Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Arizona Trip - Sedona to Flagstaff

Arizona October Trip – Sedona to Flagstaff

Oh My Gosh! If you go to Sedona, give yourself the fantastic, awesome treat of a helicopter ride over the Red Rock area. We used Arizona Helicopter Adventures and it was worth every single penny!

This is the second time that I’ve been on a heli ride. The first time was back in 1999, a heli ride over the Grand Canyon with my parents and brother. This helicopter ride in Sedona was unbelievably better. Ok, ANY heli ride is cool, but let me explain the difference.

The Grand Canyon ride - the helicopter is glass closed in with doors and the helicopter is large enough to fit 6 people. The company puts headsets on you and they put a tape on while you’re flying around the canyon. A nice smooth sailing type of ride.

The Sedona ride was an adventure in leaps and bounds! First, it was a tiny helicopter and NO DOORS, no side windows! That’s right, you were strapped in and you’re told not to put your hands out (duh). You feel the cold air blasting around you and see the wild turns with nothing keeping you in except for the strap. It’s not for the faint of heart. It was like a roller coaster ride without the rails!

Our pilot, Floyd, didn’t put a tape on. In fact, he showed us how to work the speakers and prompted plenty of questions from us about the area and the rock formations.

Floyd flew an apache helicopter in the first Iraqis war. He hot-dogged the ride for us, flying super close to the rock formations, dipping and turning and going through small openings along the ridges.

When we came to the cliff dwellings, well preserved because there are no roads to get to them, Floyd hovered the heli so we could get some good shots.

Awesome! Totally freaking awesome! Would do this again in a heartbeat!

After the helicopter ride, the second part of our “adventure” with the company was a jeep ride. Kevin was our “spiritual tour guide.” Or Mother Earth Guide… he knew just about every type of plant growth, taking us off the road (Kevin called it the “internal organ check” part of the trip) into the bumpy red rock heights. It was nice because Greg was able to be a passenger and Kevin knew the areas to get some pretty shots.

This part of the tour included a picnic, yummy food, but it also attracted bees (which Greg is highly allergic to)… So when it came time to eat, we made an offering of apple slices to the bees.

The location of our lunch was on the side of a cliff, under a tree, feeling the light cool breeze with an amazing view.

It was fun talking with Kevin. We saw a jack rabbit and Kevin said, “When you see a rabbit, it symbolizes that you need to face your fears.” Then we saw a raven (they are huge!), Kevin continued, “When you see a raven, it means you need to seize the opportunities.”

When we took the heli ride, Floyd said it was perfect weather to do so with a clear blue sky. Well, by the time we took the jeep ride, a brush stroke of clouds appeared and it was perfect as well. Greg said, "It looks like God is whispering to the earth."

I love this next shot - the blend of blue, white and red rock:

After our heli/jeep/picnic adventure, we drove through Oak Creek Canyon, on our way to Flagstaff.

In Oak Creek Canyon, there’s a lovely Vista viewpoint. We took some pictures, then bought a couple of craft items from the local Native American artists who set up displays along the viewpoint path.

Greg’s cousin, Willie, and his family live in Flagstaff. It was a delight to spend time with Willie and his wife, Carrie. She has a new online business of olive oils and balsamic. It was neat to hear about the process of her work. If you want to visit her online site, go to While we stayed there, we sampled a variety of the oils and they were all excellent!

Willie and Carrie’s four children were so sweet! The first night we were in Flagstaff, we attended a Violin performance where Zachary, their oldest child, played in the group. Of the group, Zachary was the one we could see really getting into the music as he played, which I thought was great.

John Avery had us smiling when he had a Saints shirt on. He’s the sports guy, having fun throwing football and playing baseball with Greg.

Natalie had me wrapped around her little finger. She dressed in a mermaid outfit one day, had on a lovely dress another time and had a smile that lit up a room. All of the kids play the violin and Natalie played for us too.

Nathaniel was eager to teach how to play various games on their iPad. He was very patient and thoughtful with his instructions. He was quiet in a sincere way that reaches out to you.

Greg said, “The Odems have smiling eyes and Willie married a woman with smiling eyes; their children have those eyes too.”

Oh and we can’t leave out the dogs. There’s Boudin, this is more horse than dog – Huge! But thinks he is still a puppy and there’s Cindy, shy and friendly.

We stayed at the “mother in laws” house, a separate large building with all the necessities and more of a home, spaced with a generous amount of land between the main house….

We also meet Carrie’s sister, brother-in-law and her parents. Greg’s aunt Ellen (Willie’s Mom) was also in town. They had a delicious spread of food, then afterwards a nice cultural experience with their son playing in the violin group, which was followed by a Scottish band, Old Blind Dog (they were excellent; we even bought one of their CD’s).

It was a day of adventure and family!

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