Author Topic: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR  (Read 9344 times)

Offline VacationLover

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Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« on: December 09, 2014, 07:21:09 PM »
We wanted to do a short and interesting trip but couldn’t decide where to go. I read a few TR and they all seemed good enough. But when I came across Yehuda S.’s TR I had no more doubts; this was the place I wanted to visit! My wife, our 3 month old daughter and I went on this short trip, from November 2-4 2014. We took along our Panasonic Lumix LX5 Camera and all photos featured here are from our own snapshots; nothing is downloaded from other sources.

Sunday
We departed 10:30 am and flew JFK-PHX with US Airways. Since I booked the tickets quickly, I made a mistake in one letter of my name. I didn’t realize it until I was stopped by a TSA Agent who sent me back to change my name. The ticket agent couldn’t change it since it was booked with Avios, so he just scribbled on that letter and rewrote it right below… I then went again to Security and chose to stand on line by a different TSA Agent and he B”H let me through without any issues.  The flight took about 4.5 hours. Along the way there were nice views from the AZ desserts.




Getting closer  to PHX

Right after we landed I powered on my cell phone and received a text message from Hertz that my Jeep Patriot is parked in stall #M0010. Considering that I booked an intermediate car it was a great surprise for me and a good start for our trip. There are no car rentals “in” the airport; you have to take a shuttle to a building where all car rental companies are located (about a 7 minute ride). We got onto a shuttle right away and were taken to the parking lot. I just walked straight to my car and drove out. It was all very simple and quick. When I left the rental, the guy told me “thanks for being a Hertz 5 star member”- I guess that’s why I got the upgrade.


Police Bike in the Airport

Our first stop was at Segal’s for a late lunch/early supper. The food was delicious and Heimish. Then we went to Last Chance and picked up beautiful clothing for less than $10 a piece, and then did some more shopping in the Shopping Center. When we were done, we headed out to Sedona.

The driving in AZ is something the Tri State should learn from. It was such a pleasure! There are no Tolls, no construction, and the speed limit is 75 mph! (Perhaps, if NY would be a Republican state it would also be that way) Best of all, the gas prices there are crazy cheap. I filled up my tank for $2.29 when the average price in NY was $3.43.



When I started my drive up to Sedona, it was still light outside.  Along the way, it darkened and we had a beautiful sunset view. Later on however, something followed that I was totally unprepared; the speed limit was 75 mph and it turned completely dark - a darkness that I’ve not experienced in my life before - and the highways were becoming really curvy and steep. Even though I consider myself a professional driver, it was a real hard drive. I found it difficult to reach the speed limit…

We booked 2 nights in the Sedona Real Inn, and arrived there about 7:30 to check in. But before settling for the night, we first had to stock up on food. So we drove to Safeway, about 1 mile from the hotel, and bought fruits, vegetables, chips, etc.


Sedona Real Inn




Sedona

Monday
We woke up early, and off we went for the once in a lifetime trip! The way from Sedona to the GC takes about 2 hours. The first leg of the way which is a drive in Oak Creek Canyon is pretty challenging, with one lane in each direction and awfully curvy.

Oak Creek Canyon


Oak Creek Canyon (Google Maps)

Once you get close to Flagstaff the road straightens out. After Flagstaff you hit the final road to GC which is a semi highway with one lane per direction and the speed limit goes up to 75mph and of course you drive on 85+… That road is very boring, for over an hour you see nothing but endless desserts; no exits, no gas station, no rest areas, absolutely nothing! Then when you finally arrive about 15 minutes before the GC there are some gas stations and a few shops (Don’t buy anything in the Gift Shop there as the shop in the GC is much cheaper) then you finally enter the GC. The price is $25 and you get a pass to go in.


Near Flagstaff

After entering the village we parked by the visiting center. Upon opening the car door, a fresh cool breeze welcomed us. (By the GC its about 10 degrees cooler than in Sedona) We geared up and walked to the bus stop from where a bus leaves every 8 minutes. We took the bus towards the South Rim. We went down by the South Kaibab Trail which was supposed to be a hike that is kids accessible with breathtaking views and restrooms along the route.

Upon getting off the bus I was like Ooohhhh mmmyyyy!!!! This is huuuuuge!!! And steep. When we entered the trail and saw how steep the trail actually is, it was truly terrifying. The first 10 minutes we couldn’t breathe, and then it started straightening out a bit. The deeper you go in the trail the nicer the view becomes. Kids accessible? Look at the picture and tell me how. Restrooms? After walking 45 minutes to the ooh aah point we were told, “Hike down for another hour, there are some restrooms” (After the ooh aah point the trail once again gets very steep). There are no signs along the way to let you know how long you still have to go (like in Switzerland). Safety? I thought only in Europe the safety is poor (I had a brother who nearly drowned in Europe after falling out from a ferry boat who’s door was literally open) Now I see that here in the USA you need to look out for your own safety as well.


View from the start of the S. Kaibab Trail


The first 10 minutes is very scary. Kids accessible?!

I will not even try to describe the views from the GC as it’s something that words can’t do. If you were never there, you will never know. Even the best pictures don’t show you a fraction of the real and incredible views, especially since it’s not just one point to look at, but a 360 degree view. And besides the actual views there is another amazing thing; since there are no mountains, your eyes could see for a vast stretch of a few hundred miles. Of course you can’t “see” so far but you can see the horizon.


As you hike on, the views widen more.


The widest point of the trail. Here we allowed ourselves to catch our breath and snap some photos


No gates on the sides


Random snapshot

We were by the ooh aah point for about 10 minutes, and then we hiked back. By ooh aah point, there were a few insane people who posed for pictures by the tip of the stones. I was terrified that I will see someone slip and fall down... The hike back was easier than the way going. We took the bus to an observation point called “Yaki Point” and then took the next bus back to the visitor center, bought some souvenirs and at about 2:00 we drove back to Sedona.


