Sedona, AZ

Pictures of Sedona, AZ and surrounding sights and attractions.

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The Return to San Jose: Day 4

We began the day with a breakfast of bacon and berry pie. (Not the most standard of meals for that time of day)

Our first event of the day was for us to go see the Gold King Mine Ghost Town. This was first described to us as the worlds largest junk yard, but we were pleasantly suprised to see it was far more than that. It featured 2 working sawmills, several working trucks and cars, and a working 10,154 cubic centimeter engine that powered a generator for a mine in Arizona. We have many pictures to check out in the gallery.

We finished up at the mine and had some lunch in Jerome before returing to Sedona.

We got back and relaxed for a bit, then we had scheduled a tour with Pink Jeep Tours. We took the combo tour of Broken Arrow and Scenic Rim. Broken arrow was aptly described as a slow motion roller coaster. The Jeep went over terrain that some people would think twice about walking across. The more aptly named Scenic Rim tour was less adventurous but had some amazing views of the rock formations. Words just dont do it justice (so I wont try), check out the gallery for more pictures.

We finished off the night with dinner and headed back for the last night at the RV.

Check out today’s pictures in the Gallery

Route 66 and the Desert

Our trip continued along old Route 66 and through the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.

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The Return to San Jose: Day 3

We woke up after a great sleep at the Blue Swallow Motel, on Route 66. The motel is located in Tucumcari, NM which still boasts many of the original hotels and restaurants from the heyday of Route 66 travel.

We talked to the owners in the morning and learned of the great expence related to restoration of the neon lights. The rare event of hale in the area can be devastating to the glass tubes. They spend $20,000 on their neon alone for the restoration, though, part of this came from the historic preservation association. The other interesting thing is the apparent absence of any sort of electric code in the area. While standing in their office, you can look up and see the bare wires leading to the neon lights and the ballast box attached to them marked “High Voltage – Do not touch the bare wires!!!” Moral of the story, don’t touch random wires anywhere around this place.

We then ate some breakfast at “Kix on 66” at the recommendation of our hosts. Afterwords, we packed and prepared to head out. On the way out of town we stopped and took some pictures at the “Route 66” statue which you can see in our gallery. We tried to continue along Route 66 as long as possible, but gave up when it turned into a dirt road through a cattle farm, we gave in and proceeded along I-40.

Along our drive we saw the very barren expanse of New Mexico. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more barren, we hit Arizona. At times, however, there were an annoying number of billboards (one company had 40+ of them in a 2 mile stretch) on the side of the road. 525 miles later we arrived in Sedona, AZ.

We met up with Uncle John that evening and went out to eat at the Dahl & DiLuca restaurant. We returned to the RV for a good night sleep before we began our next day of the trip.

Check out today’s pictures in the Gallery

Graceland and the 800 Mile Drive

Our visit to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, followed by the very exciting 800 mile drive…

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The Return to San Jose: Day 2

Our second day began early (7:00am) we ate breakfast at the hotel and then proceeded to the gates of Graceland!

Being overly ambitious as we were, we got there before they opened the parking lot and were the first people in line to enter. Graceland is the former home of Elvis Presley and he bought it for the low price of $100,000. We took the “Platinum” tour and visited his mansion and the surrounding grounds. We also were able to see the vast collection of cars he owned in the Car Museum. Finally we finished our tour by checking out his two custom jets, “The Lisa Marie” and “The Hounddog II” Check the photo gallery for more on the decor of this vintage (read: somewhat dated) estate.

As we were in the gift shop, getting ready to leave Graceland, we noticed a man wearing a “Blaster” shirt. My uncle is good friends with the owner of the Blaster company so naturally we were curious to see this shirt in Graceland. It turns out the man was a cousin-in-law to the owner and was also from the same area as my uncle.

