After a short hop across highway 10 east I landed at the Phoenix airport around 11am. 45 minutes later I was in a rental car and on my way to the Valley Ho hotel to pick up Beverly from her conference. The hotel was totally remodelled to be straight out of a 60s late night talk show. Everything was made of circles and wavy patterns, translucent plastic, chunky ornaments with thin legs. Ironically the disabled room they had put Beverly in was all the way at the end of the complex (does that make any sense?). As we drove away from the hotel we noticed a swath of art galleries. We decided to get out and take a look since we didn’t have any set time-table for getting to Sedona. After we wandered around for a bit and revelled in our mutual disdain for “authentic southwestern themed” artwork we hopped back in the car to an immediate phone call from one of Beverly’s colleagues. Beverly had forgot her hat in the hotel lobby.
We picked up the hat and noted the eerily perfect timing. Then it was on to Sedona through a desolate yellow wasteland; but only after slipping through the heavy Friday afternoon traffic. Phoenix is growing by leaps and bounds – and doesn’t have the infrastructure in place yet. The rental agency had given me a free “upgrade” to a PT Cruiser. The Cruiser is woefully underpowered ( i.e. we were getting passed by various trucks on a 2% grade as I slammed the gas pedal to the floor). Beverly spent a few minutes looking through the owner’s manual for horsepower information, there was none. The Internet later told me it was 150.
For the vast majority of the drive we were treated to a subtle rise in elevation and increasing count of sand and cactus. Suddenly in “red rock country” the landscape changes to mars with pine trees. We stopped a few times to snap photos before even reaching our hotel. By the time we checked in it was dusk so we decided to eat dinner and then grab groceries. For dinner we ate at the hotel restaurant – which was completely deserted. We remarked to our waiter that the mushroom ragu was excellent but the calamari was dismal. He was so happy to have a customer that he took the calamari and our drinks off the bill.
We ended the evening with a trip to the supermarket – Beverly taking a stab at driving the disabled cart, and then pouring some liqour into glasses for a trip to the hot tub.