Day 17: Sunday 11-Jul-1999

Base camp: Munds Park, Arizona

Excursion: Sedona, Red Rock State Park, Arizona

Distance: 80 mi (128 km)

Per got up early this morning to edit some more web pages of this journal. At around 8 he walked over to the campground office, to upload more pages and to pick up some e-mails. Turned out to be a bit tricky, because the phone line they had "available" was actually their combined fax and credit card phone line. He ended up having to work in batches to avoid blocking out credit card dial-ups and fax usage. He then came back to the trailer to read the mails he had downloaded. And the laptop would not start again. We tried a number of different tricks, but nothing would bring it back to life again. We took it apart, hoping that whatever caused this would sort of "bleed out" with the battery out during the day.

We then went on a day trip towards the south. The weather did not look all that promising, but we could not just sit at the trailer and watch TV. We headed towards Sedona (we actually had to drive north on I17 for a few miles before we could get on Highway 89A south). On our way south we passed Slide Rock park, and realized that we had forgotten our bag with swim-wear back in the trailer. So we could not stop there. Typical. We laughed about how we've managed to pick the wrong clothes several days in a row. We continued through Sedona, which is quite nice, in particular with the beautiful backdrop of the red mountains surrounding it.

   Curious McDonalds in Sedona  
  A different and style compatible McDonald's tries to blend into Sedona. Just look for the GREEN arches.  

We continued past Sedona and stopped at the nearby Red Rock State Park. We ate picnic lunch. There was a talk at the visitor center at 2pm, so we hurried up a little bit with the eating. The talk was about the El Nino and La Nina phenomenons. How appropriate. The talk was somewhat dry, geared towards grown-ups. The kids got bored quickly, but managed to keep reasonably quiet. Bottom line: El Nino will continue for almost another year, which means more rain here in the southwest (like we had not already noticed). It will probably also mean a winter somewhat similar to last year for us up in the northeast, at last to start with. There are signs that we may go back to "normal" in the late winter. Interestingly enough, measurements has shown that in between El Ninos and La Ninas, we only have "normal" weather about 47% of the time on the average. So much for normal! Perhaps they should introduce a new exceptional weather pattern called Normal instead!

   Starting our Red Rock hike  
  Heading out on a hike in Red Rock National Park (south of Sedona, AZ)  

After the talk we took a walk in one of the trails behind the visitors center. They have many short and nice walks with nice views of the surrounding red rocks. Shortly after we started the walk, we could see the dark cloud cover rolling our direction. Halfway into our trail, we could hear thunder. We started to rush a little bit. We then lost track of the actual trail and started to make our own trail to get back to the truck. We could see the rain start to fall on the hills a few miles away from us. We kept a brisk pace and the rain started within seconds of us returning back to the truck. None of us got wet. The rain was pretty intense as we drove back.

   Boojum Tree  
  Not exactly something you want to run through.  

We took highway 179 out from Sedona towards I17. It was a lot nicer than 89A with regards to views. We decided to take 179 to Sedona for our next visit. We drove home. We'd done a total of 80 miles today (128km) As we got off at Munds Park we tried to look for a grocery store, but there is really nothing here. We went back to the trailer and had dinner. Per cursed about not being able to start the laptop. He knew we had unread mails on it.

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