I live in a town that is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s not uncommon for people to spend thousands of dollars, (um…, I mean max out their credit cards,) and travel thousands of miles, often trapped in a car or plane with cranky, ill-tempered relatives, (um…, I mean loving family), to get here.
The Line Into Sedona
Sedona is a physically beautiful place, usually blessed with a deep blue and relatively clear sky, gorgeously peaceful Oak Creek, (unless the campers upstream are peeing in it and throwing trash,) plenty of red rocks that the tourists haven’t stolen as souvenirs yet and at least twenty to thirty illegal immigrants, er…, I mean ‘local labor force’, standing on the main drag two blocks from city hall and the cop station.
You can mountain bike here, play golf or just hang out at any number of ‘resorts’ that will be happy to charge three hundred dollars a night, sometimes for a room no larger than the master bedroom closet back at your house. (By the way, don’t forget to get your hot-rock, aroma therapy, crystal vortex, chakra-aligning massage just before your complimentary breakfast of stale croissants and instant coffee. We’ll throw in a free ‘aura reading’ to tell you which trail you should be on today.)
You can hike here too. Everybody here does it. You know how I know that? Because you hear it everywhere you go. Just the other day I was sitting in my vehicle at one of the pedestrian crossings in uptown. Three women in flip-flops, cargo shorts and carrying at least two shopping bags apiece were crossing in front of me. All three of them were on their cell phones. The middle one was busy texting and was apparently being herded, seeing-eye dog style, across the street by the other two. The one closest to me spoke to her phone. “Oh, we’re hiking Sedona!
One of my favorite places to visit was always Slide Rock State Park. It used to look like this.
Now it looks like this on a slow day.
The tourism honchos here would not like me telling you that access to Slide Rock State Park is now very similar to getting on a ride at Disney World. (Bring provisions and make sure your car’s AC is in tip-top shape. We have found entire families mummified in their cars at the back of the line.) It’s not uncommon to see a long line of cars stretching a mile or more in both directions on 89A waiting just to get in the park. The hotter the day, the longer the line. And don’t forget, you cannot leave your vehicle anywhere on US Forestry land, including all the trailheads, without your vaunted Red Rock Pass, otherwise known as Sedona’s Parking Permit. If you do, the local meter maids, um…, I mean US Forestry rangers, will actually give you a parking ticket. (And to think they could be doing something useless like, I don’t know, stopping local contractors from dumping on Forest Land.)
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for the cops because the dingbat behind you slammed into you because he “thought you were moving”, this is where you’ll find them.
Waiting for the old ladies who live in Sedona to wake up and make them some pie.
You may be fortunate enough to ‘run into’ one of the many locals here who like to drive,
Pick one of the following;
A: While talking/texting on their phone
B: Under the influence of alcohol, prescription meds or both
C: While trying to unwrap and eat their organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, grain-free, bean sprout, baby spinach, no dressing, low fat, soy based, vegetarian taco.
D: All of the above.
This could easily happen on one of Sedona’s thoroughly antiquated side streets like this one.
If that happens, fourteen of ‘Sedona’s finest’ will suddenly appear out of nowhere, two of whom will ‘know the other driver’ and promptly collaborate with him/her to write up a report blaming you.
I like it here so much that I finally broke down and bought a house. My local real estate agent, who also works as a postal carrier, a part-time cashier at Basha’s and has a home-grown Ebay business, had been urging me for years to “buy something” while the market was hot. “You’re buyin’ the red dirt, not the house! That’s where the money is!” (That’s an actual quote.)
So here’s a shot of my new house.
It only cost me a half million and it’s a bit of a fixer-upper. All I have to do is get four more part-time jobs at eight bucks an hour and I can start throwing some money at this baby.
Why, in two or three centuries I’ll bet this sweet little place will double in value. And if it crumbles, well, just remember, it’s all about the ‘red dirt’.
I hope you all come visit sometime.
Ethan Holmes is the author of five books including his latest release, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone.