Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Our Final Day

Everyone slept in on our final day. We spoke the night before about getting up early but it wasn’t in the cards. The drive home was only 3 or 4 hours but I had the feeling that it could prove to be the longest leg of our journey. Everyone was tired, my youngest son was on the verge of a meltdown, and I just had the feeling that the Turd had not had its final say. By all appearances it was a beautiful day and I hoped that we would have clear sailing all the way home.
Our time on the road has been everything that we thought it would be and more. Not only do you learn so many new and interesting things about this great country of ours, but you also learn a lot about yourself. The best part of our entire trip was sharing the experience with our children. It is sad to say that I have not spent this much time with my kids since they have been born and the reality of that hits home. We traveled many miles and returned home worn out but satisfied. In the few short days since we have been home, talk has already begun circulating around the house about our next family trip; an exciting journey to the great northwest on the Big Rolling Turd

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Home Stretch

We left Fort Smith exactly at 9:00am and headed towards home. We weren’t really sure how far we would get or if the Turd would hold up. The weather cooperated for the most part and we had smooth sailing through Little Rock, Memphis and Jackson. We did however reach Nashville at 4:30pm, right at the beginning of rush hour. I have already made my comments about Nashville in an earlier post, but I have to reiterate how unbelievably horrible I-40 is through downtown. I don’t know if it is because Nashville is a main point of convergence for all of those interstates or that the infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with city growth or if it is just the sheer lunacy of the drivers on the road, but when you drive in Nashville you take your life in your hands. I guarantee you that all those NASCAR fans could save a whole lot of money, by not purchasing ticket to their favorite race and heading to Nashville. Bring your lounge chairs, some cold beer and fried chicken, spread out on any overpass and watch all of the crazy stunts that these drivers pull. You like the wrecks? Nashville’s got wrecks, a bunch of them…up and down I-40. I drove for 12 hours and it seems like 11 of them were in Nashville.

So we got through Arkansas and most of Tennessee without any problems with the Turd and without having to call my father-in law for our daily dose of RV advice. I would like to thank Larry for helping us through these often humorous though trying times. He has been a great help on this our maiden voyage and his support has proven invaluable. Larry, if you ever need my help on anything…like trying to figure out what that vent is for that is sticking out of the roof over the bathroom…I’ll be there for you. We made it to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to a campground at the foot of the Great Smokey Mountains. Pulling in to the campsite, it was dark and windy with a hint of thunder rumbling in the distance. As my wife got out of the Turd and went inside the camp office to register, I had one of those quiet moments that have been so rare on this trip. Sitting there in the dark RV, I thought about all of the things we as a family have experienced on this trip. As I allowed myself this brief respite I looked over at the campground office where my wife was completing the registration paperwork. Just above the door, spanning the entire roof line was a single word in glowing white neon…Jesus. I smiled warmly and retreated back to those warm, quiet thoughts. As my wife returned to the RV with our registration in hand, the silence was shattered by the shrieking sounds of the CO2 alarm. I looked again at my wife as she walked up to the door and then back to the neon Jesus on the office roof. I guess the big guy just wanted me to know he also has a sense of humor and no…he hasn’t seen enough just yet.

Damn It!

Today we are going to make the big push east. We got some sleep, ate breakfast and hit the road. Obviously Mother Nature was just getting warmed up as the clouds were black, the rain was heavy and the winds were big. We got about an hour outside Amarillo when the RV stalled again. We coasted on to the shoulder and I attempted to crank the engine…nothing. Again…nothing! Outside the storm is raging and the rain is coming down in torrents. My wife asked me if there are any lights glowing on the dash and I said yes the service engine soon light is on. She reminded me that Mr. Stratkus asked that same question when we brought the RV to his shop. I finally got it cranked up and we obviously had no choice but to limp slowly along until we got to an exit with a service plaza or something. We got to Shamrock, Texas and I filled up with gas and added some oil as we were a quart low. Whatever we did corrected the warning light problem as the Turd fired right up and the service engine soon light went off. Surprisingly enough we encountered no more problems with the RV for the remainder of the day. We continued to jump onto Route 66 every chance we got, even visiting the Route 66 National Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma.

