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Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dear Sedona

Well overdue is this collection of observations and thanks to everyone, everything and every place that made the recent visit to Sedona a memorable one.

To the soldier at O’Hare,
Camouflage fatigues, a small, pink roll-a-board in tow, wearing a Hello Kitty backpack. Now that was a demonstration of bravery and execution of duty that went above and beyond. Thank you. For everything you and your fellow soldiers have done. I hope you had a great trip.

To National Car Rental,
You know, I just may have forgotten to pick up the car at the Phoenix airport save for your “friendly reminder” email. Makes me wonder how far I would have gotten on foot before I realized it.

To the Cozy Cactus Bed and Breakfast,
The Cowboy Hideaway Suite was great. Movie cowboy pictures and the little rug that looked like a pair of cowboy boots were nice touches. But I was not won over – it is still the pirate’s life for me. Not Roy Rogers or Gene Autry or Tom Mix; no, just call me Jack. Captain Jack.

To the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village,
Tlaquepaque? Not that this in an issue, you understand, but what if I had to stop and ask for directions? My midwestern, nee southern, speech patterns could not begin to deal with “Tlaquepaque.” I’m glad you were right on Highway 179 coming into town.

To Red Robin,
Your commercials are, well, annoying. But I have to give it to you, the burgers are really good. “Reeedddd ROBIN!”

To Rene,
How ever did you come to be located in an as-far-from-France-as-you-can-get place named Tlaquepaque? Nonetheless, what a nice restaurant.

To the lady singing from atop the red rocks,
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound... What a pleasant surprise, to hear that sweet sound wafting down from the red rock formations. It just made my morning. I trust you were blessed by the experience, as well.

To the Quil twins,
You got me through Day and Ny(te). It’s no fun being sick while you are away from home, but I’ll have to say, you guys helped.

To the guitar player at Rene,
You had me at the Adagio from Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez. It is haunting, moving and all-in-all, one of my favorite pieces. A nice touch to a pleasant evening at Rene

To Masked Rider wine,
You were chosen for the label. Just so you know.

To northern Arizona,
Nice touch, what with the rain and sleet and snow and wind and closed highways. Just like winter. But, as I have noted elsewhere in this blog, for that, I could have stayed in Wisconsin. Just so you know.

But weather not withstanding, it was an interesting three days in a beautiful place. With any luck, there will be another visit. And this time, we WILL make it to Jerome.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For This I Could Have Stayed in Wisconsin

You live in Wisconsin. When it comes time to take a break, you generally think, "South!" So, we were off to Arizona for the week between Christmas and New Year's day. In all fairness (I do want to be fair, you know), the first two days in Oak Creek were just gorgeous. Let's pause here for a minute and consider what I just said. The Oak Creek thing. I know I've talked about Sedona, but technically (means "in reality"), we stayed in the small town of Oak Creek, about 5 miles south of Sedona. Anyway, as well ensconced in the south as we were, it was quite a surprise to hear the weather forecast on Tuesday evening. Full of words like cold, snow, sleet, wind, blizzard, chains, road closings. Things were going to go north in a hurry.

Wednesday dawned, I think - it was so foggy that it was really hard to tell for sure - to a wet, blustery beginning and only got more unpleasant as the day wore on. Now I will have to say, much like the seacoast on a stormy day, there was a certain rough character to the countryside as it stood up against the winter onslaught. We took it in, often from the comfort of the rental car, but it wasn't what we had come for.

Nonetheless, the entire short week was a blast. The Red Rock area is spectacular and we were appropriately cozy in The Cozy Cactus bed and breakfast. And, even with all of the weather warnings and road closings (I40, I17 were closed north of us), we had no problems getting around and making our way back to Phoenix on Thursday. We did miss going up to Jerome, though, so I guess we'll have to go back sometime. I'm OK with that.

Here are some, if not rare, at least unusual pictures of a cold, damp, snowy Sedona area.

And THIS is what Arizona SHOULD look like: