Dead Horse Ranch State Park – Cottonwood, AZ
Ok, before I talk about our stay in the Sedona area, I’m going to talk about my right foot. Don’t worry, there will be no pictures or colorful descriptions. Instead, I’ll insert pictures of lovely pink, deep red, and purple rocks; lovely colors for landscape, less so for feet. Just know that I have Googled everything, my eyes cannot unsee what they have seen, and the term “zombie feet” makes sense to me now. You know how I was so brave and strong and had new trekking poles and new shoes and did that Grand Canyon hike like a person who hikes? Well I want to make it very clear, I felt no ill effects during or immediately after that hike. The only thing I felt was maybe a little rubbing under the pinky toe of my right foot that I figured was a pebble. The next day I did not notice anything either, except yeah, maybe I got a teeny tiny blister near my pinky toe. Not a big deal. It wasn’t until after we left Page, AZ that things started getting alarming. I for sure developed two enormous blisters on the bottom and outside of that foot, but then this dark area started growing on the top of my foot, above the outside, and that did not make any sense.
Now I’m going to tell you about “Spider Bro.” Spider Bro appeared at night when we were both doing pre-sleepy time iPhone things. Lights were out except the glow from our phones and Richard suddenly started moving around frantically, making the oddest sounds I think I’ve ever heard him make. It turns out a large spider ran across his iPhone screen in the dark. You can imagine. All the lights went on and all the bedding got thrown back and urgently examined. No sign of Spider Bro. That’s the worst, isn’t it? We had no choice but to ultimately try to go to sleep knowing we’d be sleeping with Spider Bro.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chapel of the Holy Cross
Cut to three days after the Grand Canyon hike and my right foot is now causing me to wonder what life would be like with a prosthetic. I tried getting in to see a podiatrist in the Sedona area, but having only three days to do this, and with a holiday weekend coming up, I knew that was far fetched. I was therefore left to my own devices, which primarily means Googling symptoms and trying to determine when it might be time to head for an urgent care (I was always well aware of how far the nearest one was and had directions pre-Googled). We went to a couple of pharmacies and basically said, “Give my every kind of bandage you have.” Richard is now a rockstar at field dressings. I also have a new pair of Tevas and a bunch of liner socks.
At this point, you should be really worried. Believe me, I was. But mostly because the upper foot injury made no sense. It has now been just over a week from the onset of the really alarming colors and I can allay your fears by saying it’s getting better. Like I may survive this, y’all. I still don’t know if it was the combination of the Grand Canyon hike for someone who does not normally do that, plus new shoes, leading to an abrasion bruise that took a while to color. Or it was Spider Bro’s poisonous little fangs, causing deep tissue damage that my body has finally managed to fight off (I Googled those pictures too). I would actually prefer it to be Spider Bro because I was really proud of how well I did with that hike and I do not want to believe that this was the cost. I have been off this foot basically for seven days, except for driving. I have elevated it, bandaged and Neosporined it, and kept out of closed shoes entirely. My right foot is normally super wide, so it is always a challenge finding shoes that fit. Plus I wear orthotics for arch support. I was very happy with my new shoes. So this is all a big bummer, but as I said, I think I might live to shoe shop another day.
Highway 89A – Oak Creek Canyon – Gorgeous! (Slide Rock SP was closed too)
I led with this story so that when I tell you about how the Coconino Forest closed completely just before our arrival, due to wildfire concerns, you will believe me when I say this came as a welcome relief. Sure, we missed out on hiking some of the most beautiful trails in the country, whose renowned spiritual energy and multiple vortices attract travelers from all over the world. But for me it meant I got to keep off my feet without regret or second guessing. Richard got to ride every day and I got to sag him, listening to music in the air conditioned car the whole time. I got excellent advice from friends (thanks Lynne!) on which roads to see and they did not disappoint. We did so many of the scenic drives this way that there were basically no “Pink Jeep” tours left that would take me anywhere I hadn’t been. One day we need to come back when the forest is open and do one of those as an off roading adventure. Sadly, those were all as closed as the forest.
Example of architecture not blending in with surroundings – Red Rock Loop Road
As far as Sedona goes, I had no idea. It was like a more spread out version of Zion, with a lot of people living in it. Crazy beautiful with some equally crazy architecture, and housing prices that approach the boring areas of California. Cottonwood is a cute town with plenty of hip restaurants to keep us busy. Dead Horse Ranch State Park ended up being a nice home base. It is a drive from Sedona, but I found that to be calming. There are sure a lot of people in the big city, with very few RV friendly places. The state park was spread out and quiet. When the weather turned stormy, it was cool to watch the rain dump over the desert, and we were never in a position to worry about flash floods.
Richard riding between a Pink Jeep and a pink flamingo on Red Rock Loop Road
Oh, that reminds me. On our drive down, we hit an intense rain dump going through Flagstaff. Like the heavens opened up and let loose right on Highway 17. That was way way too much for me and I had to pull off at the first exit. We sat in some county park for a while and then found out there was a Walmart about three miles away. I don’t know why Walmart parking lots are calming when there is stress, but they are for me. We had a soft pretzel inside and waited out the worst. It had already been a stressful day of driving for me, so taking a break was important.
Silly touristy place in Cameron
Earlier in the day, just before we came to a tourist trap place in Cameron, AZ, a police car came screaming down the highway with lights flashing and siren blaring. We happened to be stuck at a one lane construction stop a the time. Everyone sort of tried to move over to the side, but there was one lane open, cars coming through in the opposite direction, and the rest of us skooched as far over as we could get onto the shoulder. I saw the police car in my towing mirrors, weaving through cones, and oncoming cars, and people stopped behind me. I swear, he must have come within inches of rear ending Dory2 and all I could do was watch. That triggered some PTSD right there. So when the rain came later on, my brain was like, “Yeah, I’m out.”
Hippie Emporium in Cottonwood – “Don’t worry, be hippie.”
Overall, our four day stay in Cottonwood was recuperative. It was less hot than we expected and more crowded in Sedona than I pictured. We got in some nice drives, ate out at some great places, and took in the cool hippie energy. Some day I’d like to go find all the vortexes. I bet I’ll have new shoes then.
Total miles: 210.7, 18.5 mpg. Site 94. Electric and water hookups. Good dump. Good LTE cell service for both. Sites nicely spaced apart. Nice free unlimited hot water showers (we each partook given this was a long stay for us). Plenty of solar. Note to future self: remember not to be tempted to take 89A south from Flagstaff as a way to avoid Highway 17 if you’re towing. Just suck it up and do 17. Unless it’s raining. Then just stop.