Four Corners

4 cprners

 

Yes, it’s a tourist trap, but I’ve always wanted to go there.  To stand with a foot and hand in each state, unimaginable.  Anyway, it was fun, and we took lots of pictures, bought souvenirs and had a great time.

four corners me

 

4 corners 2  Chile Tiger enjoying his time at 4 corners

 

four corners tristan  Too much fun at 4 corners!

Monument Valley Utah

monumnt valley 6

 

The changing landscape never ceased to impress us as we crossed through Arizona and Utah on our way to Colorado.  The sky was clear and we could see for miles, our sight blocked occasionally by the giant red rock formations of Monument Valley.  This was a long travel stretch, devoid of trees and towns.  We stopped for the night at Gouldings Trading Post/Campground hoping to get into a campsite.  It was late, and they were the only campground for miles.  I called for reservations earlier, and the attendant told me she had one site left and asked me the size of our RV.  I told her 31 feet and she said we were too big for the site, but we could “dry camp” across the street for $10.00 less, but no water, sewer or electricity.  That seemed a high price for us to park in a parking lot, but it looked like we had no other choice.  We pulled into the campground a few hours later and I went in to ask again if they had anything available, hoping our luck had changed.  She asked me what size we had and this time I said 30 feet.  She said she had one spot left, and it would be very tight, but we were welcome to try.  Loving a challenge, as well as electricity, we decided to give it a shot.

Dan drove the RV carefully down the very narrow road, cutting between the campsites.  The campsites were on both sides of the road, and the sites were so small, the RVs were nearly on top of one another.  We found our spot and it would be tight.  One one side was a Danish couple in a 28 foot RV backed in at an angle, as were most of the campers.  On our other side, parallel parked, taking up 2 spots were a German couple.  They were travelling with the other German couple also parked parallel.  The back of the site was a fence, and across the road,  the other RVs and especially a large pickup truck, crowded right to the edge of the road.  There was little room for Dan to back in, but that was what he had to do. 

Tristan took his usual spot at the back of the RV, right on the fence line, and I guided Dan in from the front and side.  This is where it turned into a circus.  As soon as Dan started to back up, everyone came out to give advice.  The Danish guy is saying something in Dutch and pointing one way, two German men are at Dan’s window giving him directions in German, one of them pointing one way, and the other pointing the opposite way.  The Dutch guy starts talking to  me, then the Germans and all I can say is “Yes.  I see.”  Which of course I don’t.   At one point Tristan is in the back waving Dan on, I’m motioning for Dan to back up, one German guy is in Dan’s window miming him to turn his wheels the opposite way I’m saying, the other German guy is motioning for him to stop moving, while the  Dutch guy is telling him what I have no idea.   Dan is like a deer in headlights.  He keeps turning the wheels first one way then the other, but is too confused to actually step on the gas.  I step up to the window, parting the crowd.

“Dan, what’s the problem?”

“Everyone is telling me different ways to go.  I don’t know who to listen to.”

“Well, unless you speak German or Dutch, you need to listen to the person speaking English.”  That seems fairly obvious doesn’t it?

We finally get everyone cleared away, and Dan backs the RV perfectly into the spot.  Well not perfectly the first time, it took several times of going in and out, but finally the RV was in with the back bumper an inch off the fence and the front tire just barely off the road.  We did it!  Triumphantly we swaggered up to the office to pay on our fee.  On the way back, I stopped to talk to our German helper.  He didn’t speak a word of English so he fetched his wife.  She told me they were travelling in a big group of RVs touring the Western United States.  They were having a great time.  They had parked their RVs parallel  as the site was too small for them to get their 28 foot RV in.  (Score one for team BeDell and our parking prowess!).  She was very nice and we talked for a few minutes.  After spending so much time in other countries, it’s so nice to see other countries enjoying the US. 

Even though we were packed in like sardines, we really enjoyed the campground.  The campground was encircled by high canyon walls.  That night it was pitch black with a thousand stars and we were serenaded to sleep by the far off yip yips of coyotes.  Wonderful. 

The next morning, Dan and I got up early and walked around the grounds.  We were treated to a beautiful gold and red sunrise.  Hanging high above, between the canyon walls, was cloud shaped in the form of an angel on its side.  We watched as the sun came up, eventually washing the gold  to white and our angel gradually blended into the sky.  A perfect day was ahead of us.

monument valleey 2

 

monument valley 3

 

monument valley 4

 

monument valley 9

Sedona Arizona

Sedona was a big surprise for us.  Dan and I had both been to Arizona a few times for work, and had never ventured to Sedona, a shock to many die hard Sedona fans.  Now we know why.  Sedona was beautiful.  Our campground, the Rancho Sedona, where we were lucky to get the last spot, was close to town but the stream and many trees made it seem as if we were far away.  One odd thing about the campground was the 84 sites, served by one bathhouse with 2 showers.  To add to the inconvenience, the men’s shower/bathroom was being renovated, so everyone had to use the women’s according to a schedule.  The first half of the hour was for the women and the men used the second half.  To keep everyone on the right time, the campground had a huge clock hanging above the door.  It was never really a problem for us, but it did involve pre planning.  The campground had a really nice book exchange and also board games to check out.  We ended up spending 3 nights.

