Last Wednesday, cousin Bonnie and friend Chelle arrived for a few days. Judy, Bonnie and Chelle usually get together for a weekend, normally cultural, somewhere around the country. This time it was to be Sedona. They started their cultural weekend with margarittas then dinner at the Enchantment resort. Ladies Only. I stayed home to watch the Bruins. They had a great time catching up.
The next day we had a pretty full schedule. We started the day at the Airport Cafe for breakfast then drove to Walnut Canyon which is another National Park noted for its ruins of cliff dwellings. Unlike Mesa Verde, you are able to walk along and through many of the ruins (once you hike down the 240 steps to trail). There are ancient ruins in more or less good condition all over the area. Many are in parks but there are still many just out in the wilderness. You may have heard me say that before.
Here they are inspecting accomodations for next year. Looks pretty solid.
Later, they posed with their friend Barbie who always joined Judy, Bonnie, Chelle and their friend Cathy on their trips. Sadly, Cathy passed away recently but her daughter sent Barbie on to continue the tradition.
The cultural excursion continued at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Besides its permanent exhibit of the history of the settlement of the southwest, there was a terrific exhibit of water colors and oils by Gunnar Widforss, a Swede, who painted the southwest landscapes in the early 1900's. There were excellent paintings of the Grand Canyon and other notable landscapes of the area. (no photos allowed). Then lunch, of course.
The next day, the ladies went to Jerome for part of the day. Having been there a few times already, I stayed home to finish a painting I had started earlier. This was one I began one morning looking across towards the east near downtown Sedona. (if you've been here, Snoopy Rock is just to the right). The sun was coming up and all the formations were back lit. The photo isn't the greatest. I was pleased the way it turned out.
Saturday was the highlight of the trip. It was just packed with adventures. Bonnie, who won the NCAA pool took some of her winnings and she and Chelle booked a sightseeing flight in a red bi-plane. Here are the two Red Baronesses all ready to take off.
This is a great shot from the plane of Cathedral Rock from the air.
This is what Cathedral Rock looked like later in the day from ground level.
Here is another great shot from the cockpit. I love the look of this one.
Finally, the three pilots make their way back to the hanger after a tough flight.
But, the day was not over. We planned on a picnic at our favorite spot out near Sycamore Canyon. We passed by our favorite cadaver which was still there, although less of it. We set up our chairs to read/sketch and things went well until Chelle stood up and walked into a Prickly Pear Cactus. She nearly fell into it but regained her balance. I would have taken a photo but I had to go get the first aid kit to find the tweezers. Chelle and Bonnie pulled out dozens of big and small cactus spines. Blood was flowing everywhere...well not everywhere, but it was flowing. The bleeding stop pretty quickly. Things were getting back to normal when Judy came back from her hike with a big needle sticking out of her surgery scar. I figured we needed a photo of that. Curt Schilling isn't the only one with a "bloody sock".
Otherwise, the landscape was beautiful as usual. We really like this spot. This spot is where we normally turn around and then "park" on the side of the dirt road near the little canyons.
We finished off the day with dinner at Heartline. Normally, a great place to eat but we are finding that it is slipping in quality and service. However, Barbie enjoyed her dessert.
Alas, the trip was too short. The next morning, after breakfast, Bonnie and Chelle headed to the airport for their trip home. One final check of the directions was fortuitous as they would have been headed in the opposite direction from Phoenix. But, they both made it home safe and sound, although Bonnie's luggage did not.