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Tracey Jaquith · PoohBot Pictures

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A 2000 mile roadtrip over five days for national parks, biking, and off-roading. I’d always wanted to visit Sedona - the adventurous beauty of a town!


The first day was 800 miles directly from home to Sedona, AZ. The high plain desert around the Grand Canyon area had a blizzard as we descended into Sedona. Since we had checked in under darkness, it was a delight to find out at sunrise that our hotel room had a balcony looking right out at the main show of dazzling striated red rock buttes and canyons!

It was supposed to rain - but we got lucky! So we awoke to jaw-droppingly beautiful mountain bike ride with the bikes & gear that we packed, and then watched the town roll by over a coffee.

sedona desert & rock buttes

A biker friend mentioned a trail course: Thunder Mountain => Tea Cup => Adobe Jack.

We accidentally started a bit later at the Thunder Mountain & Andante intersection. Thunder Mountain is a black diamond ◆ but Andante is an easier blue 🟦, that cuts off the worst parts of Thunder Mountain. So we did Andante and the start of Tea Cup. This took us an hour door-to-door from the hotel. We had to get used to the rocks (sometimes they move!) and pokey cacti waiting to “high five” us if we tipped off the singletrack trails.

The scenery is just OH MY GAWD. We’re biking right up at the start of the buttes - it’s like a fairy-tale!

hunter & bike downtown sedona

Delighted with our first outing, getting a coffee & treat.

tracey & hunter on bench with coffee

tracey overlooking jeep trail

After some mid-day stuff, I had the brilliant idea to figure out where all the “Pink JEEP” tours were heading off to, continuously throughout the day. So we found Schnebly Hill Road, named after Sedona’s founder. It turns into full off-road rock gardens right quick – so we had a few miles of bouncing all over the place :D

tracey & hunter offroad jeep top off

tracey & hunter with margaritas

Killer margaritas in the Southwest is highly advised.

tracey & hunter biking in sedona desert

Next morning - hoo boy did the weather flip! Gorgeous unlimited blue skies, at least ten degrees warmer.

tracey biking down rocky desert trail

We did the same start (Andante) then moved onto (gulp!) the black diamond Tea Cup trail.

Hunter got this nice shot of me in a great section right up against the rocky buttes.

tracey biking through rocks & cacti

Tea Cup turned out to be extremely hard. The entire middle section was nearly unbikeable for us.

Here you can see me a little left of center. Some sections had slippery off-camber rock sections. If you slipped, you could wind up tumbling 40 feet down a rocky slide. I missed a turn at one point and was hiking down an 8 foot drop when a foot-supporting rock crumbled. I nearly fell backward with nothing to grab on to. Needless to say, rather terrifying. We walked the roughest stuff, so we could get to the nearly blissful “Adobe Jack” trail.

bike trail with desert scrub & rocky cliffs

Adobe Jack had nice “flow” in parts (banked sides of curves), a mini forest in one part, with snow here and there. Here is the end of the trail above. It was super fun and we were so glad we had enough time to do it fully, and still make our hotel checkout time.

hunter & tracey drinking coffee, canyon view

Our second morning, end of ride. Coffee and the amazing Sedona views.

hunter & tracey in front of red rock buttes

We just finished lunch, about to leave Sedona.

Grand Canyon

tracey & hunter in front of grand canyon

Le Canyon Grande! I haven’t been here in over 35 years!

hunter & tracey in front of grand canyon

I started feeling a little “off” in the morning… so I’ve been masking indoors. I’ll find out later tonight in Las Vegas that I have the Covid virus – the first time that I know of since it started in 2020 :(

Death Valley

hunter by jeep in desert canyon

We left Las Vegas for Death Valley - a place I’ve wanted to visit for about five years now.

We started out with “Twenty Mules Team Canyon” off-road to enjoy the Jeep.

tracey & hunter in death valley

Here we are at Zabriskie Point. It reminds me of Star Wars’ Mos Eisley.

tracey & hunter in rocky golden canyon

Next is Golden Canyon – here they filmed R2D2 getting captured by Jawas in the 1977 Star Wars!

tracey by golden canyon uphill drop-in

Golden Canyon. Utinni!

death valley rocky canyon

“Artist’s Palette” off of “Artist’s Drive”. Here they filmed a wider landscape shot of R2D2 rolling through the desert (inadvertently) towards the Jawas.

tracey in front of curved canyon path

More “Artist’s Palette”.

sand dunes in front of larger mountain range

Death Valley’s Mesquite Flats dunes. Here they filmed C3PO and R2D2 getting lost in the Tatooine desert.

yellow flowers covering canyon floor

Parts of our drive showed the California “super bloom” – a flowers explosion due to the super wet winter in 2023.

Covid was disappointing but not terrible – the main effect was having less fun for our single night in Las Vegas. Otherwise, we were able to make all the parks and sights we were hoping for – and had a great time everywhere. It was a lot of driving, but also a good time to visit the Southwest before things get super hot.

Sedona really is dreamy. I’m so glad I got to see this little southwest magical town!

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tracey is a nonstop dance party. so you dont have to. dont ask me about containers. thanks for dropping by today. you look nice.