60 deg at 6:00, high of 72, rained most of the day
We came to Santa Fe because Martha’s friend, Carla, had talked so much about it. She and Marshall have been coming to the market for 25 years. They have participated in the organization and judging, and know many of the artists who come. But first, we went to the Farmer’s Market, A little rain didn’t seem to slow the regulars. It’s funny how people stand in line for a particular stand, when others seem to be selling the same thing. Martha loves a farmer’s market!
We met Carla and Marshall for lunch at The SantaCafe. Also joining were Carley, their granddaughter and Bob, an art enthusiast and avid fisherman. Bob talked about fishing several streams, but one stuck with me in Valle Caldera.
After lunch, we toured the booths. There are hundreds of them, where Indian artisans from all over come to display their work. They can submit work to be judged in one many categories, the winners getting a lot of notoriety. Collectors also come from all over the world, seeking out the best. Then there are thousands, like us, who have come to look and see what it is all about. this year was the 100th anniversary
It’s a bit overwhelming, so it was interesting to follow Carla and Marshall and listen to their comments. They know so many of these artisans and are greeted with smiles. We came back again the next day. It was a pretty day, which made it more pleasant to walk around. People were lined up for favorites of corn and fried bread.
It’s a convoluted drive out of Sedona. You have to drive south, then east to I17, then north to I40 east. On Monday I had taken my truck to Flagstaff for an oil change. I drove north on 89A, which is a beautiful road, but it is a winding, narrow mountain road up and out of the canyon. There are tourist destinations all along this road, and it is also busy with local traffic. Workers and people are going to and from Flagstaff. It was a tough drive in the truck and NO place to pull a trailer! Going this way makes the drive about 8 hours if you don’t stop, and we stopped.
I40 in most places is Rt. 66. I had bought a book about Rt. 66, thinking we might drive parts of it. When Winslow, Arizona came up on a mileage sign, we had to make the turn! Martha was not familiar with the Eagles classic, “Take it Easy.” I was ready for a cup of coffee anyway, so we took the exit.
Well, two blocks of Winslow make the best of the famous spot. I will never forget the place I first heard the song. I was in graduate school at Ohio State, working in the lab one evening. Mike Majchrowicz, standing on a lab bench against the wall, said, “Hey Dude, listen to this song!” He played it, emphasizing the lyrics, ‘Take it Easy’”. I guess I was being too intense.
“Singer-songwriter Jackson Browne began writing the breezy traveling tune in 1971 but couldn’t quite finish it. Then living at 1020 Laguna Avenue in Echo Park, Los Angeles, along with Glen Frey and J.D. Souther, he had been plucking away on his piano. Frey, who was sharing a one-room apartment for $60/mo, heard Jackson in the basement directly beneath him working on an early version.
“He had his piano and guitars down there. I didn’t really know how to sit down and work on a song until I heard him playing underneath us in the basement,” Frey noted in album liner notes. “I had never really witnessed that sort of focus – someone being that fastidious – and it gave me a different idea about how to write songs; that maybe it wasn’t all just going to be a flood of inspiration. That’s when I first heard [this song].”
“Take It Easy” was originally intended for Browne’s own self-titled debut album (1972), but he shelved the piece. “It was Glenn who remembered the song from some time earlier and asked Jackson about it one day,” said band member Don Henley.
Frey continued, “I told him that I really liked it. ‘What was that, man? What a cool tune that is.’ He started playing it for me and said, ‘Yeah, but I don’t know – I’m stuck.’ So, he played the second unfinished verse and I said, ‘It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.’ That was my contribution to [the song], really, just finishing the second verse.”
Even with such a small contribution, Browne was immediately awe-struck, saying, “Okay! We co-wrote this,” as Frey recounted it. “But it’s certainly more of him. Sometimes, you know, it’s the package without the ribbon. He already had the lines about Winslow, Arizona. He’d had car trouble and broken down there on one of his trips to Sedona. He spent a long day in Winslow… I don’t know that we could have ever had a better opening song on our first album. Just those open chords felt like an announcement, ‘And now … the Eagles.’”
