Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tourists, Who Needs Em

Sedona-53After leaving the Grand Canyon last week, Linzy and I headed south to Sedona. On the way we stopped in Flagstaff, only to discover nothing of much interest there. We tried to visit the Lowell Observatory (it was one of two marked attractions in town) but that turned out to be a $20 per-person sun telescope on an overcast day. We also tried walking around downtown a bit, but that was only appeared to encompass a block or two, so we eventually gave up and continued our trip.

Sedona was an interesting town. It is what was originally more-or-less a hippie town nestled in a little valley halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. The town is nestled in rolling hills and surrounded by massive red cliffs. Eventually it was 'discovered' by the rest of the world, all the rich people moved in and now the median home price is 600k.

Of course all those people who own million dollar houses don't like the heathen tourists tromping all over their little city, so despite being incredibly scenic it is not really particularly tourist friendly. There are very few signs for anything, half the roads outside of town aren't paved and there are not many convenient places to stop and view the scenery.

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The big thing with Sedona is the Vortexes, supposedly centers of new age power. We tried twice to find the original Vortex in one of the canyons and failed twice. The complete lack of any sort of signs directing you to where the Vortex is defeated us both times.

We did manage to brave the primitive roads and went to the Palatki Ruins, which were quite cool. The cliff houses have mostly fallen down, but enough remained to make it an interesting thing to see. They were not quite as elaborate as Montezuma's Castle (which we saw later in the trip) but you could actually climb up and explore the ruins which made it a little more engaging.

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On the second afternoon in Sedona (when it was ridiculously hot) we decided to head outside of town up into the town of Jerome which was the home to the first mine in Arizona and then became a ghost town by the 1970s. Now it has been 'revitalized' with 500 residents preying on tourists.

Through miscommunication between Linzy and I we ended up going to the Ghost City mine when neither of us wanted to. It turned out to basically be an old mine that some scary people purchased and now have turned into a giant junkyard. Imagine if you bought every broken down old car you ever saw, hauled all of them up onto a mountain top and parked them all over the place and then just let them sit there for years. That's pretty much the Ghost City Mine.

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Regardless of our issues with Jerome, or the unpaved roads and lack of signage in Sedona, it was still interesting to see and we had a good time. Oak Creek Canyon was particularly picturesque and actually had a nice scenic view stop at the top of the canyon. Plus due to all those people with million dollar homes, Sedona had many nice restaurants, so even if we couldn't find any vortexes, we could at least find a good meal.

[ The rest of the pictures from Sedona are here ]

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