Hectic Sedona

Saturday, November 25
Cottonwood, AZ

Well, after my peaceful Thanksgiving, Black Friday was impossible and crazy. First off, in the morning when I went to fill the fresh water tank the spout thing that connects to the other spout thing that goes into the tank (why this could not be ONE FUCKING PIECE is beyond me but NOOOOO) came off in my hand. I was trying to figure out a way to get it back together with no luck when, fortunately, two guys came along behind me. One thing about this trip that I cannot explain but am so grateful for is the way that when I need help, somebody usually materializes. It gives even me a bit more faith in humanity. Anyway, it took two of them but they got it sort of together, phew! It needs to be really fixed and I suspect I will be the one fixing it, soon. However! Onward!

Got to Flagstaff, which everyone said I would love. I did not love it. The drivers there were all rude and horrible – granted, it was Black Friday and everybody hates that. I got beeped at and thrown the bird and etc. so I thought, OK, I’ll go immediately on to Sedona and it will be better.

HA HA! IT IS TO LAUGH HYSTERICALLY AND THEN WEEP A BIT!

The road into Sedona is beautiful. It is two lanes, hairpin curves, 1000 feet straight down into a canyon and it’s packed, or, at least on Black Friday, it’s packed. Bumper to bumper and cars parked along the sides and healthy fit people irritatedly walking to the trailheads and traffic behind me honking and traffic in front of me slowing down and FUCK THIS it was horrible. Once I got into Sedona proper it was even worse: think downtown Atlanta. Think NYC. Think worse than Asheville and yet, like Asheville, full of oblivious gawking tourists in T-shirts and shorts. It’s also hot here and I take heat as a personal insult. I drove slowly, oh so slowly, through Sedona thinking I HATE THIS I HATE YOU ALL I HATE THE WORLD and then, okay, yesterday was the day Felicity was going to go OFF THE GRID. Boondocking all the way! Public lands! Free camping! Because a) I have to save money and b) every single campsite within 50 miles of Sedona was fully booked except for one lady in Cottonwood Arizona who said I could dry camp – no hookups at all – for $20.

I’m cooler than that, I said and that is how I found myself practically weeping on the side of a dirt road in the middle of fuck all nowhere, 30 miles and counting from Sedona. Fucked, flustered and far from home: turning a truck and camper around is HARD. It takes SPACE. There isn’t much space on tiny dirt roads in the Arizona mountains but there is a surprising amount of traffic. Most of whom managed to look angrily at me as they sprayed me with dust on their way by and only one who stopped to give me bad, if friendly, directions to a town I don’t want to visit. Anyway, I never found a campsite. Or I never found a campsite I recognized as such. If there had been even one other camper or something, anything, indicating that hey, this is a place it is okay for you to stay. You will not get arrested by rangers or eaten by bears or ritually sacrificed by unemployed cult members. But just stopping on the side of the road seemed. . . like a recipe for disaster or at least ultimate paranoia. Thus I finally, finally managed to turn around and decided to go the $20 dry camp route.

And the Garmin led me wrong again, so I turned at the wrong place down a dirt farm track and had to turn the whole rig around AGAIN and thus by the time I got to my “campsite” – it’s a dirt parking lot behind a taco truck right on the highway that zooms all night long – I was not a happy camper. It had been six hours since I left Homolovi for what should have been a two and a half hour drive.

Now I’m in a coffee shop in Cottonwood listening to a guy describe a horrifying motorcycle accident. But there is wifi and I plugged the laptop in. I unhitched, left Amelia by the taco truck and have decided to stay in my parking lot for another night. I’m actually going to try to see Sedona AND connect with my old friend who lives here. At least I hope!

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