“Browne, a boyish and mournful young songwriter, started the song with an account of his woman problems. Out of the seven on his mind, he said, only one was a friend. The rest wanted to own him, or stone him. Never mind; take it easy.”
But it is Glenn Frey’s statue on the corner of Winslow, AZ. Next to the statue is a red, flatbed Ford truck with a pretty girl sitting in the driver’s seat. A nice shop across the street sells all kinds of Rt. 66 memorabilia, and a TV shows the Eagles singing the song in their early years.
A friendly black man sat on a bench across the street talking and waving to everyone while eating a sandwich. Behind him was a very cool vintage Airstream and truck. The man and I exchanged greetings before walking across the street to get an espresso. After a little more wandering, we decided we had best get back on the road. We pulled out beside the man, who had now settled behind an electric guitar. It would have been nice to sit down with a coffee and listen. He waved and shouted, “Hey man! You travel in style!” I smiled and waved back.
Try this 3.9-mile out-and-back trail near Sedona, Arizona. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 39 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and off-road driving, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.
A lot of this hike is on a dirt road that is used for off-road driving. The rest of it is pretty good, some parts challenging with steep steps. A lot of people use this trail. Then everyone gets their pictures taken out on the bridge.
With over 200 trails covering more than 400 miles, Sedona is a hikers destination. It seemed every trailhead parking lot was filled. There are lots of restaurants and stores, so it is a popular outdoor destination.
My Vasque hiking shoes are pretty worn out, and it was time for new ones, so we went to The Hike House. I have loved the Vasque shoes. They are light, comfortable and they have great grip on any surface. I think I could trout fish in these. Unfortunately, The Hike Shop didn’t have these. A nice, young lady helped me, and I ended up buying a pair of light weight Oboz for easy hikes and a pair of Kenes for rocky, more challenging hikes. The Kenes are heavier and sturdier.
We went back to Judi’s for dinner. Two guys were singing all my favorite songs.
There are three national monuments around Sedona; Toozigoot, Montezuma Castle and Walnut Castle. We opted for Toozigoot, a pretty impressive site that sits on a hill above the Verde River. It is one of many in the Verde Valley, but it seems to be a place of leadership, a place where people gathered from all over.
It is also interesting, because there still remains a good water supply and fertile valley, yet they still left about 1300, similar to all the sites we have visited. The other two monuments were sin agua or without water, yet they managed to thrive. With 80 other sites in the valley, there was once a large population that lived here. At some point the Tonto Apache moved into the area.
We drove up the side of a mountain to Jerome, a once thriving mining town, where gold, silver and copper made some rich. It also has a history of fires, mine collapses and other disasters. The museum has a good movie, telling the rich stories of the town.
Now, it is a tourist town with narrow, winding streets, restaurants, stores and bars. You wouldn’t want to drink too much and drive down this mountain.
We drove back to Cottonwood and had lunch at The Old Town Cafe, which was very good, and then poked around the cute, little town.
Back in Sedona, we went to see the Church of The Holy Cross, sitting high on a hill with a great statue of the Crucifixion.
Rated 4.5, it is a 4.5-mile loop trail. We turned it into a 6-mile hike with a few diversions. Sedona is a huge hiking area with 252 trails, most of which are highly-rated. With beautiful, red mountains all around, it is hard to go wrong.
All Trails hiking app warned us of parking problems, recommending the city shuttle. As we got to the closed parking lot, a lady in a car asked if we wanted a ride. We said yes and followed her to a remote parking area. She introduced herself as Debbie. She used to drive the city shuttle, then decided to go on her own. It was going to be a busy day for her. She talked quickly as we drove back to the trail head. “Don’t miss the turn to the cave”, she warned, showing us a picture of the turn. “Drink lots of water, and don’t push it. Turn around when you begin to tire. Go up the road for the first part. The trail is muddy.”
We got out, paid her and walked over to the trailhead sign. Martha is a good trail follower, and she reads every sign to completion. I always let her take the lead so I can take pictures. We missed the turn to the cave, as there was no sign or marker, so we went back.
