Planning a road trip through Northern Arizona and New Mexico was un-tracked territory, so we left everything to fall into place once we arrived in Sedona. The only must-dos were some hiking and biking after a long, inactive winter. When we woke up that first Sedona morning, we realized that the red-rock topography needed to be explored.
There is also a cool twist to hiking in Sedona – vortexes. The local trail maps identified 5 areas around the town which may contain energy fields. Believers or not, we decided to explore the vortex trails.
For another Cathedral experience, we stopped into the magnificent Catholic church embedded in the rocks on the south side of Sedona. A true timeless, architectural wonder, it was well worth the visit to see how a building that size could be so unobtrusive in the landscape.
We managed to rouse ourselves in time to catch the ‘bucket list’ sunset from the airport lookout. The colours of the rocks continually changed as the sun dipped off to the west – well worth the wait!
I won’t quote the Eagles song, but I will wax poetic about our lunch at the La Posada hotel. Some visionaries had the foresight to invest in this beautiful railroad lodge, which still is an active Amtrak stop. The food was amazing, and the restoration worth the trip on old Route 66.
Route 66 is a legendary, but unfortunately now, only a romantic notion of a byway. The highway’s history had prospectors travelling westbound from Chicago for a better life. Parts of the original “66” have been kept up or restored which made for wonderful diversions from a dusty interstate.
We thought we were making good time, but I called our hosts at the Don Gaspar (www.dongaspar.com) in Santa Fe to let them know where we were, and Patrick, one of the Innkeepers replied, “oh we will see you after 9 PM then”. Puzzled, he reminded us that we would lose an hour crossing the New Mexico State line!
All through our trip, both Andrea and I were amazed at the vibrant spring gardens we got to enjoy. Both of us are avid gardeners (albeit I’m in zone 6, and she’s in Zone 10) but neither of us expected the variety of plant life we experienced in the 2 states.
Sunday morning brought some big winds and even the prediction of snow to Santa Fe that afternoon, so Andrea and I decided to leave the higher elevations earlier than expected towards our final destination of Albuquerque. We decided to take the a secondary road known as the “Turquoise Trail”. We ambled through small mining towns that ranged from one-horse (Cerrilos) to funky (Madrid) watching the weather roll in over the Rockies. With a little extra time we drove the 14 miles up to the top of Sandia Peak – the looming mountain above Albuquerque. The wind whipped our little car and the air was pretty thin, so we didn’t linger at 2 miles above sea level.
It was a real treat to have some time to explore the historic inn, meet their critters, and hang out with the peacocks that roam around. Again we were astounded at the meticulous gardens growing in what we erroneously believed to be desert scrub.
Wanting to be early at the airport to drop our car, we neglected to check to see if our flights were on time, and unfortunately due to weather they had been cancelled. That Rocky Mountain weather had wreaked havoc with our connections, so with an extra day in the city, we watched an ominous sunset from the Apothecary Bar at the Parc Central Hotel, giving us a great opportunity to celebrate Andrea’s birthday while laughing about our hikes, bikes and ‘likes’ around Route 66.