Oak Creek Canyon Arizona
September 23-25, 2001
We decided this year that after the 18th Annual Friendship Run we would take off for a few days of travel.  Fessi and Sylvia had managed to get into the country from Switzerland even though the airlines had other plans for them a couple of times before they actually managed to get in the air.  They finally got into Phoenix Wednesday the 19th and only had a day or so to recover from their jet lag before we blasted off to the Caverns for the weekend.  (If you would like to read more about the Friendship Run just Click Here to go to the web site.  You will have to use your back key to return to this site, as there is no return link there.)

After spending Friday and Saturday at the Grand Canyon Caverns being entertained by just over 500 others in attendance we were ready to roll out in the direction of Jerome and Oak Creek Canyon on Sunday morning.  Joe had warned Fessi on Saturday night to behave himself so that he didn't have to ride with a hangover.  Fessi apparently had learned the hard way before so the advice didn't fall on deaf ears.  Unfortunately Joe wound up staying up until almost three in the morning due to problems at the campground with a 21 year old who had drank until he became bulletproof, so he didn't feel quite up to 100% on Sunday morning, or in the afternoon for that matter.  Although the kid looked like he'd been hit by a passing freight train in the morning.  Some people have to learn the hard way when somebody bigger than you says it's time to go to bed, it's best to take them at their word..

View from Chapel of the Holy Cross
Everybody has to get their picture taken in front of the Grand Canyon..right?
Anyway....Sunday around the crack of eleven or so we headed off towards Seligman enroute to Jerome and Cottonwood.  Given the rough condition of at least half of our troupe it was decided that we stop off at the Black Cat in Seligman for an eye opener so to speak.  Fessi had always associated Bloody Mary's with tomato juice and shunned them as having no benefit to humans.  Apparently he'd never had one at the Black Cat Saloon before.  Until we took Fessi and Sylvia back to the airport in Phoenix we heard "Let's go find us a Bloody Mary" almost every day.

Once we were sufficiently revived to continue our journey we set off for Jerome and Cottonwood where we would eventually spend the evening dining on fine Italian food (pizza) and soaking in the hot tub.  Fessi and Sylvia had never been over the Mingus Mountain pass before and compared to the Swiss Alps it really isn't too much to get excited about, but on the other hand we're used to it.  Turns out, they both enjoyed the ride immensely.  You see when you get to 7,000 feet above sea level in Switzerland there aren't any more trees, not so in Arizona and most of the USA.

After spending a bit of time in Jerome, a small mining town turned tourist trap, to let our tourists wander and take in the sights we were headed down the hill (literally) to Cottonwood and the hospitality of the Super 8 Motel.  We had discovered this fine inn last year when traveling with Mike & Donna and found its most redeeming feature to be the hot tub.  Nothing like soaking in a spa to relieve the tired body after a day of traveling by iron horse.  Or it could possibly be that the management looks the other way when a bunch of bikers without swimming attire show up at the pool with their coolers.  Seems we forgot to take into account that we might just find ourselves in the vicinity of a cement pond during our trip.  Oh well.....sweat shorts and T-shirts do just fine.  Or in Fessi's case speedos.  Modesty was conveniently left at home on this trip.

Once Fessi and Joe had exhausted the supply of beer that they took to the pool and Teri and Sylvia had used the shower to scrub away the days grime, it was time for a good old fashioned Italian dinner, served outside of course.  Fessi hauled the table out of his room and we set up our dining room out on the sidewalk in front of our rooms, much to the amusement of the other guests.  But hey...when the weather is this nice, who wants to be cooped up inside just to eat a meal?

Vacations take sooooo...much out of you, don't they?
You back up another step!!
With a couple of pizzas delivered from the local pizza joint we dined under the stars, err well parking lot lights at least and had a great meal.  Living in the desert we've learned not to waste good weather, who knew when we would see the temperature below 100 again?

Tuesday morning we did get an early start.  Joe was almost recovered from his near all nighter on Saturday and we rolled off in the direction of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon a whopping 28 miles away.

Before brunch we took a ride up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross built on the red rock cliffs outside of Sedona, this place is spectacular and is worth visiting more than once.  As the temperature was climbing towards the three digit mark we elected to head into Sedona after only a brief stay and find something to tide us over until dinner.  Brunch was by request of Fessi, someplace where we could also secure another Bloody Mary.  The Cowboy Grill in Sedona used to be the old Oak Creek Tavern and not much of the old ambiance of a grungy bar remains, in reality not such a bad thing.  Fessi found his Bloody Mary and Sylvia made friends with another patron and discovered deep fried cactus.  Those of us who live with the stuff don't even want it in our yards but Sylvia found it to be rather tasty.  We'll take her word for it.

Once our stomachs were full we departed town in the direction of Flagstaff via the Oak Creek Canyon.  About fifteen miles up the canyon is the turn off to Garlands Resort and a bridge across Oak Creek that the water runs over instead of under when the the creek is high enough.  There is no better place in Arizona to stop on a hot day, pull your boots off and soak your feet in the cool water.  We killed a little over an hour there, not wanting to put the boots back on but knowing we needed to reach Flagstaff another twenty five miles away, by early afternoon.

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona
Yes, this really is Arizona!!
The ride up Oak Creek Canyon even on a bad day is great.  Unfortunately the colors don't change in this area until just after the first of October and we were a couple of weeks early for that, but the scenery is just about the best that Arizona has to offer.

Our stay in Flagstaff Tuesday night was not nearly as comfortable as it was in Cottonwood but we survived in spite of our downgrade in accommodations.  Without going into too much detail, the next time we will find someplace else not only to stay but for dinner as well.

Wednesday morning the plan was to head north out of Flagstaff to Cameron and then turn west into the Grand Canyon National Park.  Joe equates going to the Grand Canyon right up there with some forms of Asian torture but given the fact that we had guests he surrendered and endured this largest of Arizona tourist attractions.  The weather through the Grand Canyon National Park was almost picture perfect, with cool temperatures and light breezes.  We stopped a few times along the south rim to take photos and rest our rear ends but we knew that we had a long ride ahead of us to reach the Colorado River and home sometime before Teri had to go to work on Thursday.  It must really suck to have a job!

Our ride from the Grand Canyon took us mainly on Interstate 40 with another stop in Seligman for lunch at the Snow Cap drive in.  The Snow Cap has been in existence since the building of Route 66 under the ownership of the same family.  They have held onto the nostalgic appearance of a 1930's drive in and provide entertainment as well, usually at the expense of their customers.  I won't spoil the surprise, you'll just have to stop there some day and experience it yourself.

As always happens our trip had to come to an end.  We arrived back in Havasu sometime after the sun had dipped below the horizon, or as we call it "CommieFornia" and the reality of having to go back to work the next day forced us to end our travels until Teri can convince her boss to set her free again for a few days.

He thinks no one can see him when he dresses in cammo!!


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