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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, March 18, 2012

SEDONA....  We were told by our friends,  Yuval & Miri Rotem (Israeli Ambassador to Australia) to visit this place, as it is so beautiful.  We are so glad we did.    In the last blog, I described some of the scenery, it is a photographers delight.  We were overawed at the massive red rocks that surrounds this town.   Our little camera doesn't do it justice. We stayedhere for nearly a week, visiting the surrounding attractions. This is where it is great to have a 4WD. 

 Montezuma Castle was built by southern Singua farmers in the 1100s &  stands in a cliff recess 100 feet above the valley & the Montezuma Well,  which looks like a lake, but is a limestone sink hole, formed long ago by the collapse of an immense underground cavern.  We then  went to the Tuzigoot  monument,  an ancient village also built by the Sinagua people.  As we headed towards Jerome, I noticed Boofie was missing.  I searched the car, but to our dismay, shock & great sadness ....  NO Boofie.  We did a Uturn and went 5 miles back to the visitors centre, and there he was!! ...  sitting on the counter, waiting patiently like 'the dog on the tucker box' (The Aussies will know what I mean).  The ranger, Jaclyn, had found him & so I explained about this little critter.   She asked if she could be included in our blog, so hi Jaclyn, thank you for rescuing our little dog, hope you enjoy the blog. We arrived in Jerome, a quaint town that sits above what was the largest copper mine in Arizona. Once a mining camp between the late-1880s and early1950s, it produced  3 million pounds (1.4 million Kilos) of copper per month.   Today the mines are no longer operational,  and Jerome is known as the largest ghost town in America.  Apparently from its external appearances it hasn't changed much in nearly 100 years and although it is called a ghost town, it is still thriving and a busy tourist attraction.  We went for a ride on a V8 Trike,(which would be totally illegal in Australia) up the mountain to a lookout area, then back again.  It was quite cold, but a great view. We also visited a  'Kaleidoscope shop', the largest in the world.  We saw a parade down the main street of Sedona, visited some magnificent galleries, and walked along the street, looking in the unique shops & enjoying cappuccinos.    

 Mike loved doing some 4WD along a dirt road, but not quite challenging enough. He is hoping he will get some of that soon.We hiked,  had  lunch by a river,  and one afternoon,  took our chairs,computers, Bibles and coffee, found a quiet spot with a beautiful outlook,and caught up on some work etc. After an awesome week in Sedona, we drove back to Flagstaff, where we had the RV checked out for the failed dash lights and gauges,  the problem was a corroded small spade terminal, concealed inside a connection box at the back of the RV.  It took quite a while to find this problem, as when there is an electrical problem like that, it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.So all is good now, we have gauges again. Including a fuel gauge !!!!!!!  