Following a man and his son, we climbed up a mountain to the mouth of a cave. It had a very steep and narrow slot into the cave. Once over that hurdle, it opened into a cave with a 3.5’ shelf across a wide opening. there was another shelf above. A man in sandals climbed down with a baby in his arms! His wife followed.
Across the shelf was another slot climbing out and further up the mountain. There was a half-oval window on the other side. Young people were climbing onto the window to have their pictures taken. I am amazed by what people will do to take a picture. I don’t like heights, so I didn’t want to explore any more. I was quite happy to climb out and get my feet on solid ground.
Up the mountain and over the mesa, the views were great. Back down the other side, we came to a parking lot, then followed another trail over to our parking lot. We were tired when we got there, especially knowing it was a mile and a half to where we parked our car. Amazingly, Debbie was at the gate waiting for us. As we smiled and got in, she said she was worried about us. She was also surprised such old people had walked the loop. She gave us a bottle of water and talked about all the things to do in and around Sedona. She recommended Judi’s for lunch, as she had worked there for 10 years.
It was an excellent lunch at Judi’s, and our waitress couldn’t have been nicer. Martha had a reuben sandwich and I had the chicken taco special. Now that we were revived, it was a good day.
Three hours south on 160, then “Everything’s Fine on 89” is Sedona, Arizona. Martha had requested Sedona, after Mark’s recommendation. Along Rt 89, we saw a sign for Wapatki National Monument. Since this trip is all about the national parks and monuments of the “Four Corners”, I wheeled into the park, not knowing anything about it. From the NPS website:
Footprints of the Past
Nestled between the Painted Desert and ponderosa highlands of northern Arizona Wupatki seems like an unlikely landscape for a thriving community. In the early 1100s during a time period of cooler temperatures and wetter seasons the ancestors of contemporary Pueblo communities created a bustling center of trade and culture. For Hopi people these sites represent the footprints of their ancestors.
Next door is the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. It erupted between 1040 and 1100. Wapatki is different in a couple of ways. It is not in a canyon, and it had a ball court, the northern most ball court in America. The park is 39,422 acres, and Sunset Crater is another 3,000 acres. The ball game was likely similar to the Mayan or Aztec games with a stone ball, likely covered with pitch.
Driving on to Sedona, traffic was slowed by road construction for miles around Flagstaff on Interstate 17. It was stop and go traffic. Our route took us south of Sedona before we could head back north. The mountains surrounding Sedona are spectacular.
We arrived at Rancho Sedona RV Park where a young man guided us into our site.
“The Hopi, San Juan Southern Paiute, Zuni, and Navajo are tribes that have inhabited the canyons for centuries. Springs fed into farming land on the canyon floor and homes were built in the natural sandstone alcoves. The cliff dwellings of Betatakin, Keet Seel, and Inscription House were last physically occupied around 1300 AD but the villages have a spiritual presence that can still be felt today.” From: https://www.nps.gov/nava/index.htm
You can take a guided tour of Betatakin for half a day. The only other way to see it is from an overlook across the canyon. The only way to see Keet Seel is a 10-hour, 18 mile hike. You must have a permit, and you will meet a ranger at the site for a guided tour. It is supposed to be one of the best preserved sites. These are incredible sites, and the Navajo consider them sacred sites. No doubt, they will be better preserved in this way, however they do allow their cows to roam these lands.
We opted to go to the overlook, carrying my heavy 200-500mm lens and a tripod. It was worth it though, as I got some pretty good pictures. We walked back up past the nice Visitor’s Center and down the trail to Betatakin until we reached a gate. It gave us a feel for the canyon.
There is a very nice write-up on Keet Seel at: https://www.gjhikes.com/2016/07/keet-seel.html. After reading about the adventures explorers have had in finding these sites, this is a relatively easy trip to an incredible site where you can be guided through the site, climbing the ladders into the houses where the ancients lived.
Inscription house has suffered from erosion, people digging in the site and school children inscribing their names on the walls, so it has been closed. Still the problems persist. “The latter ruin derives its name from an inscription scratched into the clay plaster of a wall. It reads, “Shapeiro Ano Dom 1661.” An intrepid early Spanish explorer or missionary, probably on his way to or from the Colorado River, must have entered the canyon in which this ruin is located and paused at the long-abandoned pueblo to scratch a record of his visit. So far as recorded it was not visited again until June, 1909.” From: https://navajopeople.org/blog/inscription-house-ruin-nitsie-canyon-arizona/.
