February is the PERFECT time to escape the Pacific Northwest. It’s rainy, overcast, gray, possibly snowy (or slushy, more likely) and you’re probably itching to see the sun right about now. Seasonal Affective Disorder makes me so SAD!!! So, why not go somewhere warm and sunny? It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, AND I’m turning 40 later this month, so Chris and I decided to turn mid-February into a Sunny-VD-BD Extravaganza by heading out to Sedona, Arizona!
I did a lot of hiking, camping and backpacking in the arid desert canyon-country parts of the US while I was in grad school (Fort Collins, CO, by the way) and I haven’t seen these parts in YEARS. I really miss the desert – as I biologist I’m completely fascinated by how various life forms have evolved and adapted to survive in such a harsh environment. Further, the rock formations make you feel like you’re on a completely different planet. So, I’m very excited to get back to the desertish parts of the country and enjoy the sun, fresh air, and warm temperatures! Happy birthday to ME!
We left EARLY on Thursday morning, flying out from Portland, stopping in Phoenix, and arriving in Flagstaff. We picked up a car and decided to eat lunch at MartAane’s Burrito Palace, which was AMAZING…if you like BLTs and grilled cheese sandwiches and guacamole, the Ultimate BLT is for you. I highly recommend the curly fries, as well. And a strange aside, they DO NOT offer diet soda! Oh well, I’m on vacation, right? Yum!
The smallest baggage claim ever, discovered at the Flagstaff Airport.
I ate this whole thing. Do I regret it? My answer is no. I know you are jealous.
MartAnne’s – Amazing artwork by Emma Gardner graces the walls.
We had some time to kill before our hotel room was going to be ready, so we headed over to Williams and spent a couple of hours at Bearizona, where you can ride an open-air bus (or drive your own car, should you wish to exercise that particular insurance risk) around the park and see wolves, bears, sheep, buffalo and all sorts of other critters. We had a good time feeding the goats in the Bearizona Barn Yard, but watch your fingers! Chris almost came away with only nine of his!
Just a few pictures of Bearizona…if you request them, I can send you about 200 more. Lemme know.
Finally, we headed down 89A through Oak Creek Canyon and arrived in Sedona at the Amara Hotel. Just in time for sunset. Just in time for desert and drinks (the Almond Joy actually does taste like Almond Joy candy bars, and I had to get three of them just to make sure that this assessment was correct). What will the rest of this vacation bring? You’ll just have to wait for the next installment to find out!