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  • Steve

Sedona to Las Vegas, (Baby)!

Updated: May 20, 2020

We just wrapped up our first visit ever to the Sedona, Arizona area. We stayed about 45 minutes from Sedona and were able to also visit a few other neighboring towns while we stayed, although the majority of our time was spent in Sedona hiking.

This was also our first stop at a Thousand Trails RV Resort. Our first impression is mixed so far. The sites are really close together except for a few spots that had about 30' between each on one side, and luckily we got one of those. The park was a mix of long-term RV'ers and short-timers like us. When I say long term, I mean they had fixed covers over there cars, storage sheds, and some even had fences with landscaping. Anyways, no big deal there. The night we arrived there was also a masquerade party that all of the Thousand Trails guests were invited to attend. Once we were set up and situated, Lila dressed up in her Slytherin robe, and we headed over to the party. Lila met a few new kids, we met the new friend's mom, and before the evening was over we planned a hike with them.

The following day we drove to Flagstaff to check out the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. I had read that it is a pretty cool state park that had a lot of historical information on Flagstaff, plus it talked about the lumber industry that started Flagstaff. On our drive there, we went the scenic way through Sedona and found a pull-out for a couple of cool pictures down by the creek.

View along the Oak Creek near Sedona

The Riordan family story started with one of three brothers, Matt Riordan, who came to Flagstaff in 1884 to be the foreman of the Ayer Lumber Co. In 1887 Matt bought the mill and invited his two brothers, Timothy and Michael, to help run the mill. Timothy and Michael grew to love the lumber industry and Flagstaff. Matt wanted out so Timothy and Michael bought the mill from Matt. A few years after both Tim and Michael married (to two sisters), they all decided to get involved in Flagstaff and help create the town it is today. At one point, they felt the employees of the mill needed better access to medical care, so they built a clinic for their employees. They also foresaw the need for water year-round for the growing city and proposed a dam that would contain surface water about 6 miles away. This dam created a lake (Lake Mary) that was named after Tim's eldest daughter, Mary. If you are interested in more information, check this out.

Lastly, they had architect Charles Whittlesey, who designed the El Tovar Hotel (we ate lunch there) in the Grand Canyon design their dual-house mansion. He designed 2 houses that were 6,000 sq.ft. each and are connected by a 1,000 sq.ft. cabin where family members could come together to enjoy the fire, play pool, or chess/checkers. The house was donated to the State and now acts as the museum with everything kept as original as possible.

Entrance gate to the Riordan Estate
Great design ideas - They wanted to be able to see the person they were talking to at dinner.
Who wouldn't want a swinging chair in front of the fire place inside.
Check out my new shirt - Camping - Where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person. 😂 Jen isn't laughing 😁 Welcome to my life...haha!

On Sunday, we went to Sedona for a hike with our new friends from the Masquerade party. The hills, rock features, and colors surrounding Sedona was amazing. This hike is called Devils Bridge Trail. It was a 4.2 mile round trip hike with an elevation change of 568 ft.

This trail was super busy as you can see in the picture below. We look alone here, but...

It looks narrower than it really is, but still a long ways down if you slip.

Whoa! Look at that line!

Line up for that shot

When we were getting ready for pictures at Devil's Bridge, a guy in line behind us said this was cool, but Cathedral Rock Trail is way better. So Tuesday we headed to Cathedral Rock a couple hours before Sunset (tip from other hikers). That hiker was right! The hike is more of a scramble for the first 1/4 mile up the hill. It is only 1.5 miles roundtrip, but you gain 689 feet in that .75 miles. It was worth it for the view and these cool pictures.

This is on our way down but you can see how steep it was
Pretty cool picture opportunity

As we were doing the scenic drive earlier in the week, we passed by a very packed trailhead. Granted it was on the weekend, but not only was the parking lot full, but the shoulder of the road was full for the next 1-2 miles. Jen had to figure out what that was all about, and she found that the trail was called West Fork Trail. According to the website she was on, they said it was a top 10 in the US. Personally, we think the website was biased since it was a visit Sedona site. We decided we would verify this on Wednesday and hit the trail. This trail was 7.3 miles roundtrip with an elevation change of 669 feet. It was pretty cool because you followed Oak Creek the whole way and crisscrossed 13 times to reach the top of the hike. You can go further but you have to wade through the creek to do so, it looked fairly deep, and the water was cold, so at that point, we passed. Oh! I forgot to mention there was a storm nearby the whole time (could hear thunder), so we figured we better get out of the canyon since there were flash flood warning signs along the trail.

Trailhead to West Fork Trail

We did enjoy the hike, but I don't think we would put it on the top 10 in the US. I think I would say it could make a top 25 of most scenic, kid-friendly, fun hikes in the US especially since the leaves were turning in the canyon.

1 of 13 crossings along the way

Looks like home with the ferns and the moss

We made it to the end! (No shave November still in effect. Jen is not thrilled but she says it is growing on her)

After we left Thousand Trails in Cottonwood, AZ, we headed to Prescott for a Trader Joe's and Costco run.

Finally found an RV wash and put her to work

Obviously, Costco isn't as much fun (aka costly) since we are in a trailer, but they still had some things we needed and would make the room for. Also, they had ridiculously cheap propane there. We had been paying about $2.50-3.00/gal so far, and Costco had it for $1.69! After the Grand Canyon, we needed it too, one tank was empty and the other only had 1/4 left. We also have some foods we love from Trader Joe's so when we find one, we have to stop. So far on this trip, we have only found 2. I (Steve) love their Honey Greek Yogurt with their Ancient Seed mix. Sadly, they stopped selling the seed mix, but Jen saved the ingredient label for me, and we have since recreated the mix by buying bulk seeds. 😁 Yum!

From there, we headed to our next stop at a Harvest Host location near Kingman, AZ, just off Route 66. We actually drove on Route 66 for a couple of hours to get there, and we saw the old Burma Shave signs along the way. The other thing we have been doing lately on our road trips is listening to audiobooks. Our current book is called "The Boys in the Boat". It is about the University of Washington's 1936 8-man rowing team that went to the Olympics in Germany and won the gold. It is a great book and we would highly recommend it.

Lila listening to the audiobook and enjoying the ride.
Harvest Host layout
Enjoying our new propane fire pit

During one of my many, many route planning sessions, I recently received an offer from one of our favorite hotels/casinos in Vegas for a free night (Comp). Usually, I just delete these since I am not going to fly down there, BUT this time we are heading right by there. So I booked 2 nights for us there for $10 total! Nice! I don't have many pictures from our stay, but we enjoyed the pool, hot showers, and comfy beds for a couple of nights, AND we saw three of our great friends from Vancouver who were down for a soccer tournament. It was great to see them and catch up.

Pool time!
Dinner with friends from home!

Sadly, Lila went back to the hotel that night and didn't feel good at all. 😞 She was up most of the night tossing, turning and even threw up once. Her sickness followed her for one more night, then she shook it off and we moved onto Death Valley.


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