At 8:00 we set out for Navajo National Monument, turning south on 191. I desperately needed to get the Virginia Airstream newsletter out. With no cell phone service recently, it has been difficult. We could have turned left to the nice Visitor’s Center in Blanding, but hoped to find something in Bluff. We turned at sign for the Visitor’s Center and parked in the shade.
We were greeted as soon as we entered, showing us pictures and an exhibit. I had read a sign in front of Natural Bridges National Monument about the Hole in the Rock, wondering if it was the Hole in The Wall gang, but it was not. It is the amazing story of a group of 236 Mormons assigned on a mission to the Four Corners area. Their 200-mile trip took six months in the winter. They had to cross the Colorado River, widen a slot canyon through the west wall of Glen Canyon and build a road up the solid rock San Juan Hill. Exhausted and out of food, they stopped in what would be called Bluff, Utah on the San Juan River, irrigated, planted and made a trading post. As our guide said, “It would become the Walmart of the time”.
We watched three cool movies in three rooms describing the events, then toured the center. Outside were cabins, wagons and tools showing what it was like in those days in 1879. It was cool, but I HAD to get a newsletter out, so we sat down at a picnic table and went to work. It took me 45 minutes to update new members. I’m sure there is a better way to merge an Excel spreadsheet with gmail. I thought I got everyone, but would latter learn I had missed at least one.
It was noon by the time I was finished, or as finished as I was going to get. We filled with diesel at $6/gal and got some ice and orange juice. We turned west on 160 toward Kayenta through increasingly drier land. Temperatures fluctuated around 90. We turned north toward the Monument where a sign warned not to bring trailers over 26’ due to limited turn-around areas. We were 25’, so we drove on.
We went into the nice, and busy Visitor’s Center. I showed my Senior Pass, but the lady said. “This is a no-fee park.” She explained the two camping areas that are first-come first-serve. With this crowd, we hurried to the small campground, but it was almost empty. We drove around three times, trying to pick a good site, settling on #4. We wiggled around 15 times before we were satisfied with our position, but still, I could barely put the awning out.
We went back to the Visitor’s Center, which was now quiet. It is an historic site where people lived 1,000 years ago. Well, they probably lived here much longer than that, but this was the building era of the Anasazi or The Ancient Ones. the Center had beautiful basket, pottery and tool displays.
We walked out back where trails led to views of the ancient sites. It was getting late and a storm was brewing, so we went back to camp. Soon a big thunderstorm came with a lot of greatly-needed rain.
There are three ways to see three impressive natural bridges in the park. You can see a lot driving the loop and walking a bit from the overlooks. You can also hike the canyon to see all three, but the kicker is you have to walk back across the mesa to get back to your car, which makes a 12-mile hike. We opted for middle ground of hiking into the canyon, along the bottom to see Sipapou Bridge and come back out of the canyon at Kachina Bridge, across the mesa to the parking lot;
It is a great hike in a beautiful canyon where there are two beautiful natural bridges. The canyon itself is beautiful, and people have lived and hunted here since 700 BC or longer. There are ruins and petroglyphs throughout the park. It is no doubt a beautiful canyon with lots of interesting places.
I thought walking the bottom would be easy, but it is not. The trail is unmaintained because a stream runs through the canyon sometimes, so it is sandy, and when it floods, lots of debris is left behind. We saw lots of tracks that could have been deer or goats, or both, but never saw anything. We did see several ruins, and I think there are plenty we didn’t see. Also there was a petroglyph wall that had been marred by visitors making handprints by putting their hands in mud. You can see the difference when you look closely. This is part of the reason many historical sites only allow visitors on guided trips. We humans!
I think my expectations were different than what we found, which mad for a bit of a struggle. The hike across the mesa was more difficult than I expected. Looking back though, I would rate this as one of the best hikes of our trip.