Now earlier, on our way out to the Grand Canyon, I commented on the state of the roads in Oklahoma and Arkansas, comparing them unfavorably with the roads in some third world countries. After traveling back through those states today and in light of some of the nasty emails I have received from native Arkansans and Oklahomans, I would like to recant my earlier statement. In hindsight, I realize that comparing the stretch of I-40 in Oklahoma and Arkansas to that of a third world country would be tremendously unfair to those third work countries. But I will say this; everyone in Oklahoma City should get out their pens & their best stationary and write a sincere note of thanks to the great people of Nashville, Tennessee. For if it were not for Nashville, Oklahoma City would easily have the worst stretch interstate in the country. Anyway, after a long drive we made it to the Fort Smith, Arkansas KOA where we were summarily told that the lady screwed up our reservations and the only site they had available did not have a septic station. Initially I was upset at this notion, but I quickly calmed down after recalling the fecal fountain debacle in Albuquerque. I took this new development as a sign from God, that he really was watching and that he too had finally seen enough.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

We got the RV to Stratkus early in the morning as rush hour traffic proved to be less of a problem than I anticipated. Of course I made a wrong turn on Los-Whatever street and thought for a second I was in trouble…again. However, after a quick phone call we realized that I made a left instead of a right and ended up on the wrong end of the street. After arriving at the garage, I briefly repeated the trouble I was having with the Turd to the owner and he said it would be at least an hour before we would know something. So we packed up the kids and took off in the jeep to explore Albuquerque and Route 66. I have to tell you that under the circumstances, it was a pretty enjoyable morning. Route 66, particularly through the Nob Hill section of town was fabulous! Old diners and hotels, refurbished buildings and gas stations…what a sight. I can only imagine what it all looks like at night with all that neon glowing, I bet it looks spectacular. I really wanted to have breakfast at the Route 66 Diner but they didn’t open until 11:00am. So we ended up at the Grove Café & Market instead, a real swanky open air café in Nob Hill. The food was fresh and delicious. We enjoyed breakfast alfresco, watching traffic pass by on the old mother road while waiting for a phone call from the mechanic. After breakfast we decided to head back up towards the garage to see if they had even moved the RV into the shop. Halfway up 66 the garage called and said that they couldn’t find anything wrong with the RV. He was certain that it was an electrical problem and not a fuel pump problem, but until it acted up again he would not be able to determine its exact nature or location. He said he could start replacing things but all we would do is spend a lot of money without any guarantees that it would fix the problem. So our only viable option was to head east and hope for the best. I asked him to look at the blinkers as I noticed that they stopped flashing. He said he would do it immediately so give him another 15 minutes or so. We made a semi U-turn in the general direction of Rio Grande Boulevard and stumbled upon Old Town Albuquerque. It what was possibly one of the neatest places we visited. Old Town is to Albuquerque as the French Quarter is to New Orleans. That is without Mardi Gras, out of the closet transvestites and those seedy little strip clubs. This place is steeped in history and the architecture is amazing. Driving thru, you could really get a sense of life back in the days before electricity. We were torn between wanting to stay and explore this great treasure and needing to get back home. Unfortunately Old Town will have to wait for our next visit, but I can tell it will be worth the wait.

We got back to the garage to pick up the Turd. Surprisingly, Jim could not fix the blinker problem because we would have to replace part of the steering column and getting the parts would take a few days. So now I hand crank the blinkers so they manually flash in the direction I want to turn. Unbelievable! While finishing up the paperwork I asked the owner if there were any laws on the books for people who take advantage of stranded visitors. He asked why and I told him about my experience the day before. He said, “You took it to Rout 66 Truck & RV?” When we said that the RV Park recommended them twice, he said that he has heard so many horror stories about those guys that he was surprised that they had not been shut down by now. According to the Jim, the Frito Bandito has his wife cruising the interstate looking for stranded tourists in RV’s. At that point we decided to stop the credit card payment, complain to the owners of the RV Park and report Route 66 Truck and RV to the proper authorities.

