Sedona, Easter Weekend 2016


Basin Bladderpod.


As expected, Easter weekend was crowded.  But that’s life on a teacher’s schedule.  The easiest thing in the world to do is complain.  Everyone does it.  It was ridiculous back when I was working in an office environment.  I’ve never heard so much bitching and moaning about absolutely nothing.  Make the most of everyday, plan and be smart.  Of course, it’s nice to have connections and not get too caught up in all the commotion that’s Sedona on Easter vacation.  It definitely alleviates the stress normally associated with crowds.

Sedona is a true distination.  This place would be worth visiting even if there wasn’t world class mountain biking.  Living out in the burbs of San Diego, it’s not often we get down to where all the tourists hang out.  I’m not typically a big fan of tourists (or people in general), but it was refreshing to see so many Euros in Sedona.  They are always so upbeat.  It’s easy to spot them in street clothes, because they dress nothing like us.  But the tell-tale sign in biking attire is their pasty white skin!  I wasn’t going to be rude and take pictures of them so you’ll have to visualize it for yourself.



Our gracious hosts. Karen and Mark, ex-San Diegans that fit in perfectly in Sedona.


Shredding the red.


Spring has definitely sprung in Sedona.  Flowers everywhere, we should’ve really taken more photos.  Here’s a field of stinking chamomile, running fleabane, and southwestern mock vervain.


Amelia on Broken Arrow Trail.


SingleSpeed Soul. A great poster Mark had in his garage.


Bell Rock.


Ugh…the pink jeeps.


I’ve been telling Amelia selfies are yesterday’s news. In the background two 55 year old singlespeeders. One with hair, one without.


Purple Owl’s Clover. We saw fields of this beautiful flower.


Sara has a boyfriend in Sedona, Finn. She always goes for the big guys.


This dude is everywhere, yet always here.


Al’s Oasis. A very exclusive, Airstream only, two site spot. Nestled in a quiet area of Village of Oak Creek. Thank you Al!


What in the name of Mahatma Gandhi is going on here?


Courthouse Butte.


One of these two is a bad influence, and it’s not me!


There’s no denying it, Sedona is beautiful.

Lee’s Ferry


Colorado River, drinking water for millions of people.

Spellings are funny in the West. Lee’s Ferry is also known as Lees Ferry or Lee Ferry.  And you see signs in the area with all the different versions. John Lee, a Mormon settler with 17 wives (!!!) established the ferry in 1871. For decades it was the only crossing on the Colorado River.  This is also the official beginning of the Grand Canyon, and where most raft trips start.

Directly west are the Vermillion Cliffs.  The entire area is breathtaking and uncrowded.  A nice stop before we head to Sedona, which is breathtaking and crowded, but with awesome mountain bike riding.


Yes, Sara is on this trip.


A beautiful glow in Cathedral Wash.


Did we ever luck out the last time we were here, California Condors soaring and dive bombing us on the Navajo Bridge. This year we only saw one perched on the bridge trestle. We drove 30 miles away to where they release them. We saw 12 soaring, but at a distance too far to photograph. Two years ago was magical. This pic is from the release sight. It gives you an idea of how huge they are. We did see three Golden Eagles south of Fredonia on our drive.


Mallow field in Marble Canyon. That’s the Vermillion Cliffs in the background.


This cactus only grows around Marble Canyon. Nowhere else.


Brady Pincushion Cactus. So lucky to actually see one.


There isn’t any bike riding in the area, but we rode our bikes by Marble Canyon, if that makes sense. At one spot, someone or some people, set up all these rocks, as if an offering to the gods. So we didn’t dare disturb it.


Looking up at our campsite.


Mrs. Fancy Pants loves her wild flower bouquets. This one has Desert Globe Mallow, Wild Heliotrope, and Desert Marigold.


Evening at the camp site.


A peaceful morning down at the river. Somewhere right around here is where Lee’s Ferry crossed.


Sun rising and moon setting on the Vermillion Cliffs.


A tough couple of days at the office.

♥ Hurricane, Utah


Wallflower on the cliff edge of Little Creek Mesa.


Small group this year, only our friend Marlene made it out.  She left from San Diego at the same time we left from Peggy Sue’s, so we had a 160 mile head start,  yet she arrived at WillowWind RV park at the exact same time as us.  (Yes, she drives fast!)

Tradition is to hit Church Rocks the first evening, then dinner, typically the mexican joint in town, but we had to hit the Pizza Wagon, since they are only open Thursday – Saturday. And we arrived on Saturday.  As an old restauranteur, I’m fascinated by this place.  Open 12-8pm, three days a week. This is the third time I’ve blog’d about them.

