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The Road Less Traveled

On a routine trip to Arizona, Kevin and I found ourselves with a "free day". We got up early that morning and headed north, to Sedona, in a small SUV.

Sonoma AZ

After a bit of hiking in one of the state parks, Kevin decided he had been active enough and the remainder of the day would need to be a scenic drive. To add some "adventure" to our trip, he chose a destination that could only be accessed via gravel road. (Put a man in an SUV - no matter how small it is - and he can't seem to help putting it to the test.) The park newspaper recommended the "less traveled" path and claimed the reward was a terrific view; so, I agreed to Kevin's plan.

Past Sedona, heading toward Flagstaff, a small marker directed us to the gravel road. The newspaper said to drive 4.5 miles to another road that would lead us to our scenic and peaceful landscape.

While Kevin drove, I questioned the term "gravel." We experienced the jolt of many rocks that seemed more bolder like, then gravel like. There were also some pretty good sized pot holes. I listened to the occasional "bottom scraping noise" and wondered how the rental car company would feel about our choice of destinations. As the car jiggled and bumped down the path, I was reminded that a mile of road feels much longer when the surface isn't paved.

Finally we reached the second road. We took a look down the path and wondered how much farther it would be. The directions ended with "take this road" - no hint of how far away or where to look for the terrific views. We decided that meant the scenery promised was close by. We continued on, expecting that our destination would reveal itself around the next corner... and the next corner, and the next. The road was dirt and mud and there were some areas that made us wonder if we'd make it though; but, we continued - with the scenic reward in mind.

At one point we came to an area where the road was a series of very questionable squishy mud holes. I was nervous to drive through them. (I'd watched this scene on tv sitcoms. I had no desire to be stuck in the mud in the middle of no where.) But, Kevin was determined. He directed the vehicle toward the area that seemed the least likely to sink and he stepped on the gas. I am happy to report that he made it.

Continuing toward our goal (the awesome view) the road seemed to continually get rougher. "This had better be SOME view!" We both agreed.

Then, after what seemed like an additional 5 miles, when the very bumpy road turned into a down hill mud slide, Kevin decided it was time to abandon our goal. At the end of the path our little rental was caked with thick mud and the reward for our dedication was a let down.

We turned the vehicle around and made our way back through all the bumps and mud holes. We were disappointed not to have that moment of quiet reflection in the company of spectacular views; but, glad we made it back to the main road without getting mud on our shoes.

On the highway back to Phoenix there was a sign that said "scenic overlook." Kevin took the exit and parked the car. It was a short walk to the viewing spot. The evening sunlight rested on the hills in the distance. Cows feed on green grass in the valley below. Though we were surrounded by people, there seemed to be a peaceful quality to that place.

I generally think of "peaceful" being a companion to solitude; but, life is full of changing views. This one taught me that sometimes it is better to look for a peaceful spot where many others have traveled before. 

(Kevin washed the car before dropping it back to the rental company.)

Shared by Tami Potter on January 31, 2012 | Memory Date: May 4, 2011
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I loved this trip. It was so fun driving and seeing all that beautiful scenery.
Posted By: Kevin Potter  |  January 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm   
Loved the story and the picture was great whether it was at the overlook or not!
Posted By: Julie Oconnor  |  February 1, 2012 at 12:05 am   
If we had seen the view pictured above in the end, yes, it would have been worth it. However, I took that photo before the bumpy part of our adventure. It is a gorgeous area. I hope to go back again at some point (see the stuff we missed while we were "chasing" the elusive view.) :)
Posted By: Tami Potter  |  January 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm   
Stories like thesee are always funnier when someone else is having this kind of fun...not so much when it's you in the middle of a hot day in the middle of no where, awaiting the grand payoff of a breath taking sight! Been in enough of them to know!! That photo, however is well worth it...or was that the "overlook"? Would love to make this trip someday! I'll ask you before I go though to find out which scenic markers to pass up!!!
Posted By: Andrea Fisher  |  January 31, 2012 at 3:21 am   

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