The first stop – Phoenix

We arrived late.

The city closes very early.

New Year’s Eve 2018 was no exception.

Hungry and pitiful, we drove a rented 7-searer around Phoenix looking for food, champagne, and mirth.  We found free champagne in a basement dive.

Five minutes later, we were back in the hotel, at the bar, watching Dick Clark, toasting the new year.

Dinner provided by Domino’s Pizza.



It’s hard to be Ansel Adams when you are traveling with a group of car-bound photo jockeys.  That is to say, one does not really get the feel for a community, nor very many good photographs, when blowing through a town at 50 mph barely taking the time to roll down a window at the stop sign.  And that is just how we experienced Sedona.

From what we saw, the town appeared quaint and touristy, not unlike any other American tourist destination – replete with resorts, T-shirt shops and cafes.    But the real draw of Sedona is obviously the natural beauty.  Driving in from the south, passing through Oak Creek, one enjoys a perfect view of the dramatic red-rock countryside, including Bell Rock (shown) and several big red plateaus.   Unfortunately, during our 15 minutes in Sedona, the weather was cool and overcast so I can’t say that this page does the area justice.



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Gotta Dig that Crazy Topography



After passing quite a few “blending-in-with-the-desert” resorts we stopped on a touristy main street for a brief lunch, which included prickly-pear cactus fries.  They had a very strange salty and tart taste – not worth more than a few just to say that you ate cactus in Arizona!   The Cowboy Club also offered rattlesnake skewers, but we lacked the spirit of adventure to try them.

Bottom line is that the landscape was as interesting as it gets, and I would like to return to hike about photographing the scenic beauty.

Meteor Crater


After dropping back down to a lower elevation to escape the impending snow storm at the Grand Canyon, we headed east on I-40 in search of the mighty meteor crater somewhere between Flagstaff, Arizona and Winslow, Arizona.

And after following encouraging signs that read, “Meteor Crater, 9 miles ahead,” when we couldn’t see a damn thing and “View exciting film on a big screen just like in the movie theater,” oooh, I can’t wait!  Just like a movie theater?

And we were clearly enthralled, because we pulled over on the side of the road in the middle of all this desolation and Jake and Christopher started to take cheesy, posed photos while I talked to my brother, Matt, on my cell phone and Suzie looked as bored as an ice cream sundae in the middle of winter while she sat in their powder-hued Lincoln LS that we had nicknamed Cottonball for our walkie-talkie exchanges.



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I was half torn between listening to Matt’s story about one of his friend’s marriage woes and jumping out of the car to tell Jake and Christopher that walking down the middle of a deserted road with a case of Heineken over your shoulder is NOT web site worthy. As far as I could tell, Suzie felt the same way.

I think they were forced back into the car because some cars actually drove down the road. Shocker.

So $48 and 20 minutes later we were a bit stupefied because we couldn’t figure out what had just happened. Clearly, we just saw a very large hole in the ground. And we had clearly been duped too. See weak photos. (In all fairness, we’re probably horrible photographers.)

Yes, the entrance fee was $12 per person.  And that included a discount coupon for the gas station near the interstate.  And the annual pass was $15.  Go figure.  You’re probably gonna get sucked in once, but you’ve gotta be a real space rock freak to go back again.

So from a grand-scheme-of-things viewpoint, it was worth it.  But otherwise, it’s a sorry excuse for an attraction.  And the Subway (“Subway eat fresh!”) attached to the gift shop (also called the Rock Shop) attached to the museum, which is attached to the movie theater that is next to the Big Hole should put the whole experience into perspective.



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