We had a great ride at Church Rocks, and arrived at the Pizza Wagon at 7:20pm.  I could not believe it! No one was there, how lucky!  We hemmed and hawed at the menu, decided we should all get our own pie, and then have leftovers for breakfast.  And then the owner approached us, “I’m sorry, this is going to sound weird, but I can only cook one pizza for you. If you want three it’ll be two hours. We have our next wave coming in at 7:30pm.  They all came at 5:30pm to place their orders.”  “What?” we said kind of stunned. “I can do a half/half if that’ll help you decide.”  So, excited to get anything, we ordered a half Italian Cowboy, half pepperoni. Seven minutes later our pie was done, and the 7:30pm people were flocking in to wait for theirs.


Prices have gone up a dollar, but still really cheap for a 14 inch pizza.


The owner cooking our pizza.


When he says fresh basil, he’s not kidding!


Half Italian Cowboy, half pepperoni. Of course I couldn’t wait and had a slice before taking the picture.

We’ve been to Hurricane numerous years in a row, yet I still trip out when seeing the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints ladies.  What are they thinking?  I feel sad when I see the young girls in prairie dresses and strange hairdos, who’ll no doubt become a plural wife at fifteen.  And something is strange seeing them with iPhones, what a disconnect.  I just don’t get it.

The mountain bike riding here is fantastic.  I don’t have any hard facts handy to back it up, but I’m certain this place is becoming more and more popular.



Marlene and Amelia,  “the girls” shralping the orange red dirt at Church Rocks.


Beautiful, and so different from Gooseberry.


Amelia on Prospector Trail.


Up close look at the Gooseberry slick rock.


The girls at Gooseberry.


To make a long technical story short, I did not have a good time at Gooseberry. My chain kept slipping off while charging the steep uphills. It’s a good way to bust a nut and really hurt yourself.


WillowWind RV Park.  It’s like being in a forest of fruitless Mulberry trees. They were all getting their foliage back and dropping fluffy caterpillar looking things full of pollen.


WillowWind sunset.


Little Creek Mesa, Great form and technique


by the girls.


Happy Holidays! Here’s your 2016 Christmas card.


The girls on Holy Guacamole trail. It was a blustery day.


The girls on Guacamole Trail.

Good bye Hurricane. I’m sure we will see you again soon!




Rousted in Fontana

Well, we out smarted ourselves again.  It’s a long drive towing from San Diego to Hurricane, Utah.  So we figured we’d leave Friday at 7pm and drive three hours to Peggy Sue’s in Yermo.  The internets don’t recommend an overnight stay at the Walmart in Barstow, something about it being in the shitty part of town.  There’s a good part in Barstow?  Anyway, Yermo is only fifteen miles further.

Even at 7:30pm the traffic was brutal entering Temecula, aka The Gateway to the I.E., but that was nothing compared to the Cajon Summit.  It was the exact same, last time I was on this stretch of road, nine months ago.  Construction hell.  With a big flashing sign telling you to expect heavy congestion the next twenty miles.  At 9pm?  Amelia’s sigalert app was showing red, meaning single digit and low teens miles per hour.  Ugh, not a good start to the trip.  Amelia was coming unhinged at the prospect of sitting in more traffic so we took the next exit, turned right, right again, and right again, and ended up on a desolate street across from a new gated community in Fontana.  No parking on the street signs were everywhere, but there was a big gravel entry where phase II was likely to be built. So that’s where we stopped.  The plan was to get up at 5am, and hopefully have clear sailing up the Cajon Summit and all the way to Hurricane.


I was ninety minutes into a deep two beer fueled sleep and Amelia wakes me, “I think the cops are here, I see blue lights.”  I put my clothes on, turn on the outside light, and stepped out of the Airstream.  And there to greet me was one of Fontana’s finest.  “Are you Greg Harris?”  I was sleepy, disoriented and answered with a big, “Yes!”, as if I just won the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes, shocked that he knew my name.


I gave the polite young officer my ID.  He told me someone called in a suspicious trailer.  A few quick questions like, “Why are you here?”  “Where are you going?”  A quick run of my ID, and he said we could stay if we wanted. Ninety minutes later I was still not asleep, so I announced to Amelia and Sara, “Get up, we are going to Peggy Sue’s.”  We arrived at 2am, and slept like rocks for 5 hours.




Peggy Sue’s.


I bet the kids like Peggy Sue’s.