Occasionally Calvin has a romantical fit and suggests activites (not those activities… well, yes, those activities, but other activities as well…) for us to do together which aid in the whole relationship-foundation-cementy thing (and the get-away-from-home-and-have-hotel-sex thing). Such as his suggestion to go to Sedona on Friday afternoon. Long time readers will recall that this was the location of our wedding, so Sedona holds a place near to and dear to and slightly to the left of our hearts.
Anyway, we made the decision to leave at 1:00, and by 2:30 had made hotel reservations, packed, loaded up the truck, and was pulling out of the driveway. Calvin wanted to ride the motorcycle up, so I followed behind him in the truck. My iPod got a lot of use on the way up and on the way back, since I had no one to converse with and nothing to do but drive and stare at Calvin’s backside for two and a half hours (not a bad passtime, that). I have an iPod transmitter that would allow me to listen to my iPod through the stereo speakers… if it worked well. But it doesn’t. It’s all crackly and the sound is distorted. It’s a curiously isolated feeling to drive with noise-cancelling headphones on. For the first twenty minutes I was paranoid that I wouldn’t hear a cop or a fire truck screaming up behind me, and I checked my rear-view mirror obsessively. I got over that in short order, though, and broke the speed limit with nary a twinge of guilt.
The drive up to Sedona (well, and back from, too) is lovely, if one can ignore the FUCKING TRAFFIC that you have to deal with until you get out of Phoenix. I-17 from the I-10 interchange until the city limits is one bastard of a drive. It astonishes me how many people prefer to drive with their thumbs up their asses. You’d think that would get uncomfortable, but it seems to be popular among Arizona drivers. I’ve never had the urge to try, myself.
We stopped at a rest stop about halfway there to pee and hydrate and wash the bugs off of Calvin’s helmet. Continuing on, we arrived at about 5:30 and was greeted by lovely 75-degree weather. Since the Valley is already up into the 90′s (hello, harbinger of summer), it was heaven to roll down all the windows and actually enjoy the 30-MPH traffic crawl from the freeway exit into Sedona proper. After a bit of confusion and wrong turns, we found our hotel. Calvin and I got separated looking for the place – I found it first, then lurked around out front watching for Calvin to direct him into the place. People in traffic kept stopping for me, thinking I wanted to cross the street. Funny how manners come back when you’re away from the city.
Our room was a cute little thing, with a fireplace and mini fridge and wet bar and microwave. Our first order of business was to get cleaned up and then search out the restaurant that was generating the incredible steak smell we experienced as we checked in. We figured we’d go to the Cowboy Club – another favorite of ours – and grab a street-side patio table. None were available, but the hostess took us on a trek through the restaurant, out the back alley (quoth the hostess, “Don’t worry, there’s really a restaurant back here!”), and across an empty lot to their sister restaurant, Redstone Cabin.
I immediately kicked myself for not bringing my camera, because the outdoor seating was lovely. We were seated right next to a little waterfall, under the open sky, with a fire pot nearby. We were served complimentary appetizers, and chose a beer and a whiskey to go with our meal. Calvin had the fillet, and I had the roasted duck. They did something to their vegetables (summer squash and zucchini and baby carrots) that even had Calvin raving about them. I mean, Calvin. Vegetables. Seriously. We lingered over dinner, the warm-fuzzy lovey-dovey feelings mounting by the minute, for a solid two hours.
We staggered (and moo-ed) over to a nearby convenience store for a laying-in of beer, back to our room briefly to stash our loot, and then back out to find some trouble to get into. Sedona doesn’t believe in Trouble, though. The entire town closes down at night – Uptown Sedona was nearly deserted (at 8:00!), but we managed to find a place that wasn’t closed. We sat at the bar at The Orchards Bar & Grill, yet another favorite of ours. Vernon the bartender regaled us with stories of life in Sedona, and discourteous neighbors, and corporate outsiders who buy out local institutions and then are thwarted by the proximety of a new church. We toasted the triumph of the little guy, chatted a bit with a couple up from Vegas, and then were run out when the place closed at nine. Calvin and I, a bit giggly by this point, plopped down on a bench along the main street to watch what little of the world was going by. I couldn’t begin to tell you what we talked about or why it was so damn funny, but by the time we got back to our room our sides were aching. I guess you had to be there.
