We woke up at 6am and after getting ready for the day, walked around the property of our hotel for a little while.

Front of the hotel

View from the back of the hotel

Joe in front of Oak Creek, which runs parallel to the hotel property

After exploring, we met everyone for a buffet breakfast of eggs Benedict, breakfast potatoes, sausage, bacon, yogurt, pastries, breads, fresh fruit, hot and cold cereal, coffee, loose teas and juices.

After a brief return to our rooms, we all met up outside the hotel lobby to begin our jeep tour of rock formations. Our friend Jack, plus 2 other cowboys named Taz and Rock drove us in 3 jeeps from the Red Rock Jeep Tour into the Sedona rock formations. We made a few stops for some picture-taking spots, as well as at an abandoned moonshiners’ cabin. All along, the guys taught us about the local trees, cactus, plants and snakes.

The 4WD vehicles they used for the tour

Sedona red rock formation

Rock, Joe, Jack, Me, Taz

Joe and I with rock formations in the background

All of us

Now when you pick a pawpaw or a prickly pear….

Ruins of the Van Deren (moonshiners’) cabin

Take paradise and put up a parking lot (or in this case, a golf course behind the Van Deren cabin)

Our next stop was the Sedona Heritage Museum, which included a red rock Historic Landmark home and apple packing shed, as well as examples of period equipment and artifacts. They also served our lunch here, which included salad, sandwich, chips, a cookie and bottled water. Jack and Rock entertained us with demonstrations of the life of cowboys – focusing on their clothing, equipment, and working with horses and steers.

After lunch we broke up into two groups to work on local arts and crafts. Joe and I had the opportunity to make corn husk dolls and then Joe make a soap carving of a Pippi (grin).

Sharon and her hydrocephalic corn husk doll

Joe and his Thalidomide corn husk doll

The soap carvers at work

Tom the bus driver picked us up a few minutes before 2pm to bring us back to the hotel. Chris and Mike shmoozed with each couple to make sure that we all had plans for our “on our own time” that was scheduled to occur for the rest of the day. They had some really helpful ideas and suggestions for places to visit and where to eat.

Joe and I went back to our room to take a quick nap. Although Joe was quickly in Dreamland, I never actually quite fell asleep, but truly enjoyed the 90 minutes of relaxation in the super-comfy bed.

From 4:30pm until about 7:00pm, we partook in one of my favorite (and Joe’s least favorite) activities, shopping in crap shops. It actually wasn’t as bad as it could have been, because I have little interest in Native American art and even less in New Age crystal stuff, which excluded about 75% of the stores in the area. But give me a store that sells T-shirts, magnets and/or Christmas decorations and I’m like a kid in a candy store…while Joe is in hell. So we eventually settled on compromise of “Sharon will browse around the store while Joe stays outside, taking pictures of the rock formations.” It worked well for us (grin).

Crap shops with rock formations in the background

Sharon in her element: SHOPPING! And you know what I LOVE about the desert? No frizzy hair!

Red rocks during sunset

Joey after 2.5 hours of shopping

We headed back to the hotel around 7, dropped off our (ahem, mostly “my”) new treasures, and got one of he bellman guys to bring us to the restaurant we had chosen for dinner, Dahl & DiLuca. Joe had actually “found” the restaurant online while researching the trip ad it was a frontrunner for where we would eat on Sunday night. When Mike, one of our Adventure Guides recommended it when Joe asked for a place “where the locals eat” (as opposed to where they tell the tourists to eat), he was pretty sure it was a good bet. When we talked to the Concierge about it and she said we couldn’t do any better, he was even more sure. When we bumped into Mike and Chris AT the restaurant (this is their last Southwest Splendor tour of the season, so they were treating themselves), he KNEW it was going to be awesome. And was it ever! I ordered the Tortellini Lisetta (fresh-made tortellini with a Portobello cream sauce) with mushroom cream sauce while Joe got the shrimp and scallops in a Limoncello sauce and WOW, were they both AMAZING! We shared an Amaretto Creme Brulee for dessert and again, just totally incredible. Probably one of the best meals we have ever had. Joe loved the food so much that he even got a piece of carrot cake “to go” to settle those 3am hunger pangs (I told him to save me a mouthful of the frosting).

Our wake up call for Monday was for 5am, with a 7am pick-up of our luggage, so after Stuart picked us up and we went back to the hotel, we repacked our stuff, finished this blog, and called it a night.

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