A short rain early, but then cleared. The stars were amazing after the moon went down, and I saw several shooting stars. I am frustrated not having cell phone coverage, although a message or email will occasionally sneak through. I am way behind on the blog and I desperately need to get the Virginia Airstream newsletter out.
Since we had a little rain, we decided to have a morning fire. I love a morning fire to take the chill off until the sun comes up. By 9:00 we had packed up, hooked up, filled our water jugs and set out on the gravel road from Bradfield Campground. We were nervous when we first pulled in on Sunday with a weekend crowd, but Sunday night they all left, except one camper, Chuck and his wife. We had three peaceful, beautiful nights there for $4/night.
We turned onto 491 north toward Monticello. It was only a two-hour drive, but we had some things to do. Our $4 campground didn’t have a dump station, so Martha searched on Campendium and found a Maverick Adventures First Stop gas station had a dump station! It was a big station with a big store and a tractor-trailer parking area. We were surprised there was no fee. They also had fresh water for an RV, but our hose wouldn’t reach. We could have, or should have, bought a second hose, but storage is always an issue, so we went to the Monticello Visitor’s Center. Jim Eberling greeted me and told me where two spigots were. There was a five dollar fee, which I paid.
On my way out the door I noticed a cool museum across the hall, and called Martha to come see. They had some neat things, including moccasins from before the Anasazi! Jim got to talking to Martha about our travels, then took us to his desk to point out some things we shouldn’t miss. Sheez! There is so much stuff to see, especially in the amazing San Juan County, Utah, that it would take months or years to see. We did note “House on Fire” and Bear’s Ears National Monument. I need more time!!
Despite considerable wiggling, we could not get close enough to fill the water tank, so on we went to the next town, Blanding, and stopped in their Visitor’s Center. The nice lady said we could get water at the 7-Eleven five blocks away. Well, they had good WIFI and a nice sitting area outside under some trees, so we sat down to get email, get what I needed for the newsletter, and to fix my protonmail server. By then we were hungry for lunch. Across the street was Patio Diner, rated 4.6, so we went in. Martha got a Burger while I had a Chicken/avacado sandwich.
Then down the road for water at the 7-Eleven. I enquired inside, and she said it was $5. I happily paid, and she handed me a telephone with a cord and a funny-shaped key attached. Showing me a map, she said pull in front of the station, over to a house to find the spigot. I crept across the lot with eyes searching for water in front of this house, and there it was – a water spigot with a padlock on it and a sign above. Using the key attached to a telephone, we unlocked the padlock and happily filled the water tank. We noticed there was an RV park just ahead of the spigot.
Now it was 1:00 and we still had an hour to go to Natural Bridges, and it was hot. Out of town, we took a right and were greeted by a sign warning us there are no services for the next 120 miles. We should have a full tank of gas, food and water. Sounds like the Loneliest Road through Nevada, only that is a lot further.
Down we went into the valley toward the Colorado River, and the terrain became more desert-like. Winding our way around, we finally turned into Natural Bridges National Monument. We were greeted at the Visitor’s Center by a young woman who lacked all charm and warmth. After showing my senior pass and driver’s license, she tossed me a one-page description of the park. We looked around the small center and headed out to the campground.
We could drive around, select our spot, and pay at the self-pay station. We were the only ones there, and selected site 4 for the views. Combined length should not exceed 26’. Well that eliminated us, but we might have to pay for another site for the truck. We’ll see. It’s considerably more expensive than our last site at $7.50/night with a Senior Pass. God Bless those passes!
After a little rest, we drove the “Loop”, which is 9 miles long, beside a lovely canyon. We got out in several places to take a look, and were impressed. Now we really are left with one day to try to see a lot. At the last overlook, we talked with a young lady, who was walking a pretty big hike. Her boy friend has just taken a job here, so she took some time off to explore the area. Like Karen, she is a big-time hiker, and soon she was off to get in a few more miles. She told us one way to do this is to hike down one side, walk along the bottom, and come up the other. Martha said, “Then you have to walk back across the mesa to get to your truck.” I’m sure someone would give us a ride, or you could leave a bike.