View from ooh aah point


Ooh aah point


View from Yaki Point


This might give you an idea of how big the GC is. See the red box on the left?


This photo is the red box from the previous pic. See the red circle? That’s 2 mules with people riding on them!

On the way back, while driving on the boring highway I thought, why not test how fast the car can drive? I knew (thought) I’m safe since you can see a few miles ahead, and I saw there are no cars in sight, so I pressed down the gas 90…95…100… after reaching 100 mph the car started shaking from the winds…105…110… suddenly for a split second the front tires lifted and landed on the other lane… B”H there was no car there. I quickly turned back the wheel and obviously slowed down, and never hit 90 again.

We arrived to Sedona at 4:30. We wanted to watch sunset (5:30) by the Cathedral Rock. We arrived at the rock and realized that the parking lot and hike are on the east side of the rock (NE). The beauty of sunset in Sedona is to see the rock turn red and glow. In order for us to see that we would have to hike all the way around the rock and by that time the sun would long be gone. I checked on a map and saw the fastest way to drive to the other side of the rock would be a drive around Sedona. But by that time it was already 5:00 – half hour before sunset. A quick google search revealed us that on Airport Road there is a lookout point special for sunset.  5 minutes later we were there. It is a huge parking lot with loads of people watching sunset. The views were awesome. Then I drove another 1000 feet to check out the tiny airport.


I jumped out at Cathedral Rock, snapped  a picture and continued on


Waiting for sunset


The rocks are starting to glow


Note Sedona between me and the rock


A glimpse towards the sun


The rocks in full glow


A few minutes before sunset


1 minute later

Tuesday
We had the return flight scheduled for 1:30 pm in Business.  We woke up early, checked out of the hotel, and about 7:45 drove out to Bell Rock. The parking fee is $5 (Red Rock Pass). We hiked on the rock and took some stunning self-portrait pictures. The views from there are spectacular, especially in the morning. When it became difficult to hike further we turned back to our car.  Supposedly, Sedona has 4 places where there is a vortex; meaning you feel some magnetic power pulling you down… one of the places is Bell Rock. We tried to feel it, with no success… I guess we don’t live in an illusion…


Bell rock (From behind, the famous “bell shape” is from the front)


On Bell Rock




View from Bell Rock

The drive back to Phoenix was way easier than the way going (if safety matters to you don’t drive at night!). Along the way we were able to enjoy the jungles of cactus. Then we made a stop by Anthem Outlets. We got some cheap things at Gap from the clearance rack… and a few other stores. Then we returned the car. After checking in, we went to the Lounge Club. (From Chase Ink) That lounge is pretty old and small, but they provide some free food; chips, soda cans etc. As soon as we were seated with our baby, we got stares from the 2 passengers in front of us, and as soon as my daughter started Kvetching a little, the two guys whispered loud “get her quiet” “shut up” etc. They really made us feel uncomfortable.

After all, it was a trip worth going!!


Cactus along the way


PHX lounge Club free snack bar


In front of Anthem Outlets


I discovered a new thing... I set my camera on SCN-Sunset and NYC looks like a piece of gold...
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 08:22:23 PM by VacationLover »

Online ari9

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 07:32:01 PM »
wow!
amazing TR, so easy to read - thanks!
and great pictures
youre definitely right about not being able to comprehend the GC until you make it there yourself

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 07:33:28 PM »
Beautfiul! Great narration for the TR too. Remember to add it here - http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=2882.0.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 07:41:37 PM by Ya'alili »

Offline bubble347

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 07:37:12 PM »
Love your TRs, hope you take more trips ;)
Watch this inspiring video.

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 07:39:28 PM »
Love your TRs, hope you take more trips ;)
Thanks. I'm still waiting for your Thailand TR...

Offline Hershelsdeals

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2014, 07:44:06 PM »
Thanks. I'm still waiting for your Thailand TR...
+1000000000
Love your TRs, hope you take more trips ;)

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2014, 07:47:34 PM »
One day...
Thanks for the great TR.
^^^

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2014, 08:09:10 PM »
Great TR! I like that you put it all up at once instead of many installments over months.

Offline clear thinker

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2014, 09:06:34 PM »
Wowowow u guys rock! way to go!! It definitely looks like you really enjoyed it I know I did just from reading!
Tnx for the trip reports so perfectly done, sharp to the point yet loaded with information! let alone The pics they're just gorgeous!
Keep them coming!
You make it look/seem so easy! Just hop on 2 day trip....., you inspire others (relatively speaking...)
Can't wait for the next!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 09:10:23 PM by clear thinker »

Offline alpicone

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2014, 09:08:22 PM »
Great TR. Sedona/GC was one of my favorite trips. The pics bring me right back.

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2014, 09:14:58 PM »
Great TR. Sedona/GC was one of my favorite trips. The pics bring me right back.
I am always interested in other peoples TR's...

Offline bubble347

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2014, 09:16:02 PM »
Thanks. I'm still waiting for your Thailand TR...
+1000000000
Will get working on it.
Watch this inspiring video.

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 09:21:58 AM »
1- Another beautiful sunset pic
2- Gas price



Offline VacationLover

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 09:28:19 AM »
Sedona

Offline dealfinder85

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Re: Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 09:51:20 AM »
Sedona
wow
i did that trip last january courtesy of the delta glitch, but i didnt include, nor take, the incredible pictures you got
wow thats awesome
and i also went with a 3 month old