 GRAND CANYON As we travelled to the Grand Canyon, a light sprinkling of snow made our trip interesting.   We stayed in Trailer Village RV park close to the South Rim. A Nice place with Deer and Elk coming in at Dusk right by the RV!! The days here were cool & sunny, clear blue sky,  and at night it was a cold 32F (0 degrees C),  or sometimes lower.  One night the water in the outside hose actually froze.  Our heater in the RV works a treat, so it is nice & cozy.Most days we put our bikes on the front of the tourist bus, and would go to the furtherest point we could, then ride back to our RV, along the rim ofthe Canyon, stopping at lookouts  on the way.     
We decided to do this, after the first day when we rode to the visitors centre, which was up hill,and I thought I was going to faint when I got there.  So unfit!!  It was also the higher altitude that made it difficult, ( the canyon rim sits at 7000 feet)  so the bus was a good idea,that is my excuse, and I am sticking to it!!  
Mike was desperate to try and get out to an overhanging rock, or stand out on a scary section, but no way!  Who is he like?  I think it must be his Mum, or his brother Barry!!!  Ha!   We did sit with legs dangling over the edge,1000 ft drop at least, & just enjoyed the magnificent view, it almost looks like a painting.  Just love this place.  As we rode along the path, we came across 3 huge elk, so Mike just kept going, and they were soon scared off, when they saw him heading towards them!  Who wouldn't be??? We went out to watch the sunset, and as the sun sunk lower behind us, the sky turned from blue, to golden orange & pink, the clouds perfectly in place,and so it brought out these gorgeous colors of the canyon, and a peacefulness pervaded us as we looked out at this enormous chasm before us, &  could not help but be overwhelmed and amazed at the wonderful creation of God.   As the light started to fade, we made our way back to the van.   We rugged up later in the evening, and went back to the rim, to watch a full moon, as it came up over the canyon.  It was a perfect clear night so we had a good view of the huge orange orb, as it ascended into the black sky.   We didn't stayout too long,  it was just too cold.  
Well Michael just had to do it.........(Sorry Mum S, I tried!!!)    He went out onto a rock hanging over the edge!  He had to first walk on a fairly narrow ridge, then climb up on to a protruding ledge, then walk out and stand while I took photos.  There was a drop of at least 2000ft (600 metres) and it looked as if it was ready to break off  into the canyon.   No panic attack here!   My heart was in my mouth,   (& though he doesn't like to admit it, he was a bit scared too). He definitely wouldn't have done it had it been windy! We went for a hike down into the canyon, about 3 miles (5kms)  round trip.We were up at 5.30am, and on our bikes by 6am, so we could see the sunrise.The temperature outside was 40F ( 5 degrees C).    Off we went in the dark &put our bikes on the front of the bus.   After locking the bikes to a tree,we commenced walking down the Kabaib trail.   We had our water, protein bars, fruit & were all set.  It was so nice seeing the sun come up and the glow on the canyon walls.    Not many people were awake at that time of the day, so we almost had the trail to ourselves.  It is fairly steep, downhill all the way.  If we had wanted to walk to the Colorado River & back, it is about 14 miles (22kms), round trip, & we would have to stay overnight.  I actually wanted to run all the way, being the fit specimen I am, but felt I had to stay with Michael!!  
We took it easy,  for the first part there was some  ice on the trail, and I had visions of slipping over the edge into the abyss!!    By the three quarter mark, my knees were quite sore, with the continual downhill descent.We kept going, as we wanted to get to a place called Cedar Ridge. At one point it became so painful, I didn't think I could go on, & there were some tears....but Mike encouraged me to keep going, again he has this knack of turning a negative into a positive ... usually even works with me!!  and I really didn't want to give up, after coming this far.  I knew the damage was done,and even if I stopped now, I was going to suffer for the next few days!! I went real slow, each step becoming like a piercing needle in my knees.  I found it was actually better to walk backwards, but thought people wouldn't know if I was coming or going!!  Well we finally got there, YAY!  We stayed for about an hour, just taking photos, and enjoying the scenery .  It was just so beautiful.   I knew the inevitable had to happen, and I kept looking at the top of the canyon, not wanting to think about the uphill climb.  Eventually we started the walk back, taking our time, and stopping every now and then.  It was actually easier going uphill, even though tiring, it was slightly better on the knees. The trail was quite busy with people coming down, these  people obviously got up at a decent hour!! Once again, by the three quarter mark, my knees were really starting to be painful, but nowhere nearly as bad as going downhill.  Once we were in sight of the end of the trail, I was like a horse heading home, it was so nice to finally be back.  But then we had our bikes to ride,  another  1.7 miles (3 kms,)  back to the RV park.   We pedalled along the rim, at this stage I just wanted to get back and have a hot shower.  Well we finally made it back, and I was in tears, as the last bit, everytime I pedalled, it was like a burning pain through both knees, so annoying. We arrived back at 11am.  For the next few days, our legs felt quite sore, especially our calves. BUT WE DID IT.... AND WE SURVIVED!!! We actually walked this same track about 21 years ago with my dad, mum and our 3 children.  Everywhere up the top there are signs saying to take plenty of water.  When we walked down all those years ago, not only was it very hot, but we went down with a mini pkt of fruit tingles each, and about 1 bottle of water between 7 of us.  Going down was ok, but coming back was in the heat of the day, and we thought mum was going to have a heart attack.Someone even gave us  some water because they could see mum was in trouble.Crazy hey!!
21 years later at least we were better prepared.................But not physically!!!
Anyway we really enjoyed our stay here, and as we packed up and prepared the RV to leave, we were looking forward to our next experience.........God Willing.

Anyway thats all, Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and for your comments, keep safe and well,  God bless....Miss you all.  

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