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Sedona: A few observations from trip last week

Sedona: A few observations from trip last week

Old May 1st, 2008, 07:54 AM
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emd
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Sedona: A few observations from trip last week

I visit Sedona 1-2 times a year to hike. I was there last week for 4 days and wanted to comment on a couple of things and the road construction.

1) The road construction on hwy 179 appears to be complete. You'll encounter several roundabouts between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona. It appeared to me that these were built to help people who are trying to get out of their neighborhoods and turning onto 179, esp. if they are trying to turn towards Sedona, as now they will turn into a traffic circle instead of having to wait for lines of cars to let them in. It also slows cars down who would otherwise be speeding on 179. I spoke to several locals while there and they do not seem to think the roundabouts have much impact on traffic, but those were locals in Sedona, not the Village of Oak Creek and people living in those areas off to the sides of 179.

2) The traffic at the Y intersection of hwy 89A and 179 was AWFUL on Fri. and Sat. Friday afternoon I made the horrible mistake of taking my friend from West Sedona to the Chapel of the Holy Cross a few miles out off of 179. We sat in one hr. of snail pace bumper to bumper traffic on 179 to get back to the Y and 89A.

There was construction going on in front of Tlaquepaque, new water lines going in. There was no one directing traffic either day, except one hwy worker who stood there both days in front of the work site holding a "SLOW" sign (we got a laugh out of that, there was no other way to do it but SLOW, traffic was hardly moving).

The traffic was also extremely backed up coming down 89A from Oak Creek Canyon into Sedona. Traffic was backed up Friday afternoon there for about 2 miles on 89A approaching uptown.

In retrospect, we should have hiked in West Sedona that day and stayed completely away from the Y and 179.

PLease check the site below for road construction info as is proceeds. The site is updated weekly:
http://www.scenic179.com/

2) You now need a reservation to visit the Palatki ruins in west Sedona out off Dry Creek Rd./Boynton Pass Rd. I learned this by accident, as I bought the AZ Highway magazine when I arrived in Phoenix. An article in there had a little box on visiting Palatki and mentioned the need for reservations.

You must call (928) 282-3854 between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (7 days a wk.) and ask for a reservation. I called Sat. a.m. at 9:30 and asked to come at 11 a.m. They could not accommodate us as they had a girl scout troup there then, but we did get in later in the day.

The nice thing is that there were only a handful of people there w/us. At both the ruins site and the rock art trail we had full attn. of the volunteer guides, and it was a much better experience than I have had there in the past before the reservation system began.

Also, we were able to get into the area that has the rock "cave" that provided a temporary home to Charles Willard who settled the Palatki site, grew 2000 trees in an orchard at the site, and later became the founder of Clarkdale. On previous visits, we had not been able to access that area of the site.

3) We stayed at Sky Ranch Lodge. In all my trips to Sedona over the years, this is the 1st time I've stayed there. We booked a double queen rm w/rim views several months prior to the trip. Really loved it, great deck overlooking coffeepot rock where we ate breakfast and watched the birds diving and gliding around, saw AZ quail running around, and watched the sunsets. Loved having the fridge and microwave- we stored and ate heated leftovers a few nights. Loved walking across the st. to the airport restaurant for breakfast outdoors on their patio, watching the planes land and take off. Loved the tile accents in the very large rm. Felt very at home here.

4) Had amazing scope of wildflowers on all the hikes on this trip. Much better than in some previous years. April is a wonderful month in Sedona.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 11:49 AM
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Hi emd! Sounds like a great trip and super relaxing despite the traffic issues. Thanks for the report on the Sky Ranch Lodge, which sounds very nice. Wondered if the deck was private or shared?

Thanks for the report. I'm sure others will find it very helpful, too.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 06:18 AM
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Hi Ellen. The deck was one long continuous deck for 4 rooms, but it had privacy dividers between each room, and unless you went out of your way to peek around the divider you can not see your neighbors.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:21 PM
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I forgot something. A good tip.

Before renting a car in Phoenix at the airport this time, I searched all the rent car prices, including Avis, Alamo, Hertz, Fox, Payless, Budet and Dollar. I did this three months before out trip.