So when all was said and done, we crossed our fingers and finally left Albuquerque headed for Amarillo and a date with the Big Texan. We made pretty good time even though we hopped off and on Rout 66 every chance we got.. The drive to Amarillo was relatively uneventful, that is until we encountered one of those southern plains, tornado producing thunderstorms you hear about in the news back home. I remember it well…the Cadillac Ranch was on our right and a developing F-4 was on our left. Talk about your big entrances. As we pulled in to the RV Park, the storm roared into Amarillo. Now I have been in big storms in the past, really big storms. Hurricane Andrew would be an example of a big storm. But until you have experienced a storm with sustained 40 mile per hour winds while trapped in a 36 foot recreational vehicle that is parked in a barren Amarillo, Texas KOA, well you haven’t experienced a big storm. I never knew it was possible for a person to get sea sick in a parked camper in the middle of Texas…but I guess you can. Anyway, after the winds died down and the pouring rain subsided a little, we headed to the Big Texan. Seeing it up close and personal it was hard to believe that it could actually be tackier in real life than it is on line. A big yellow building with a huge cow parked out front, it more than lived up to its advanced billing. Everyone sits family style in long tables that are set in rows. I contemplated accepting the 72oz Steak challenge, but after seeing the steak in person I decided that it would not be in my best interest nor would it be in the best interest of my family to partake in said challenge. OK I was scared but you should have seen the size of this thing. I saw three people try and none finished half of the steak, although they did get a check for $72 bucks and a real tacky Big Texan tee shirt as consolation. The food was surprisingly good, the deserts were incredibly large, and we even had a few songs played at our table by a wandering cowboy string trio (I’m not sure but I think they work there). Back at the RV we were lulled to sleep by the sounds of numerous trains as they passed a few planes as they landed, and another storm as it zeroed in on Amarillo. I love vacations.

Rout 66 RV & Truck Repair

We had to get up early today so I could get the turd over to Rout 66 RV & Truck Repair. My wife and I rousted the kids out of bed and we all drove over to the garage, located less than a mile from the RV Park where we stayed the night before. When we arrived I could not believe that there was actually a business operating out of this shack. I got out of the RV and headed over to the office where I was met buy a Hispanic male who was working on an engine block. I explained my situation and that I needed my fuel filter replaced. He said OK and followed me out to the RV. Getting down on his back, he rolled around on the ground, looking under the rig as he began muttering quietly to himself in Spanish. He said that he couldn’t find the fuel filter and that he would have to call his boss for advice as to where to look. As he made a beeline for the office, another older man drove over to me in one of the garage’s red emergency pick up trucks. This guy was a character to say the least diving back and forth to my RV from the garage (a distance of less than 100 feet). He said that he could replace the fuel filter, but the problem sounded like a fuel pump issue. Then he got down on his back, rolled around on the ground, looked under the rig and then began to mutter quietly to himself in Spanish. He got up and said that he could not find the fuel filter either. I told the guy that I would call Workhorse directly and ask them where the fuel filter was, at which point he nodded in agreement, muttered something unintelligible and promptly left to go work on another vehicle. I got a young lady on the phone at Workhorse who helped the older guy who I’ll call Poppy, locate the mysterious fuel filter. After a few minutes on his back, Poppy removed the old filter from my vehicle, a five minute procedure, and said that he was going to have to order a new one. He also kept telling me that it was the fuel pump and that no one in Albuquerque worked on more Workhorse chassis than Rout 66 RV & Truck Repair. Now mind you that this was the same guy that could not find a simple in-line fuel filter and had to have a lady in Michigan walk him thru it. “I am going to order the filter” Poppy said in thickly accented English. “But I am sure that you need a fuel pump and that could take days”. Now everyone I spoke with who knows anything about RV’s said it is NOT the fuel pump so at this point I become even more skeptical. “Do you do warrantee work” I asked Poppy. “I don’t know” he said, “You are going have to speak to the boss”. “Ok, when will he be here?” I asked. “20 to 30 minutes, he is picking up your fuel filter” he replied with an annoyed look. “You haven’t called it in yet” I said pointing the old filter still sitting on the ground next to the turd. “He will be here and you can talk to him” Poppy quipped as he was climbing back in his truck for the 100 foot drive back to the garage. “Can I call him” I asked? “Sure, I guess…but he is going to tell you the same thing” he said. “Same thing as what?” I asked, “You haven’t told me a damn thing yourself”. “I want to know how much this is going to cost, what is involved and are you authorized to do the warrantee work; you know common sense questions anyone would ask before they let you work on their $100,000 vehicle.” I continued, but clearly getting aggravated. “Good point” Poppy said, “but you are going to have to speak to the boss when he gets here because I don’t know anything about that stuff”.