The rest of the day was not nearly as exciting as we began the 800 mile drive to Tucumcai, NM. We stopped for lunch along the way in Ozark, AR which turned out to be a comedy of errors. We needed gas so we stopped at “Loves Gas Station” which unfortunately had the only pump that did not take credit card. We then went into town to look for a family owned restaurant, however, learning from the “if-no-one-is-eating-there-run-away” rule, we fueled up at a local station and then ate at a McDonalds by the interstate. When we ordered ice cream cones after our meal, the girl working at the counter made them with about 3 times the normal quantity of ice cream, much to the chagrin of her manager who about went bug eyed at the sight of so much ice cream being given out. We did fend off the boredom by continuing our audio book of Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen.

We crossed into Texas late at night and stopped for gas in Shamrock, TX. We learned from the friendly attendant that a neon lit gas station down the road was featured in the movie Cars. Naturally we took a quick detour to take some pictures. We also called our hosts at the Blue Swallow Hotel to let them know we would be arriving late. They said they would leave the neon lights on for us and the key in the door. (Thank you Tom Bodett)

Finally as we approached the New Mexico boarder the time switched to 12:00 am and we were now in June 3rd, however, after a few more miles we crossed the time zone line and went back to 11:15 pm on June 2nd. Thus we have managed to go back in time a day during our trip.

Check out todays pictures in the Gallery

Nashville and Memphis

Pictures from our tour of the Ryman Auditorium, the Hatch Show Print shop, and Beale Street in Memphis!

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The Return to San Jose: Day 1

Just a few short hours after we went to sleep this morning, we awoke at 2:30 am to head out on our trip. We packed the cars and departed at 3:15 am.

Our first stop was to drop Mom off at the Columbus airport. She will be flying to Cleveland and then to Phoenix to meet up with Uncle John. We will meet up with them there on Day 3.

After Columbus, our first stop was in Nashville, TN. We ate lunch at Jack’s BBQ right next to the Ryman. We then walked next door for our tour of the historic Ryman Auditorium. We finished up our time in Nashville with a stop by the Hatch Show Print shop where they still use their hand operated presses to produce posters to this day.

We then proceeded another 214 miles to Memphis, TN. After unpacking at our Hotel we went out to Beale Street to listen to the music and have some dinner. We first stumbled upon Alfred’s restaurant where a man convinced us of its great food and equally impressive music. Unfortunately, when you walk into a place and it is completely empty, that is generally a bad sign. In this case, it was a bad sign as there was a lack of decent music and the food was terrible. (We saw the writing on the wall and only ordered an appetizer so that we could eat elsewhere)

We then headed up the street to Superiors Restaurant & Bar (where once again a man hailed us on the street to enter) However, this time the man (who we learned was the owner) said he had the best ribs on Beale Street and if we did not like them, he would buy them back from us and eat them all himself. Seeing that the man was thin, we determined that he had not had to buy back many meals. We ate and the food did end up to be excellent.

We rounded out the night, by heading over to an outdoor stage and listened to some live music. Also, as we were leaving, we saw a crew preparing to shoot a commercial for Domino’s Pizza. So keep an eye out for a commercial in the near future featuring Beale Street or BB King’s Restaurant.

Be sure to check our our Gallery for the day.

The night before “The Return to San Jose”

It is now 1:00am on June 1, 2009. I am about to go to sleep before getting up at 3:00am to embark once again on a journey across the country. The destination is once again San Jose, CA.

There are a few changes since the “Epic Road Trip” of 2008:

  • This time it is Dad, Mom, William (my brother for you strangers), and I
  • We will be taking a southern route instead of I-70
  • 2 weeks long instead of 1 week.
  • This trip will be titled “The Return to San Jose”

This trip we are also documenting things a little more. Three cameras will be traveling to capture the whole experience. We will be posting our notes and comments each day (or as close to each day as internet in some places may allow)

You can follow our progress in the following ways:

But for now, it is time for sleep  and I shall post some more details on the start of the trip later today.

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