Day Twenty-seven, Monday, Memorial Day, May 28, 2007

Christopher Creek to Flagstaff, AZ via Petrified Forest National Park

My original plan had me at the Grand Canyon by now, but after factoring in Memorial Day, I felt the need for change. Petrified Forest NP was a natural choice, and a big surprise.

The surrounding terrain is primarily pine forest.


And as you would expect, there is a lot of petrified wood:

PFNF Vista 01




What I wasn’t expecting and has caused me to seriously consider upgrading my camera was the Painted Desert. The colors are much more brilliant than my little snapshot Canon can capture:

PFNF Vista 03





PFNF Vista 03





And some perceptive soul asked if I’d like one of me since I was traveling alone.


Today’s Route

Day 27 Route

Day Twenty-six, Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sedona to Christopher Creek

With what feels like the whole world out for the holiday weekend, I kicked around on some back roads for a few hours.

This is Camp Verde from the SE:

Camp Verde

Not being in any hurry, I paid my three dollars to see the Tonto Natural Bridge. It is quite large, but you need to be able to walk away from your transportation and hike down to the bottom to get a real feel for it. If you look closely in the second photo, you can see the people.

Tonto Natural Bridge 01

Tonto Natural Bridge 02

Most of today I’ve simply enjoyed the ride, counted my blessings, and lived in a state of gratefulness. I’ve really been blessed with great friends, amazing opportunities, and a generally good life.




Most campsites were full, so I took immediate advantage of the first campsite that was free. I lazed around in the hammock most of the afternoon finishing a book and napping since we didn’t go to bed until after 3 am.


Today’s Route:


Gear Report:

Rowallan Collapsible Cup
Brunton Flask

Rowallan Cup & Brunton Flask

Everyone should have a pair of these: A Rowallan collapsible steel cup and a Brunton flask. They make a camping trip! Unfortunately, the Rowallan cup has been discontinued. I received mine as a gift. Thanks MBA!



I’ve used quite a few lightweight backpacking stoves in the past, but this beats them all in my opinion. It boils two cups of water in less than two minutes, has a built in wind screen and the burner and fuel fit back in the cup for storage. And perhaps most importantly, two cups of boiling water in a package of Mountain House and…wa-lah, no clean up!


I ran across these notes from earlier in the trip:

Bugs are bigger in the mountains.

People will approach a single person on a motorcycle more often than when two are traveling together. I’m not sure why. Either there is something about a single motorcyclist that invites conversation, or maybe having “Robert De Niro” along on the early part of the trip was just too intimidating.

When all you’ve seen hit the windshield are bees and yellowjackets, a bug flying up your sleeve at 40 MPH will increase your heart rate.

No matter how hard you try, or how clear it appears to you, you just can’t predict where a wild animal is going to cross the road.

Tips for spring travel at high altitude:

• When the sign says “Watch for Falling Rocks,” assume they are already in the road. When there is no sign, assume that a rock has knocked it down.

• When the sign says “Wildlife in the Road,” assume that it means more than “they occasionally cross said road.” They stand in it, lay down in it, and congregate in the road. When there is no sign, assume that some bison pushed it over while scratching.

• When the sign says “Rough Road Ahead,” assume that there are potholes the size of Rhode Island, washed out sections that have been replaced with gravel the size of golfballs, and miles of groves from ripping off the top layer of asphalt. When there is no sign, just assume it’s the normal rough road.

• When you see a sign that says “Motorcycles use Extreme Caution,” just turn around and go back.

Days 24 & 25, Friday & Saturday, May 25 & 26, 2007


The property my friends have in Sedona, or more properly Oak Creek, has an amazing view. Here is the patio view mid-day and again in the evening.

View from the back deck

View from the back deck at evening

And the patio

The Patio

Jeff and Darlene

Jeff and Darlene

own this incredible vacation home with Mark and Michelle.

Mark and Michelle

Either couple could give lessons in hospitality and generosity. Together they are almost overwhelming. We had a grand two days exploring Sedona and Oak Creek, searching out new restaurants, smoking cigars, laughing, watching movies, enjoying the view from the patio, and perhaps most importantly engaging in conversations that were encouraging and even visionary.

Other miscellaneous photos from the two days:


This is rumored to be Nick Cage’s home in Sedona:

Nick's House?

It is right across the road from the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross

This sculpture, “DEFIANCE” by Lloyd Pimay was outside of Visions Fine Art gallery:


And for the record, I did not eat both of those lobster tails. One of them was Darlene’s!

Surf & Turf!

I left feeling rather well fed — body, soul, and spirit. Thanks guys for a memorable Memorial Day weekend! Now to balance all the calories I’ve taken in it’s back to a diet of beef jerky, trail mix, and Mountain House dinners…