At this point I call my warrantee company, explained the situation to them and asked if there were any approved garages they work with in the Albuquerque area. She gave me a list and I began calling. The last one on the list was RV World or something like that. They are a national chain of RV superstores and had quite an impressive facility located less than a mile from our current location. Of course I had already asked Ranger Bob at the RV park the day before if this place did repair work on RV’s to which he said no. So I called them and sure enough they didn’t do that kind of work there; but they did recommend someone who did. So I called Stratkus Engine Repair and they said that they do service Workhorse chassis and they do have the parts in stock. The owner Jim Stratkus was a good guy who said on the phone that there was a slight chance that it could be a fuel pump issue but he doubted it. He said it that it was more likely an electrical issue like a relay or something, and to bring it in at 8:00am the next day. While I was talking to Stratkus on the phone, Poppy climbed back under the RV and replaced the fuel filter. I went over to the office where “the boss” had finally gotten back from his shopping errands and was sitting at his desk. “I just spoke with my warrantee company, and before you are authorized to do any work they will have to approve it” I said. “How do they pay” he asked? “I don’t know” I said, “but I we both would feel more comfortable having a specialist do the work as your man Poppy has already admitted to me that he wasn’t sure that you guys could do the work and hell he couldn’t even find the fuel filter”. So I told the guy I’d like to settle up for the work already done. He said OK and proceeded to write out an invoice for $360. Upon receiving the invoice I asked the Frito Bandito if he was out of his frigging mind. He said, “no, we always charge a one time diagnostic fee which is here, the part cost $100 and that is listed here and 2 hours labor is listed here” he pointed out with a big smile. “First of all there was no diagnostic” I said. “I drove in here and asked to have my fuel filter replaced, which by the way two of your guys couldn’t find without the help of Workhorse, who I had to call on my personal cell phone”. “As for the 2 hours labor, that’s a bigger crock than the diagnostic, given that it was a 15 minute job once he found the filter and he spent all of the intervening time working on someone else’s truck”. “The only diagnostic that needs to be done is on your head, if you think that this is going to stand” I said. “You can sue me if you want, but that is going to take up a lot of time and money” he said, looking more and more like the Frito Bandito. At this point the conversation became pretty heated and Mr. Bandito’s compadres began walking up to the office door. The whole scene was intense and I felt that continuing along this track could prove dangerous for me and perhaps my family, who were all still waiting in the RV. So I paid the invoice, just wanting to get my wife and kids out of there. We went back to the RV Park and set up camp for an additional night. We took the kids swimming and to Petroglyph National Monument. We also took a short ride down Old Rout 66, which proved to be much better than any stretch of the highway we had previously seen. I wasn’t looking forward to fighting rush hour traffic in the turd, but I was comfortable that Stratkus would be able to help us with the problem. So after making tacos and going for a short walk around the park, we all turned in relatively early knowing tomorrow could be another interesting day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What A Nice Water Feature You Have There

It had to happen. I just knew that our string of good luck was bound to end sometime. Maybe it was fate or maybe it was my comments on the psychic hoo-doo in Sedona, but I can tell you when it rains…well you know. After purchasing one of everything in Sedona, eating great Mexican food and enjoying Cottonwoods sweltering desert temperatures, we decided that enough was enough and we were heading home a day early. By leaving early, we hoped to do the handful of things that we failed to do on our way out west, primarily visiting Petroglyph National Monument, the Cadillac Ranch and of course the Big Texan.

We got going around 10:00am local time and began our journey to Albuquerque. The interesting thing about this area of the country is that almost without question, in whatever direction you travel, you seem to be going up…straight up. Now let me preface this by saying that the Turd should never be confused with a Ferrari. It does however, have very deceptive speed in the sense that it is much slower than it looks. This was never more evident than in our trek back up to Albuquerque. My God, there is nothing more maddening for me than being stuck behind a truck doing 35 in a 75 zone and being helpless to pass said truck. Mind you that when we left on this little journey we weighed about 24,000 pounds, not withstanding the souvenirs from Sedona or the previous nights Mexican food in Cottonwood, we were probably right around that same number as we began our trip back east. After what can only be described as a torturous hour and a half, we finally leveled out in Flagstaff, passed that damn truck, and merged onto eastbound I-40. After a couple of stops we reached New Mexico in the early afternoon, right on schedule. Did you hear that? It was the other shoe falling.