Our first full day in Sedona, we hit the Sedona visitor’s center.  The Visitor’s center was well stocked with brochures on the area, and a very enthusiastic volunteer, originally from Alaska, briefed us on vortex’s, hikes, shopping, eating.  Any question we asked, she had an answer for us. We walked around the downtown for a little while and were amazed at the stores.  Sedona has a lot of shopping, but it seemed as if every shop was selling the same thing. On one block alone were 4 stores selling the Red Rock T Shirts.  The exact same shirts.  Another block was selling the Life is Good line of T shirts and outdoor products.  On the whole of the main shopping district, with all those stores, there were probably only a variety of six different things, chocolate, eating, jewelry, tea, T shirts and outdoor gear.  Amazing.  We didn’t buy anything, and instead drove to the edge of town to hike the Boynton Canyon Trail.

My friend Sherry, had told us this was a great hike to a vortex center.  What is a vortex?  It’s an energy center spiraling out from the earth.  To some people, it can feel like a pull, magnetism or subtle electricity.  It’s an energy some people can feel and use to realign the energies in the human body. 

It was pretty hot as we started the hike.  We weren’t sure what to expect, but we all brought along a water bottle, and I brought 2 frozen water bottles.  We read the hike was 2 1/2 hours.  Critical mistake here.    Our previous hikes in Yosemite and Grand Canyon, the hiking times had been in ROUND TRIP.   As we soon discovered, this trip was 2 1/2 hours ONE WAY. 

The trail wasn’t difficult, though the first hour was directly in the hot sun and sand, no shade, as we skirted the edge of the luxurious 4 star Enchantment Resort.  Ah, the Enchantment resort, a real people loving resort, with signs on our trail warning us to not cut through their parking lot as it was patrolled by ARMED GUARDS.  Where are we?  The Green Zone in Iraq?  Plus, we’re walking in the desert, as in no water, while their resort is covered in thick green grass.  Unbelievable! 

We kept going, under the intense sun, until gradually the landscape changed to more and more trees, and eventually a dense forest.  Here it was much cooler, and we walked under a tall canopy of oak and pine trees.  Rounding a curve, near a dry creek bed, we startled a mule deer.  A few people passed us coming from the end of the trail, and when I asked how much farther, they told us at least another 30 minutes.  At this point I checked the kids water bottles.  Much to my surprise, they had finished their first bottle of water.  I couldn’t believe it.  Did they not know proper water conservation on a trail?  Even Dan had finished his.  At that point we had to have a lesson in how you never finish  all your water before the turnaround point on the trail.  I still had water in mine, and we had two more bottles left so it wasn’t dire, but it was a good lesson.  Just about 2 hours later, and the last bit scrambling straight up, we reached the end of the trail.  We perched on the side of the canyon walls, enjoying the view.   The view was great, the red canyon walls stretching up high above you, the hawks crying overhead, and while we didn’t feel any vortex energy, we had a very relaxing time just taking it all in.  The return trip went faster, less than two hour.  Maybe it was the vortex, maybe it was the lack of water, but we were exhausted!

We didn’t have much time to recover as we were meeting Fred and Kathy, our sailing buddies on Makai, in a few hours.  We grabbed an ice cold shower on Awesome (we really should have used the hot water heater!) a quick lunch at a Natural Foods grocery store and headed to the campground.

Kathy and Fred met us there, having driven up from Phoenix where they had been house sitting for a friend.  It was so good to see them!  The last time we saw them was nearly a year ago, in Grenada, right before we left to sail to Venezuela.  There is so much to be said about friends you make while cruising.  I think those are the friendships you keep for life.    We all had dinner together that night.  They gave us some good ideas on what to do on the drive through Utah, and picked our brain on our trip to Peru and Chile.   We had lunch together the next day before they headed back to California and we kept heading east.  They’ll head back to their boat in Curacao in November, and sail east and we’ll head back to our boat in Aruba  and head West.  We don’t know when we’ll see them again, but it was great to see them in Arizona.

Our last afternoon in Sedona we headed to the Amitabha Stupa. The  Stupa is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture, dating back 26,000 years and there are very few located in the Western Hemisphere. Stupas have been built to avert war, end famine, and promote prosperity and well-being. Their sole purpose is to bring benefit for all living beings.

The Amitabha, 36 feet tall, was located down a short trail, shrub and Juniper lined trail, near the base of beautiful red rock formations, on the edge of town.   The Stupa was built at the direction of Buddhist Masters, on sacred ground, and empowered with mystical energy and healing power.  You can pray here, meditate or walk around the stupa while saying a prayer, and feel the benefits of the Stupa in the form of healing or peace.  

With the sun starting to set, we all walked around the golden statue.  I couldn’t really tell if  I could feel the vortex there.  After about 20 minutes, we walked down to the smaller Tara Stupa, and walking around it we could all feel the energy.  I closed my eyes as I walked around the statue praying silently, and I never had to worry about going off the path as an energetic pull kept you on a circle around the statue.  It was a very calm, peaceful feeling.  By the time we finished, the sun was nearly down, and we headed Awesome back to the campground, happy from seeing our friends, a good tired feeling from our hike, and a wonderful peaceful feeling from our time at the Stupa.  Sedona will now always hold a special place in our hearts.

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