Places I’ve Been – Sedona Part IV (Finale, yay!)

One thing I can’t talk about much of Sedona is places to eat although I know there are plenty of good restaurants. It’s never a priority for us once we get there. We’ll take a picnic lunch and eat at Crescent Moon Ranch or bring along some trail mix and snacks to eat while we hike. This time, though, we did a lot of hiking right through lunch and decided to get something to eat before we went up to Airport Mesa to watch the sun set.

Vortini Menu Kathy had seen a place called “The Barking Frog” as we were headed out to Fay Canyon and thought that maybe we should try that, but as we headed back into town we forgot where it was until we had passed it. I decided to go to the one place I had eaten before that I never forgot, The Red Planet Diner. I knew the burgers and the milkshakes there are good, the service is mediocre, the decor is both unique and a little bit tacky – just the kind of place I like. Like most restaurants in Sedona they have big windows that provide views of the marvelous red rocks. They also have a  “Vortini” menu to fit the theme along with things like the “Roswell Burger” to eat.

When we got there Gustavo greeted us and took us to one side of the restaurant, presumably to show us where we couldn't eat because someone was coming to fix the sink and it might be too loud, then took us back to door where we had entered and asked us where we'd like to sit. We soon learned he was both our host and waiter. In fact he seemed to be the only one there besides the guests at two other tables until the plumbers showed up. It was 3:30 in the afternoon so maybe that was why it wasn’t too crowded. Kathy had the turkey wrap. I had a hot pastrami sandwich. We weren’t too rushed because we had plenty of time to get to Airport Mesa. Kathy took some pictures of the place while I munched on my fries because that’s the kind of place it is. I found a little virtual tour on YouTube which I think will give you an idea of what I’ve been trying to describe.

Here are my cousin’s Red Planet Diner photos

After eating we stopped at a little crystal shop but didn't find anything we liked there so decided to head on up to Airport Mesa even though the sun wouldn't be setting for another hour or so. I had never been there either, and I didn’t realize it was at the top of a winding steep two lane road that takes you high above the city. This would have been good to know before hand  (or maybe not) since I’m afraid of heights. The elevation change is about 200 ft. That may not seem like much, but as we ascended and the ground disappeared off the shoulderless road to my right I could feel my grip getting tighter on the steering wheel. Eventually we came to the parking lot (relief!), and tourists had already started gathering with their cameras to photograph the panoramic view of Red Rock country. Some people brought bottles of wine and snacks. This was a little disconcerting to me as I recalled the twisting narrow road back to the bottom.

skyranchlodge Just past the parking lot was Sky Ranch Lodge. We had made reservations here once and planned to stay the night so we could take pictures of both sunrise and sunset, but then my cousin had to schedule back surgery and we had to cancel our trip. After discovering its location, I have to admit I was a little relieved. I don’t know if my heart could have handled making that trip up the hill everyday. I had no idea it was so close to Airport Mesa and so high in the sky.

thunder_mountain2 The only problem was that it had become very overcast by now. Chances looked good that the sun would stay hidden, but by now you know us well enough to know that didn’t stop us from taking pictures anyway. We set up our tripods and snapped away, taking pictures of Chimney Rock, Thunder Mountain (a.k.a. Capitol Butte), and Coffee Pot Rock. I’m sure we were hoping to get that one unforgettable photo. My cousin, the sky person, may have because she has an eye for it, but I just took picture after picture hoping one of them would look halfway decent and not be washed out by the gray sky. When we finally decided the sun was going to set behind the clouds, we made our way back down the hill which wasn't so bad because I was on the inside lane close to the mountain.

This, as many other things I saw today, was a good reminder for me of who really owns this planet. There would be another sunset and someday we’d be here to take a picture of it. In between now and then, many others would be witness to this breathtaking awesomeness that is nature. It had been a perfect day even if the weather hadn’t cooperated in the end. Driving back home we saw some amazing sky as we got farther South, but there was never a place to pull over and take a picture. Eventually it was gone, and Sedona was in the rearview mirror fading fast from view behind us. I was going to try and remember it and make the memories last. Until next time.

3 Responses
  1. Nancy Says:

    It sounds like you guys had a wonderful time..lots of good memories. Great pictures and loved the commentary on the Red Planet Diner!!!

  2. Cathi Says:

    Great story and, would love to go there someday! Have a great day, working girl! xxoo

  3. Kathy Says:

    Sigh! One of the best days I have ever had! Your narrative rocks (get it)?

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