2016 Feb 15 – Day 36 – California and Beyond – Montezuma’s Castle, Montezuma’s Well, Oak Creek Canyon

Day 36 – February 15 – Sedona to Flagstaff, AZ

We stayed at the Best Western Inn at Sedona last night.  It is a pretty swish place with expensive rooms.  We are Diamond members of Best Western and had accumulated enough points that we could book a nice room there for free.  The view from the terrace connected to the rooms on the east side was pretty nice.IMG_0622 IMG_0637 IMG_0645 IMG_0625Sedona’s streets were very busy when we drove in last night and we had also sort of forgotten it was Valentine’s Day.  We decided the chances of finding a restaurant with a free table where we could have dinner was quite slim so we walked down to a nearby Whole Foods and bought some dinner which we took back to our room and ate on our terrace.  (I had a big cream puff for desert and John had a 3″ square of German Chocolate Cake.  We saved the 3″ square of Chocolate Cheesecake for today’s lunch!)

We began our morning going to computer places to find a new power cord for my laptop.  After two failures we found a generic power cord with 6 interchangeable heads at Staples.  Cost US $85 = Cdn $120!  Ouch.  But I needed one so what can a person do?

As I mentioned at the end of my last blog John’s camera crashed the same day I lost my power cord.  Personally I think it was a little too convenient.  He had been pricing out the new Canon Rebel T6i before we left home and now his T3i dies???  But, to be fair, no matter what he tried it would not come on.  He still hasn’t been able to get the photos from the day before yesterday off his card and onto his computer.  The camera light would come on when you took the card OUT but no data would show and the camera wouldn’t work.  Put the card in and everything goes dark.  So….

We asked in the stores in Sedona where we may be able to find a new Canon DSLR camera.  No where in town that anyone knew. They suggested we go to Cottonwood 19 miles back down the road. We had driven through it yesterday.  We turned around and drove to Cottonwood.  No one sells DSLR cameras in Cottonwood.  I was stunned.  Both Sedona and Cottonwood are very popular tourist places with magnificent scenery.  Why wouldn’t someone stock good cameras?  The closest  possible place, we were told, may be Flagstaff.  Well, we were spending the night in Flagstaff so John resigned himself to using his phone camera for the day.

With our morning pretty much shot we set off for the day’s sights.  From Cottonwood we went south and joined Highway 17 North for a few miles before turning off at Montezuma’s Castle National Monument.  I have seen photos of this place in magazines over the years and wanted to visit.


Loved these big, stark white trees.IMG_0665 IMG_0666 IMG_0672 IMG_0673

IMG_0674 IMG_0675 IMG_0685 IMG_0686

IMG_0689 (2) IMG_0690 (2) IMG_0691 (2) IMG_0697 (2) IMG_0698 (2) IMG_0699 (2) IMG_0700 (2) IMG_0703 (2) IMG_0705 (2) IMG_0715 (2) IMG_0716 (2) IMG_0717 (2)

IMG_0721 (2) IMG_0730 (2) IMG_0729 (2) IMG_0726 (2) IMG_0727 (2)

IMG_0728 (2) IMG_0739Cool camo trees                               Swallow nests on the rock overhang



This building would have been bigger than the ‘Castle’

IMG_0750 IMG_0753 IMG_0754 You can see the cliff dwelling on the right through the middle of the two trees in the left photo.

IMG_0756 IMG_0757 IMG_0758 IMG_0759 IMG_0769 IMG_0770 IMG_0772

IMG_0780 IMG_0781 IMG_0782 IMG_0785 IMG_0787 IMG_0788 IMG_0789 IMG_0790 IMG_0796Our next stop was only four or five miles further along the road.  Montezuma’s Well.

IMG_0803 IMG_0804 IMG_0806 IMG_0807 IMG_0808 IMG_0810 IMG_0811Darn trees made shadows on the information board.  Nervy things.IMG_0812 IMG_0835 IMG_0838 IMG_0839 IMG_0840 IMG_0844IMG_0845IMG_0855As we were driving into the Well I noticed a sign designating a   Pit house so on our way back to the highway we pulled in to see. IMG_0880 IMG_0881 IMG_0882 IMG_0883 IMG_0884 IMG_0886 IMG_0887We drove back up to Sedona on Highway 179, which is the Red Rock Scenic Byway, so we could drive through Oak Creek Canyon on our way to Flagstaff. IMG_0895 IMG_0898 IMG_0899 IMG_0904 IMG_0908 IMG_0910 IMG_0914

Bell RockIMG_0917





Court-house RockIMG_0931We were chatting to some ladies at Montezuma’s Castle and they told us to go see the church built into the cliff in Sedona.  It wasn’t hard to find.  There were directional signs along the highway and they had parking attendants at two different levels of parking.  The Sedona Trolley makes a regular stop at the Church of the Holy Cross as well.  Considering the concrete pathways circling the cliff and the cost of constructing such an unusual building in such an out-of-the way location I was very surprised at how small it was inside.  The benches wouldn’t have held much more than 100 people.  Pretty impressive engineering and a nice view as well.

IMG_0932 IMG_0937 IMG_0942IMG_0947IMG_0949The big house belongs to a doctor from Scottsdale who lives in Mesa.  This is his get-away place.  He comes up to Sedona for a couple of days a month.  His wife comes a little more often.  There is a full-time gardener and a full-time housekeeper. We were told it cost $25 Million.  The doctor holds several patents for Lasik eye surgery so that is where he made all the money.IMG_0938 IMG_0951 IMG_0952 IMG_0953 IMG_0954We got through Sedona without encountering quite as much traffic as we did last night and headed north for Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon, another high mountain pass. With snow. Well, not much snow, but there was snow.

IMG_0957 IMG_0958 Sedona and Cottonwood have large artist populations and gallerys.IMG_0964 IMG_0971 IMG_0981 IMG_0982 IMG_0983 IMG_0993 IMG_0995 IMG_1000IMG_1002Sedona is less than 64 miles from Flagstaff and it took us all day to make our way there.  Of course the shopping and detours didn’t help. But it was a good day for those things to happen as we didn’t have a lot of things to see nor any long distances to travel.

We got into Flagstaff about 4:30 and we set Stella (our GPS) to find the Best Buy store where we had been told there was a good chance we could find a new camera for John.  Surprise, surprise.  They had a Revel T6i!  But I also got a new zoom lens as mine has not been focusing well – probably a result of the fall it took on a rocky path a year or so ago.  So, between my power cord and his camera  and my new zoom it was an expensive day even with last night’s free hotel room.

The manager in Best Buy told us that all of the fixtures holding the Canon and Nikon SLR cameras were new.  He had to fight his bosses to let him stock higher end cameras.  He, too, felt there would be a demand for them in such a scenic area.  He wanted to get rid of all the $80 point and shoot cameras (“They are phone cameras,” he said.) and have the better ones in his store.  We are certainly glad he had some in stock.  I think.











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