San Diego, CA to Sedona, AZ / 2016-07-14

Brooke and I awoke at 4:45 AM to get a head start on our road trip to Sedona, AZ.  We had loaded the baggage into the car the night before, so it was just a matter of grabbing the rest of our stuff and putting four sleeping kids into the car.  To this point, we had stayed at 8 different places (hotels, vacation homes, etc.) on this trip and still had one more to go.  That means, packing and unpacking at least that many times and the chance for misplacing and/or forgetting things.  To our knowledge, here are some of the items that we did forget on this trip:

1.  Brooke’s favorite super soft and warm turkish throw
2.  All of the moonstones and cool rocks we found at Moonstone Beach
3.  The toffee we had purchased at Sweetbricks.
Within 30 minutes, we had loaded the car with bags and kids and were on our way out of California and over to Arizona.  We made it all the way to El Centro, CA (about 2 hours) before our first stop for breakfast at McDonald’s.  We continued on, attempting to stick to our goal of just making it to Sedona, AZ as soon as possible because the route didn’t offer much to suggest stopping.  There were a few times in California where the interstate veered south enough to hug the border between the US and Mexico and we did see some fencing and walls.  One time, we were stopped at a near border security check, where we were allowed to pass through with hardly even making a full stop.  This was less security than when we attended the 4th of July party at the CBS Studios.  I am certain that our car full of kids and luggage along with our Florida Driver License didn’t arouse much suspicion.  And, when first crossing into Arizona, we witnessed some amazing sand dunes.  Figuring that these dotted the landscape, we decided to drive on and experience them later.  Alas, these were the only ones we encountered.  We did see numerous cacti, similar to the stereotyped ones you would see in a dessert.  We resolved ourselves to grab a picture of these at some point as well (which we never did either).
We approached the greater Phoenix area near lunch time and decided to make a stop at Cracker Barrel.  We had been spoiled by the weather on the California coast for the past 3+ weeks with the exception of a couple of days in Yosemite where the temps approached 100 degrees.  However, we were fully unprepared for what we encountered when stepping out onto the asphalt parking lot of Cracker Barrel and experiencing Arizona 106 degree heat at lunch time.  Brooke took the girls inside quickly, while I got Weston into his clothes (and out of pajamas).  By the time I made it into the restaurant I was overheated and did not cool down, despite some aggressive AC and mister fans, until just before we left.  The overheating even dampened my appetite, which I knew I would regret later.  After lunch, we made our way through Phoenix and then headed north toward Sedona.  In total, the driving time was 7 hours and the kids actually did wonderful.  We arrived at our Sedona, AZ vacation home and were amazed.
Because I had to book this vacation home sort of last minute, I had talked to the owner a few times on the phone to clarify our stay and the details of the house.  One of the comments that kept coming up about the house was the windy and steep driveway to ascend in getting to the house and that larger and longer vehicles had difficulty making it.  Now, I am not used to driving on mountains and we were arriving in a very large, heavy Ford Expedition EXL and I stressed about not only the trip up, but also the trip down this driveway.  The owner reassured me that I would have no issues, in fact, when his grandmother had lived there, she used to drive her Cadillac up and down the driveway in the snow at the advance age of 85.  Encouraged (I think), we braved the driveway and the payoff was well worth.  This house was amazing.
The exterior of the vacation home
Sedona, AZ is known for their red rock mountains and we saw a great many heading into town.  The house was perched on top of an overlook with 360 degree views of the surrounding red rocks and the town below.
The girls with the view from the porch of the vacation home
The house was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and it took advantage of the views and the landscape with amazing views from outside and inside the house, where floor to ceiling windows adorned the living room.  Inside the house, it was kept probably just as it was left some years ago.
View from the Living Room
Living room
The decorations, designs and personal effects all took us back to the 60’s immediately.  The dishes, probably wedding presents, were a set from Neiman Marcus and were most likely antiques themselves.
The office boasted so many old books and artifacts it was like being in a high end used book store.  The bedrooms were furnished with retro furnishings and the items left in the closet (like a luggage set) might have been from the 40’s.
One wall in the office
It was amazing to just explore and be able to utilize those items to imagine what life must have been like.  We learned that the original owners were a professors from New York and his socialite wife.
After a full exploration of our home for the next two nights, we decided to utilize the remaining daylight hours to explore the countryside.  We ended up at Red Rock Crossing and used the double stroller to explore the trails and creeks.  The kids played in a very cold creek at which the backdrops seemed unreal.
The mountainous red rocks with a premature moon over set alongside a crystal clear creek, captured the spirituality for which the area is known.
It was good to be out of the car, playing at this park and we enjoyed every minute we could until it closed.  While we had sought out some amazing eateries along the way of this trip, we had purposefully avoided higher end places, mainly for the cost relative to the kids enjoyment (and their expected behavior) at such places.  However, this night, we decided to indulge at The Hudson yelp_icon.  We were not disappointed.  Not only was the food superb, but the kids behaved and ate well.  We devoured a cheese and fruit plate and every meal was enjoyed to the last bite.  Satisfied (and complimented on our kids’ behavior many times), we headed to Whole Foods to grab a few items for the next day for breakfast and lunches.  Knowing that it had been a long day of traveling for us all, we headed back to the vacation home, watched the sunset and the stars appear, and then headed to an early bedtime with plans of visiting the Grand Canyon tomorrow.
This is day 24 on our California Road Trip Summer 2016.  Make sure to check out the entire trip!

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