as well as rubber gloves. From about 10’ away, with mask on, I asked him if he had any quarters for the air pump. He informed me that there was a free air pump around the side of the building next door… a building I hadn’t even noticed. I thanked him and we pulled the car around the building. Blue Eyes filled the tire. The kind man checked in on us before leaving the station. No bathroom for me, but as it turned out, just enough air to get us to our hotel. The next morning, the tire was flat.