Here we sit- the rest of the house is asleep since most of us are leaving before 7 tomorrow to various destinations in various states. Christmas is over and packed up, the Wii , the sealing and beautiful reception over. All that's left is our LAUNDRY! So, here we sit at 11:00 PM, knowing that we'll set our alarms for 6 and could barely drag ourselves out of bed at 7 this morning. We couldn't have done it earlier, because J and I were on VACATION! Sweet Nana insisted that we take a night away from Ernie, so we got online and booked a room at a Bed and Breakfast in Sedona. That way we couldn't back out! We left yesterday morning, headed to the Grand Canyon. Wow, is that place cold in January! It was 28 degrees out, and we figured 30 mph gusts of wind. Please see picture...or not. It's your retinas!
After an hour or two of driving to a photo point, hopping out to take pictures, racing back to the car to warm up and driving to the next photo point we made our way down to Sedona. He'd never seen the Grand Canyon, and neither one of us had been to Sedona. I was not prepared for how absolutely heart-wrenchingly beautiful it is. It's almost other-worldly. Our B&B backed up to the Coconino National Forest, so we were 10 feet from a pass through gate and a trail leading miles in. We did a quick hike when we arrived and saw yucca, creosote bushes, juniper, prickly pear, and rabbits.
This is Jayson with the neon green lichen that surprised us so much. This is Arizona- arid desert! Why is there lichen?
We found dinner and finished off the night watching movies that didn't involve singing animals. Well, almost. We started watching the Sci-Fi channel's "Tin Man," but after about 30 minutes I was so keyed up I was almost crying. I don't handle "jump scenes" very well- guess nothing's changed there. So we turned on all the lights, and found Care Bears episodes on YouTube. That brought back memories! We got ready for bed, and with all the lights on I was ready to face it again. I spent most of the time with my head under the blankets and Jayson reading the closed captioning to me, and occasionally saying "Yeah, you don't want to see this." It wasn't even that scary- it was just things popping around corners that I didn't expect.
We woke up early to take a quick hike during sunrise, and made it up to the top of the nearest rock. Breakfast tasted really great afterwards- fresh muffins, yogurt parfait, eggs, bacon, watermelon, and potato pancake, with hot cocoa and fresh squeezed orange juice, while we watched birds and rabbits gather around the feeders outside the glass doors. Good thing we did that hike! Just in case the calorie balance still wasn't...balanced, we hit the Thunder Mt. trailhead and hiked around Chimney rock for an hour. What a beautiful hike! Every turn brought a new view, and sometimes entirely new plants!
We saw the "art village" Tlaquepaque (a collection of 40 art galleries) and were sorely tempted by a Frank Jordan watercolor painting. He has a way of using water colors that makes the brightest colors we'd ever seen, and outlining in black so the picture just pops. Of course, how tempted could we REALLY have been by a $2,400 price tag? So we weren't tempted...just dreaming. (This is a picture of me with the kissing frog. I don't know why- it just is! We get a little crazy with no Ernie around to keep us grounded.)
We drove out to see the chapel built out of the rocks, by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright's. It was amazing, but we didn't go inside. By that time, it was time for lunch- for a full review of how much we ADORED our meal see my post at The Chow Review.
We headed out of town towards Montezuma's Castle Monument- a dwelling structure built into a limestone cliff by the Sinagua people. It was absolutely amazing. I can't imagine how they ever accomplished it.
And just in case you go, keep this warning in mind!
On the way home we passed through Jerome, a mining town just clinging to the side of the Mingus Mountains. It's amazing- I don't know how those houses stay up!
And then, we were home. Ernie was very happy to see us, and we had a wonderful time. We leave tomorrow morning for our real home, and we'll all miss J's family. Especially Ernie will miss them- every room has another aunt, uncle, Nana, or Grandpa who is more than happy to put down whatever they were working on and play a silly game with her, or sing a song, read a book, or teach her where the "B" is on the keyboard. (When do I start getting freaked out by all these things she can do??) Luckily, they're already planning their next trip up to our area!