Back at the hotel, we did a little sumthin’ sumthin’ that’s none of your heighty-doo, and a good time was had by all.
The next morning we rolled out of bed at a respectable 7:45, got showered and dressed and checked out (we tried for another night, but they were booked – much to our disappointment and desire to delay our return to reality by another day). We hit a little cafe across the street with the World’s Most Annoying Waitress and the winner of the Scariest Penciled-In Eyebrows Award, and indulged in corned beef hash and eggs.
We left the truck parked at the hotel and took the motorcycle to gas up. Then we headed down through Sedona and along Highway 89-A, the scenic route between Sedona and Flagstaff, and easily the prettiest drive in the state. We’ve gone along this way more than a dozen times, but never together on the back of a motorcycle. It’s really lovely to be able to see all around without being enclosed in a vehicle. We made a quick stop at a convenience store along the way for some fortification in the form of Jack, and I did the tourist thing with the camera.
Our turn-around point was Oak Creek Canyon Viewpoint, where we stopped for a potty break, some pictures, and conversation with other visitors. As Calvin paused to take my picture, a gent from Tennessee came up and asked if we wanted our picture taken together. He and his family were in Arizona on vacation, and headed toward the Grand Canyon, and then Scottsdale later in the week. We chatted for a few minutes about the best places to go and what to do and see, and then we continued on our way along the walk.
Calvin lined me up for another picture, and this time a little old man from Kansas asked him if we wanted our picture taken together. So once more we surrendered our camera and grinned into the lens. We ended up chatting with him for a good fifteen or twenty minutes. I love talking to older folks – this guy in particular has been everywhere and seen everything. He’d driven the exact route we were on back in 1935 when it was just a dirt road. We talked for a long while about all the changes the world has seen since then – some good, some bad – then his wife came to claim him. Calvin and I shot a few more pictures, then hopped back on the motorcycle for the ride back down the mountains and into Sedona.
Back in Sedona, we stopped at Canyon Breeze for some lunch (and beer and tequila, heh), and a conversation with a bartender who hailed from Boston. I recognized his accent immediately and asked where he was from. Once he realized how much of a kick I was getting out of listening to him talk (and MAN was it making me homesick, weirdly enough), he kept coming back around to chat. Calvin and I had a good long conversation about changes we want to make in our lives that will result in more quality time together such as we had been enjoying in Sedona. It made it that much harder to think about coming home, so after lunch we wandered around Sedona a bit, then took the trail down from Upper Sedona to L’Auberge resort where we got married. It was absolutely lovely to stroll around hand in hand, think about the last five years together and all that has happened, and just enjoy the greenery and the sights and sounds of the creek.
After our stroll around L’Auberge, we climbed back up to the village (sadly, the hillavator was out of order), made a last brief visit with Vernon at The Orchard for a quick beer, then got ourselves together to head back down the mountain and home again. If anything, the drive seemed longer heading back, but that impression was probably aided by the 20-minute detour we took in Anthem, trying to find a way around a dead-stop traffic jam. Reality returned with a vengance as soon as we stepped in the door at home, and more than once Calvin and I turned to each other and said, “Why was it we didn’t stay in Sedona, again?” But it’s short trips like this that make us appreciate our lives and our relationship, so we’re grateful that we have even this small opportunity for escape from time to time.
And also? I am totally in love with my husband.
There are tons more pictures of our weekend on my Flickr site. Phew! It’s been a mighty long time since I’ve done a picture-heavy entry. Hope you enjoy.