Turns out that Budget had a "lock in low and go" rate at Phoenix airport for $12.41 per day for an intermediate size car, and it could end up being a larger car if no intermediates are available- it is an intermediate or larger guaranteed. I booked that, and when I got there I got a really nice PT Crusier, w/power windows, locks, and XM Radio (COOL!), w/less than 2k miles on the car, for the $12.41 per day rate. Total for 4 days w/tax and all airport fees, etc. was $80. Definitely the best deal I have ever gotten at Phoenix airport.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:22 PM
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Oh, I'm sorry - it was DOLLAR RENT CAR that we ended up renting thru, not Budget!!
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:37 PM
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Thanks so much for all this info.. I have also been going to Sedona for the past 5 years for my spring break (I'm a teacher). This year it was so early that I took a year off and now I guess I'm glad I did! I'm going to save your info. for next year, though. Hope they have the traffic problems cleared up by then.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 11:42 AM
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Glad to be of help. The friend who went w/me is also a teacher (3rd grade). She got some cool books for her students on American Indian life, the Sinagauas (who inhabited Palatki- named Sinagua because that means "without water" and it is beleived they left the site due to a drought) and corn in the bookstore area at Palatki ruins.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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Hi
sorry to hijack but you guys sounds as if you know Sedona and we are planning a visit in July. I know it will be hot, we have no choice, family visiting from England.
We spend July 28/29/30 at Grand Canyon (have reservations at Maswik Lodge) and then would like to see Sedona on the way back to Santa Barbara.
We are 4 adults and 4 kids (15,15,11,9). All kids are good walkers and outdoorsy types.
I like the sound of the Sky Ranch Lodge. Is there a pool? (Crucial!)
Can anyone suggest if we need one or two nights and a sensible itinerary? I'm feeling overwhelmed by guide books!
Loved the sound of the caves. Thanks for the booking number.
Many thanks in advance.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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ps. Sorry have just seen the Lodge has a pool, should have looked first.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 10:09 AM
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The kids will like Sedona, even though it will be hot. I'd do 2 nights there. Aside from the pool at the hotel, be sure to take them to Slide Rock State Park for swimming (take a little cooler, you can buy them at Basha's or Safeway grovcery store or Walgreens in Sedona, and something to lay on the ground to sit on), and to Grasshopper point for a great swimming hole also.

And if you want to hike, you can do a hke in Oak Creek Cayon that will be much cooler than the hikes in the red rocks in July. West Fork trail follows Oak Creek for a few miles, in a beautiful canyon- you'll hop over the creek a few times and can get as wet as you want or don't want. Your kids would like that I think. Also, they can fish the Rainbow Trout Farm, and play in the creek right there also, although we have never done that- we have bought travel rods in Sedona and fished in the creek up by Junipine resort.

See:

SLIDE ROCK:
http://tinyurl.com/cm8qk

GRASSHOPPER POINT:
http://tinyurl.com/3wf7up


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Old May 5th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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West Fork of Oak Creek trail: there are pictures if you click at the bottom.
Note that you have to purchase a red rock one day pass to park at the trailheads in Sedona.

http://tinyurl.com/6uxco
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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:19 PM
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thanks so much emd. I am really grateful and will follow your suggestions.
The trail looks fabulous and the swimming places are a great suggestion (and bribe for walking in 90F!)
Will report back in August!
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Old May 20th, 2008, 06:32 PM
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Hi emd. Good timing on the report for me, we are going to Sedona for a family wedding this weekend, Memorial Day weekend. We are also staying at Sky Ranch. I am not familiar with the hotel or the area, so I have a few questions if you don't mind:

1. Were there plenty of chairs on the deck for enjoying the views? Or should we bring our own beach chairs?

2. How was the bedding? Thinking about taking my own down pillow and fan. What do you think?

3. We will be going to a wedding on Sunday at the Sedona Creative Life Center on Schnebly Hill Road. Will we be going through that Y traffic problem you were talking about? If yes, is there a way we can go and avoid this?

4. Where did you guys go and eat dinners? Any restaurants you can recommend that won't break the bank? We'll have two teens with us.

Any other tips about the town, please pass along. Thanks.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 07:00 PM
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For a very reasonably priced and good Mexican dinner, try the Barking Frog. The margaritas were great. My husband and I each had a dish that had a roasted tomato sauce on it and we both thought it was delicious. It's a few miles west of the Y.

Breakfast at The Coffee Pot was particularly good - especially great omelets.

I think your hotel is west of the Y, too.

Sorry, I don't know the answer to your other question.
 
