What can I say about Las Vegas except that is kind of gruesomely fascinating in its glitziness and the fact it is a huge city dedicated to entertainment in the middle of the desert. We stayed at the hotel in the set below (no guffaws please!) which was extremely comfortable, we were high up and had a great view over this oasis in the desert.
Took a walk along ‘the strip’ and wondered about what all the people who must be staying in all the seemingly hundreds of high-rise hotels were doing, as the strip was crowded but not heaving. Some obviously walking like us, a few stopping the show girls who would pose for $s, some on the gondolas or similar, some in the many entertainment venues and from our quick look lots and lots in the gambling facilities even in the middle of the day!
Onward to Sedona we travelled along a new highway, had a scenic view of the Hoover Dam and a conversation about a whizz bang three wheeler vehicle, our route crisscrossing parts of the old iconic Route 66. Stopping for coffee (in the golden arches again!) and supplies in a supermarket in Kingman we spotted a man with a gun in his holster in the car park. Decided against taking photos of that!
Continuing on through rain and snow (some debate in the car as to whether it was fine hail or snow – the backseat meteorologists decided it was snow!) we turned south at Flagstaff down the Oak Tree Canyon (Route 89A) to Sedona. We ended up dropping 4500 feet (1500m) over about 30 miles (50km) through steep red coloured canyon walls and contrastingly coloured green oaks and pines. A fantastic drive which lived up to expectations of being one of the most scenic drives in the USA. We crossed the big iron bridge into Sedona and into more fabulous scenery.
The town is surrounded by red rock buttes and mesas (more geography!) steep canyons and pine forests where the trees are more scattered than dense. Taking a walk along the road we read on a series of signs about the numerous western movies that have been shot in the area, we could almost imagine John Wayne galloping out from behind a mesa! Views everywhere – even sitting outside a coffee shop or from the servo getting fuel. One of the local wildlife rescuers had a hands-on display of rescued snakes – couldn’t go near them myself but liked the expression of the girl who was game enough to handle one – and there’s Cherrie in the background taking her own photo too.
The red of the rock formations comes from the weathering of iron oxide – ie rusting really – and makes for stunning colours by day and at sunset too. We jostled for a place among a crowd to see a sunset from a viewing point on a hill. Sedona is also an area known for the presence of a number of vortices (or vortexes, I think similar to ley lines elsewhere) which are thought to produce energy and promote self-healing through meditation or ritual. Quite a number of shops display information about them. There’s a big community of artists whose work is displayed in quite a number of galleries in town too. We kept reading about the wildlife we might see – did see some birds including this little hummingbird feeding at a ranger station and Cherrie saw some tarantula legs protruding from under a rock!
The closest we came to seeing these little animals was when they were spotted by the two rotarians. Despite appearances they are not pigs but are called javelinas and are related to deer, antelope and hippos!