Now keep in mind that we had not experienced anymore problems with the Turd since that whole ABS thing outside of Memphis. We were cruising along I-40 at around 70mph when we reached the outskirts of a town called Gallup, New Mexico. In Gallup, the interstate narrows from four lanes to two due to road construction and we easily merged into our lane with the other vehicles. When we passed the construction site and the interstate went back to four lanes, I hit the accelerator to speed up and nothing happened. I punched it again…nothing. I cursed, punched it harder and still nothing happened. Fortunately, we were approaching an off ramp and I slowly coasted to the top of the bridge right as the engine died. So here we are, the turd, pulling the jeep, stalled smack dab in the middle of the first major off ramp in Arizona…perfect. I turned off the key, turned it back on and low and behold she fired right back up. It was as if nothing had ever happened. We got back on the interstate and experienced no more problems; that is until we got to Albuquerque. Exiting at our destination, we drove into this really nice RV Park. My wife got out to sign us in and returned a few minutes later with our registration and park information. This place had all the bells and whistles, big new community center with a pool, spa and a convenience store. Sitting out front in separate golf carts were two guys in uniform. I gather that their primary responsibility is to talk to each other during down time and to escort you to your site once you register. I should have known I was in trouble, when in an effort to get in front of our RV these two guys crashed head first into each other. Finally, one of the guys pulled out and we began to follow him. No sooner had we turned onto the parks main street, did the Turd stall again! So, I recycled the key from on to off to on again and she started right up. We drove to our site and began to set up. Now I am truly concerned at this point. Clearly something is wrong with the Turd and I am in the middle of nowhere. We have every bit of coverage you can get; premium gold-level extended warrantees, a tire guard warrantee, AAA RV coverage, unlimited roadside assistance, etc, but unless you have phone coverage to call these people, you are S.O.L. One of the two things I noticed as we headed west through New Mexico was how beautiful the landscape was and how non-existent cell phone coverage was from Texas to Albuquerque. I was not about to head east into this part of New Mexico without getting it looked at. The RV Center recommended Rout 66 RV and Truck Repair, conveniently located less than a mile from the Park. That eased my mind a bit. This was clearly a first class RV preserve, very busy with a lot of expensive rigs. If they recommended this garage, you could only think they would be OK.
I tried to put this out of my mind as I began to set up the RV, but the accumulated stress of the jeep ordeal, the RV dealership ordeal, the ABS ordeal, the VIN number ordeal and now the Turd stalling in the middle of nowhere ordeal, was just too much. If that were not enough, my wife was running low on wine and that could potentially be very problematic! So I am in the back of the RV, minding my own business, when the guy next to me strikes up a conversation. Not wanting to be rude, I tried to be marginally conversant as my wife came around to inform me that she was going to find out where the nearest grocery store was located. Not really paying attention, I grunted my acknowledgment and finished hooking up the electric, water and sewer. Knowing it was going to be a short day, there was no grey water and no refuse in the black tank, except for a miniscule amount of water you keep in the event you have to go number 1 or god forbid number 2. That made the set up easier, just hook everything up and we were good to go. I went inside to make dinner and casually looked out the window at my wife talking up the folks across the street. A few minutes later the door to the RV opened up and my wife said, “honey, can you come here…we have a problem”. Thinking to myself, “damn she probably scored a bottle from the lady across the way and they were coming over to drink it”, I said “OK” and walked over to the door. At which time I look out and there were 4 or five people lined up outside the RV staring at our RV. I looked at them, looked at my wife and then back at them. The clearly were interested in our RV, for what reason I could not imagine. Ours was the Honda parked amongst the Cadillac’s. I turned to my wife and said “what’s the problem?” at which point she directed my gaze to the top of the RV from which a torrent of water was now shooting up and spilling over both sides. I froze, not knowing what in the hell was causing water to rush over the side of the RV. So, I looked at my wife, looked at the growing crowd and shut the door. Members of the crowd asked my wife “where did he go”. “Hiding” she replied. Actually I went and turned off the AC, foolishly thinking that they were the only pieces of equipment on the roof that could produce moisture. Of course they could never produce that much water…only Niagara Falls could produce that much water, but it was worth a shot. Stepping outside one of the guys asked, “what do you think is causing that?” like it happens all the time and I just haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet. “Too much water I guess” I said. In the mean time my wife did the smart thing and turned off the water supply to the Turd, immediately stopping the developing geyser. Another guy, who sort of reminded me a bit of Cliff on Cheers, came around back to help me diagnose the problem. As Cliff and I examined the control panel, searching for some clue as to what might be causing the problem; news of my RV’s new “water feature” was rapidly circulating around the campground. This was embarrassing. Then as if on cue, both of us followed the hose that supplies the RV with fresh water. Instead of running the hose to the fresh water supply, I connected it to the black tank flush out, apparently filling the entire tank and the connecting air supply vent with fresh water that subsequently came shooting out the top of the Turd. Cliff immediately went to inform the restless crowd as to the nature of the problem and my obvious stupidity. Realizing that I could not hide behind the RV forever, and that my wife would not let the crowd disperse before she was certain I would face the music, I put a smile on my face, walked around to the gathering of concerned neighbors, and said “boy, good thing that happened; I could have gone 3 or 4 more years without ever knowing where that roof vent led”. Tears in my eyes and in dire need of a scotch, I reminded the crowd that the next show was at 11:00 and excused myself for the evening. All this and our time in Albuquerque had only just begun.


