Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'm NOT a Jeep!

“I’m NOT a jeep,” said, Red.  “Get me out of here!”  I guess to understand this statement we have to go back a bit.  Back to our decision to visit an ancient Indian cliff dwelling called Palatki.  We had heard that this was a cool place to visit and only 12 miles out of town.  You have to have reservations to visit so we called and were told that it took 45 minutes to get there.  Huh?  12 miles…45 minutes?

Following directions we drove 5 miles west on 89A and turned north on FR525.  Turns out FR means Fire Road…and it’s barely passable in a car…as shown on the sign.  However, we had Red so we figured we could handle the 7 miles of FR525.  Well, we did….but it was so rough we could barely drive 10 miles an hour.  We were SO relieved to finally get to the site!
Animal Paintings
Once there, we went up a path to where there were lots of ancient cave paintings, dating back to the Archaic Age.  Amazing!  Animals, families, sun markings used to track the seasons…just amazing!
Then we visited the cliff dwellings.  Tucked up high into an alcove in the mountain, they were impossible to see unless you knew they were there…and tough even then.  There were one story and two story homes built into the side of the mountain using stone, mud and sticks.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of these in the Verde Valley, but this one is one of the easiest to visit.

Palatki Ruins
We came back down the steep mountain path and learned that there was a sister site, Honanki, only four miles away.  We hopped into Red and headed west.  Wonderful scenery at every turn, but unfortunately, the road kept getting worse and worse.  5 mph was the maximum we could do and we were really pushing our luck.  Finally, about three miles in, Red cried out, “I’m not a Jeep!”  We had to agree and did a three point turn to head back.  Even so, it took an hour to get back to a hard road.  Just glad we did with all parts still on Red!

We celebrated Red’s survival with dinner at a restaurant in a nearby square, Tlaquepaque.  (Try saying that three times!)  We then headed back to our resort to watch the Academy Awards.  Yay, for Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Day Lewis….and Argo!

Next day was Mona’s birthday.  This year she opted for simply a birthday, not a birthweek, nor a birthmonth.  Much easier to work with! 

Mona gets her xylophone on!
All over uptown Sedona they have big xylophones for anyone to play.  That means you're always hearing these ethereal tones as you walk around town.  Very cool!

We visited a museum that highlighted all the movies that had been made here.  Mona is a movie-geek so this was a big deal for her!  We then had lunch at a place where we got to watch a pair of golden eagles soar on thermals around the Snoopy rock formation.  Very cool!  (Snoopy is a rock formation that looks like Snoopy lying on his back on his doghouse.)

Next up was a visit to the Sedona International Film Festival.  We just stumbled into this one.  People from all over the world are here to attend this festival.  Our showing tonight was “The Announcement” which is about Magic Johnson’s AIDS story and how he’s helped lead the charge in fighting AIDS. 

Watching a film festival film is a little different from watching a movie at a local Cineplex.  First off, when you enter the theater there is a two piece ensemble playing music.  Yep, a guitar playing singer and an accompanying harpist.  Then a gentleman comes on stage to give an overview of the film and introduce the “film introducer”.  Turns out he’s the US delegate to the UN in charge of leading the war against AIDS.  He gives another overview and it’s time for the film. Just a bit different from the Avon at Decatur.

“The Annoucement” is amazing….very informative and very moving.  Huge applause when it finishes.  Then, they bring bar stools onto the stage and the panel assembles.  The panel includes AIDS activists from all over the world, including Nelson Mandella’s grandson.  They discuss the film, the AIDS crisis and the real-life impact of the disease.  We don’t do this at the Carmike in Decatur, either! 
Yes, we're going up there!

We’ve already bought tickets for another film.  Can’t wait!

Finished off Mona’s birthday at a French restaurant at Tlaquepaque….Rene’s.  Great service, great ambiance, great food and a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday!

Mountain Woman
On Wednesday, we tackled another trail, this time going up to the base of the Coffee Pot Rock.  This trail had lots of switchbacks and opportunities to slip and fall a long long way.  Luckily, no falls and we celebrated by enjoying the vistas of the Verde Valley before turning back and working our way back down.
We finished off our day with a Jeep tour.  We shared the open air Jeep with two other couples and went for a wild ride in the back country.  We actually ended up at the Honanki ruins, where we had tried to take Red just a few days before.  The return trip to town was during sunset, so we got treated to views of the rock formations “glowing” in the setting sun.

Note to diary:  Day 5 of Mona dealing with poor cell reception, E coverage if any, and extremely poor WiFi (Even Starbucks doesn’t have WiFi!)  The situation is tense at best.  I’m beginning to fear for my electronics’ safety.  I’m afraid she’s going to cannibalize them to build a huge receiving antenna.  Someone....anyone, P L E A S E send 4G!

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