My plan the first day was to drive to Sedona. My old hiking buddies Kerry and Jasmine had a condo for a week on a golf course and had invited me up. The ride out east was long and tiring. Never fun to drive through sweltering Phoenix in 106 degree heat. I was hungry and bushed and stopped at a McDonalds at the Cottonwood turnoff where I met some nice Burmese buddhist monks and got my eyes off the road for a few minutes.
The ride was hot and overlong and I had to pull off at a couple of rest stops to try to recoup. All the bustle and hurry of the previous weeks was starting to catch up to me in an overwhelming rush.
I finally made it to Sedona and the breathtaking views of the red cliffs were magically revitalizing. I had forgotten the raw beauty.
Unfortunately my companions had been chomping at the bit waiting for me all day and decided that it was now time for a hike up a mountain. We have hiked together for over 30 years, done some serious stuff before in Paria, the upper Kolob and several other wonderful places in the southwest and even though I was exhausted from the eight hour ride I decided to play along. Mistake.
Halfway up a mountain trail that they had found that started in a residential neighborhood, I started to feel all of my age, cardiac fitness and a whole bunch more assorted real and imagined ailments. My asthma has been pretty bad of late and I am sure that didn't help. I felt nauseous and slightly heat stroke, actually pretty fucking miserable but I trudged ahead and got some decent shots with my camera. Tried not to imagine myself having a heart attack and going into full scale cardiac arrest.
Sedona is such a strange town. One of the most beautiful places you could imagine, it is a great example of what happens when you don't have any adequate planning and people are allowed to do and build whatever the hell they want. Houses built on scenic ridges, houses crammed against natural monuments, sprawl run amok in the most beautiful of settings. Lot of places should have been off limits to humans, at least in my opinion.
I have often said that there is nothing about Sedona that you couldn't fix with a couple days and a D-8 bulldozer and still pretty much feel that way. We saw a little rainbow at the end of our walk and came off the hill and our magnificent view of the coffeepot and the teacups and hungrily went looking for a place to eat.
We settled on pizza. Sedona is known as a center of new age mumbo jumbo, they literally peddle it by the pound, but truth be told the crystal vortex healing shops are almost outnumbered by the pizza restaurants. The one that we chanced into, the art of pizza, was actually pretty good. It was just hard for me to eat, really feeling the after effects of the mild heat stroke.
I gave them a little photography production lesson and we finally hit the hay. We rose again the next morning and hiked up the trail area known as Back and Beyond. Felt great the next day, regaining my energy and hiking feet somehow. A hiker walked by me wearing a handgun, something I have never felt necessary to carry on the trail. Welcome to Arizona.
Said my goodbyes and beat it on down the line after Jasmine made us a fine breakfast. Shan't bore you. Reached Albuquerque after minimal rain around four in the afternoon and packed my stuff in to the show. Today is the second day and I will give you a run down after the fat lady sings. Started off like gangbusters and then slowed to a parched trickle. Such is life. Maybe tomorrow?
Last year the hotel had the tattoo convention. The noise was horrible. They are gone for some reason but the place is still loud. Have had a good meal and a great meal which I will expound upon when I have the energy.
The whole confrontation repeated itself at the very same kiosk this morning, only a different guy. "What size do you want?" Regular. "Vente?" Regular."Do you mean this size," he asked pointing to the cup in the middle? Yes, the average size, the one that you call normal on your planet in the language we call english, the receptacle that fits on the volume chart somewhere between small and big. Capiche? Only in the magical world of starbucksland and a couple of departments of the United States government do we reach the place where tall actually means small.
It is so exasperating when vendors insist that you engage in their own private language. Like something out of EST or Scientology. I knew a Gurdjeffian named Tom once who was equally irksome, he liked to refer to himself in the third person. Tom is going for a walk today, Tom is happy, Tom is sad, aarghh!
Dan Ariely in his brilliant book, The Guide to Predictable Irrationality unmasks the whole Starbucks marketing plan and gimmick. It was necessary to create a new lexicon in order to charge five times what everybody else does for coffee. Hence the vente and barista bullshit. Pardon me if I don't buy into it. Ban me from Starbucks, see if I give a fuck. Coffee is too strong anyway and they don't seem to want to speak english, or at least any commonly accepted variant that I am familiar with.
I have a lot of spaces to still fill in for you and foresee it probably happening early in the next week.