Our last day at Grand Canyon was spent doing a few housekeeping chores, mailing postcards, buying food; you know the boring day to day stuff. We got going around 11:00am and headed south to Sedona, and the trip along highway 89 was mesmerizing to say the least. Taking the scenic rout straight through the heart of the San Francisco Peaks into Flagstaff, it could not have been a nicer drive as we wound our way through the high desert and alpine forests. The only downer was old Rout 66. Supposedly one of the best strips of the old mother road as it is called runs straight through Flagstaff. If that’s the case then we missed it or something. I must say that old Rout 66 has been a big disappointment for us; no tacky hotels no worlds biggest ball of yarn, just some old dilapidated motels and stuff.

For the uninitiated, Sedona is located in central Arizona and is supposedly a corridor of great cosmic power and energy. With so much having been written about the area, we decided that we just had to see it. Now I want to be clear that our attraction to Sedona had nothing to do with the physic energy reportedly emanating from this place, nor were we interested in the cosmic vortexes, palm readers, soothsayers, or alien masseuses. No for us the attraction to Sedona was its unique geology and natural beauty. The drive from Flagstaff to Sedona is a sight to behold as is obviously the case for so much of this part of the country. You take highway 89A out of Flagstaff and slowly wind your way down the side of the mountainous plateau into an area called Oak Creek Canyon. The geographic features of Oak Creek Canyon mirror those of Flagstaff and much of the surrounding area…that is until you reach Sedona. Highway 89A hugs the steep canyon walls and follows Oak Creek as it descends into the canyon. It is a two lane mountain road, with more that its fair share of steep drops and hairpin turns. My wife was absolutely terrified on the way down; barely looking out the window as we slowly worked our way down to the canyon floor. It was hard to believe that this was the same person, who fearlessly and without batting an eye, marched across the upper rim of the Grand Canyon on dangerously un-maintained loose gravel trails, many of which were less than three feet wide. I mean the Turd was geared all the way down and I rarely if ever hit the 20 MPH mark. It must have been a dose of that good old cosmic energy or something.

As you enter Sedona you experience a landscape that is completely unique and unlike anything we had ever seen. Sedona is built in an area dominated by red rock. The more traditional colorings of the central Arizona landscape abruptly disappear in Sedona as the mesas, bluffs and canyon walls are all colored a deep, purplish-red hue. A real Kodak moment if I ever saw one! According to books, local legend and the Travel Channel, Sedona sits on top of an intersection of major psychic fault lines which apparently bisect the entire planet. Picture the lines of longitude and latitude on a map. According to those in touch with their cosmic inner child, when these lines cross, vortexes of psychic energy are produced, opening gateways to the soul and psychic portholes to the cosmos. Sedona sits on one of these sites as do the ancient Mayan ruin of Chichen-itza and the enigmatic Stonehenge in England. I don’t know about all that, but I do know that we had the best Mexican food any of us had ever eaten right down the road in Cottonwood. Keep your cosmic portholes and pass the tacos por favor.
A few miles north of Sedona is Slide Rock State Park, a popular local attraction that provides a cool respite from soaring mid-day temperatures and the hot desert sun. Slide Rock Park is located on a section of Oak Creek and encompasses and area of the creek where time and water have worn an 80 foot section of the river bed into a natural, smooth rock slide. It was a blast as the boys and I spent hours traversing the creek, sliding down the rock slides and jumping off cliffs into the deep and dare I say chilly mountain waters. Afterward we hit downtown Sedona for a little shopping on the town’s main drag. Did I say a little shopping? How about a lot of shopping? We hit almost every downtown store in Sedona and finished off the day having a great dinner at the Casa Bonita in Cottonwood. It was the most authentically prepared Mexican food any of us had ever had. What is that they say? When in Rome? Anyway, my oldest son ate so many tacos that I thought we were going to have to pump his stomach, I devoured a plate of Carne Asada and my wife enjoyed her first margarita of the trip. My youngest son, easily the pickiest eater in the family, has now developed a love and passion for chicken quesadillas. All’s well that ends well and today ended great. My only question was if and at what time did Casa Bonita open for breakfast?