Saturday, June 25, 2005

View from Chapel of the Holy Cross – Trip Day: 1

I took this picture near the end of our first day of our trip. I was standing in the upper parking area of the chapel.

By this time it had been a loooong day. We began at 4am in Charleston. Jane and I had dressed the kids before putting them to bed— so we could let them sleep as long as possible. After meeting up with Mom and Dad, we got to the airport at a little before 5am.

It was the first airplane flight for Heyward, Zander and Virginia. When traveling with the kids, for the most part, Jane deals with the kids, and I deal with the stuff. It's a pretty good deal— for me. Jane gets understandably stressed out as the kids tend to be incessant with whatever their demands may be.

In Atlanta I bought a big sticky mess of cinnamon buns just to tempt fate (sugar rush for the kids just before the long flight). We touched down in Phoenix, AZ, about 9:30am local time. It took a while in the airport to pick up the minivan.

The first thing everybody noticed when we stepped outside was how hot it felt. It was only later that we realized that, while it truly felt hot, you didn't get hot. What they say about dry-heat is really true. The arid air allows your body to cool much more efficiently than it does here in Charleston's humidity. Of course, dehydration is a greater danger because you lose moisture without every really perspiring (it evaporates so quickly).

The minivan was great— a Ford Freestar. We were able to fit all seven of us, plus our luggage, etc., inside without resorting to a car-top carrier. We immediately got lost.

Our first outing was to a restaurant in Phoenix, Marie Callender's, for our first real meal of the day. From there we took off for Flagstaff, hoping that the sites we wanted to see would not be far off the road.

The drive through Arizona at first was fairly flat, with classic saquaro cactus littering the landscape. As we climbed we began to notice damage from wild fires, and the tall cactus thinned out and finally vanished. Then we began to see outcroppings of rock, and the terrain became more hilly.

The first sightseeing stop was Castle Montezuma — neither a castle, nor a place Montezuma ever visited. We were all a bit shell-shocked, and so didn't get much out of it. It is a very small, single, cliff-dwelling. The kids wondered what the point was. We moved on quickly.

The next stop was in the valley near Sedona— the opposite side of the structures you see in this photo. We stopped along the route to Sedona a few times to take pictures.

Our final stop was at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The chapel was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and is quite impressive both in it's appearance and location. We didn't stay very long, wanting to get to the hotel and get settled in as quickly as possible.


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