Old May 21st, 2008, 03:06 PM
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ttt for emd
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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:31 PM
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Heavens: There were two resin chairs on the patio and a little side table. If there are more than 2 of you in the rm, you'd need to bring extra chairs.

Bedding was fine for us. Not the westin heavenly beds, but not hard or uncomfortable. I like a firm bed, and these were not firm, btu they were no saggy or real soft either.

Pillows were ok, but if you liek down, bring yours. And yes, if I was there in late May, I'd bring a little fan. It was cool for us in late April, but it starts to get warmer now, and if your like me, I always like the air movement and a little white noise.

We ate at Pizza Piccazo the first night; nice but not too pricey, Italian, pizza, salads, good service, nice atmosphere. As you come out to hwy 89A from Sky Ranch, turn right and you'll see Pizza Pic. on the left side of 89A, about a mile down (maybe less). This place is a sure bet, it is always good, and has a nice bar area and good wine and drinks too. If you have leftovers, the rim rooms at Sky Ranch have a nice size fridge.

I like Oaxaca in uptown Sedona for good mexican food and pretty big portions, very reasonable prices. And very good margaritas. If you sit upstairs there are tables w/very nice views of the red rocks. We had lots of leftovers from that dinner and had them the next day for lunch whiel hiking (I has them give us extra flour tortillas w/our fajita leftovers and we made hiking tacos for the next day).

If you like Thai, Thai Spices, also out 89A, is good and inexpensive. Good take-out there also if you want to just crash at the hotel. The restaurants will be very crowded this holiday weekend.

If you are at Tlaquepaque shopping, Oak Creek Brewery restaurant is good.

Yes, you'll hit traffic at the Y to get to Schnelby Hill Rd. from the hotel. But check that website I mentioend above for the traffic updates. maybe the work in front of Tlaqupaque re the water lines is doen now if you are lucky. But I know that the next thing they were getting ready to do was to make 89A one lane each way for a portion. CHECK THAT WEBSITE.

Have fun!


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Old May 21st, 2008, 09:33 PM
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Thanks so much for posting, emd. You have been a great help. The info on the pizza place is very helpful. And it is so close to the hotel.

Now I am kicking myself for not getting a kitchenette in the room. Oh well. Maybe someone in the group will have one.

We are excited to see this area. Should be a lovely trip. I am concerned about the crowds. Hope it isn't too crazy...

If you get back here tomorrow, besides the pizza place and the airport restaurant, are there any other businesses (food stores, restaurants) convenient and close to the hotel?

Thanks again. I'll post a trip report.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 08:02 AM
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Heavens, there are a host of places on 89A. Go out airport road from the hotel, turn left on 89A. There are many places on both sides. Judi's (family style, local restaurant), etc, LOTS of places. Drive into the small shopping centers too, there are aplces to eat in those as well as free-standing restauratns on 89A west of the hotel. You can avoid the Y intersection traffic that way.

Bashas grocery store is the best IMO, but there is also a Safeway. Both are to the left on 89A from the hotel.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 11:49 AM
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Great info here. Thanks emd...
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Old May 26th, 2008, 06:35 PM
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Well, we're back. Had a fabulous time. LOVED the hotel. The view is breathtaking. We started out in a room by the pool, but changed to a view room with fireplace and kitchette for one night. It was only available for one night. And so worth it. The staff here is the greatest. So helpful and so nice. They ROCK!

We loved the Airport restaurant. It is literally across the street, a block and a half, maybe, walk to the place. They were so nice too. Very good food. We went here every breakfast and they treat you like family.

Also tried Sechwahns Chinese food with sushi bar and martini bar, just down the street. Also wonderful. And Angel's Mexican, just down the street, very good (get the beef flautas, sensational).

Town was crowded but not terrible. It will be much better when the 179 construction is finished.

Loved Sedona, loved the vortexes, the views, the "energy", the people. The shopping was, so so for me. Not into southwest stuff, but it was fun to look at.

We also had a great lunch at Oak Creek brewery at Talaquipaki. Get the beer tasting, we didn't try it but someone next to our table did and it sure looked good.

It rained the first two days we were there, plus it was cold, but it didn't deter from the beauty of this place.

Thanks emd for all of your advice and help. Really improved our trip for us. I'll post a more detailed trip report soon, since there isn't much here about Sedona...
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