Besides catching up with each other, Sandy, the ever excellent hostess, did all the driving and we made the trek to Sedona. Now, I never expected to encounter extreme weather changes. All I had were jeans and shorts in my luggage. Alas, a misguided decision. See, Phoenix may feel like an oven, but Sedona has an elevation of at least 3,000 feet--depending where you pull over for a photo op. Rain was coming down upon our arrival. We took a scenic drive through uptown Sedona and then along Oak Canyon Creek. We stopped at a canyon edge where Native American vendors were wrapping up their wares amid all these snow-covered pines. Soon, tiny snowflakes graced my coat, hair, eyelashes and other places that Maria Von Trapp would appreciate. But we didn't stay long because it was very, very cold. Yet, the next day, we embarked on a jeep tour at 11 a.m. in quite sunny weather. We took the Broken Arrow tour. Sandy and I shared a pink jeep (like any other car color would've been as cool)with six others--two women from Southern Cal, a couple from Australia and some other couple in their forties from somewhere in the U.S. The man in the Australian duo kept uttering wise proverbs like "The 7Ps: Prior Preparation and Planning Prevent Piss-Poor Performance" and "You're only as old as the woman you feel." Those whacky Australians.
David, our chipper guide, steered the 4x4 over very rough terrain and pointed out famous red rock phenomena such as the Twin Nuns, Snoopy Rock (it really does resemble him lying on his dog house), Mother and Child. It was a very bumpy ride. I felt quite tenderized by the end, but it was worth taking in all the landscape. Afterward, we chowed down on cactus fries and buffalo sandwiches at the Cowboy Club, where all the wait staff wear gun holsters. I definitely got a good taste of the Southwest. Afterwards, we went to the tourist office and the pop cultural nerd in me asked an elderly lady behind the counter where Lucille Ball's former home was. And she said "We don't keep track of that stuff. The movie stars and celebrities want their privacy respected." I had to fight so hard not to blurt out "Um, but she's dead." Anyone who has seen those "I Love Lucy" episodes where they are in Hollywood know that Lucy was a big advocate of celebrity house hunting. Anyway, we went on to hike on the Bell Rock trail, where I stuck to my talent of getting lost, we high-tailed it back to Phoenix.
The next day, I accompanied Sandy to Tucson to check out the University of Arizona. We strolled down 4th Ave, which is a compact-sized, slightly less bohemian version of Berkeley's Telegraph. The only store of interest was Antigone Bookstore where the target audience is lesbians. If I wasn't sure before, the life-size Xena cut-out confirmed it.
Overall, excellent mini-break. In between the sightseeing, we stayed in and I got to watch "The Best of Triumph" and "Napoleon Dynamite" (it's now on my must-own list). I will now go look at my pics and try to figure out what rock is what. I swear it's as bad as looking for constellations!