Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: USA Road Trip 2011

At leisure in Sedona

I had a so-called continental breakfast at the main restaurant in the Hilton, although in this interpretation there were absolutely no cold meats, cheeses, or even - wait for it - bread! Oh well, I thought, coffee and pastries it is then. However I could see other patrons enjoying hearty cooked breakfasts and I resolved to re-think the use of my vouchers the following day.

First stop when I set off was the nearby small collection of designer factory outlets in Oak Creek Village, where a couple of heavily discounted items at Tommy Hilfiger clearly had my name on them.

With that sense of satisfaction that always comes from picking up a bargain in the USA, I set off again for Upper Sedona. 
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Upper Sedona was the most touristy part of this Arizona town which, most curiously for anywhere in the USA, appeared to have fallen in love with the roundabout. Almost every major intersection had one and, even more remarkably, they were actually called roundabouts, rather than traffic circles. If you asked anyone for directions - and I did on a couple of occasions - the reply tended to be along the lines of: "Take a right at the third roundabout and then a left at the second one after that." It was interesting how many drivers, presumably visitors and not entirely confident of the rules, treated them with mistrust and hesitation. Having successfully negotiated numerous examples like a true European pro, I parked the car and enjoyed walking around the main street on foot. There were lots of tourists and, as ever on this trip, most of them appeared to be German. In due course I had a very nice Mexican lunch at the Taos Cantina, which more than made up for the deficiencies of breakfast.

Moving on, I visited the Brewer Road viewpoint and then the Airport Road viewpoint, then drove the Red Rock loop road before finally continuing to nearby Cottonwood. I made a stop at Old Town Cottonwood, but wasn't particularly impressed. Resuming the shopping theme, the town's branch of JC Penney was next on the agenda, where I made a further two heavily discounted purchases before continuing back to the Hilton on the I-17 route. I had intended to stop at the attraction known as Montezuma's Castle, but was discouraged by the rain that had started to fall in conjunction with some nearby forked lightning.

After a period of relaxation, I had another room service dinner based on a very tasty pork chop. I watched a riveting National Geographic special called Aftermath: Population Zero. Based on the highly questionable scenario of all human life on earth disappearing in an instant, this lengthy programme examined how a combination of natural forces and the unravelling of mankind's legacy would change and eventually reclaim the planet over a period of days, years, decades and centuries, until eventually all trace of our existence would disappear. When this was over, I found myself becoming caught up in watching President Obama's American Jobs Act speech, amid much speculation over a supposedly "specific, credible but unconfirmed" threat against the United States timed to coincide with the forthcoming tenth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity.

More specific breaking news came in the form of a text from my friend Bruce in San Diego, advising of a massive power outage affecting Southern California along with parts of Arizona and Baja California in Mexico - not good news at all given that I was bound for San Diego the very next day! I also received contradictory texts from US Airways on the status of my flights. I decided not to panic until things had settled down a bit and the situation had become a little clearer.

Thursday 08 Sep

Miles driven: 75

Trip to date: 1908

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