We spend 6 days driving around northern Arizona.

First day - first saguaro cactus sightingInstead of the compact car we'd reserved, we ended up with this minivan at no extra charge. Pretty convenient.

Our first stop was the archeology experiment/commune of Arcosanti, started in the early 70's and still being worked on. We took a little tour with a woman who lived and worked there.This is a model of the current and planned version of Arcosanti. What's currently built is outlined in black string.

They sell a lot of ceramic goods, as well as brass. These particular things are ceramic time capsules, which will be embedded into a wall - the white pipe thing is meant to be filled with artifacts.An open air area. If I understood correctly, these were built by piling up huge mounds of dirt, and then pouring concrete over it.

The tour guide (on the right) explaining the history of the place.One of the earliest structures built.

It was set in a beautiful area, with canyons behind itNot many people lived there permanently, and even fewer children. Apparently there was a serious accident recently involving a very young girl falling off one of the concrete structures.

The theater areaSome of the apartments must have a great view.

The foundry where they make their most profitable souvenirs - brass hanging chimes. We were lucky enought to see them actually pouring hot brass into the molds.It was fascinating to watch, but also seemed very labor intensive, and unsafe - like something you'd find in the third world. Here they're pouring molten brass into one of the molds.

Finishing off the brass. Already it's lost a lot of its heat - note the color is much darker.Some of the chimes, for sale in the gift shop.

At the Montezuma's Castle National Monument, a set of ruins. Apparently most of it is still original.

We met a man there who dressed up like Lincoln. We saw him and his wife at a few other parks as well.Lots of beautiful grasses in Arizona.

And cactuses, of course.Cooling my feet in a reconstuctred old irrigation ditch, at Montezuma's Well.

In the old copper mining town of Jerome.

At the Flying Eagle Bed and Breakfast, in Clarkdale. Very nice place, peaceful and out of the way.The innkeeper, Inger.

At a local chapel with a very good view. They had lots of exotic cactuses around.

Hiking around Sedona. We borrowed a book from Inger on hiking in this area that turned out very useful.

This area here was supposed to be a "vortex", which is some kind of energy field, new age thing. I don't understand it very well.Prickly pear cactus fruits.

Beautiful yucca plants.Living in Sedona would certainly make it very easy to get out and hike - this beautiful area was only about a 10 minute drive out of town.

Eating lunch at a local campground. We attempted another hike here, but it fizzled quickly.These jeeps, and ones like them, were all over the area, doing tours.

We may not have seen the right area, but overall, downtown Sedona didn't impress me - just tons of tourist shops, along both sides of the road.The Fay Canyon trail was beautiful - also we hiked it in the late afternoon/evening, when the light was very good

These funny looking plants were all over the place - I think it was a saprophyte.

Hiked up to an arch/ruin. Neither were very impressive, but the view was great from there.

At the end of the trail. Lots of these lizards around.

Taking a drive on a scenic loop, we came across some members of a camera club from New Jersey, who were taking a trip out here specifically oriented towards photography. It was fun watching them lug their equipment around.They did pick a great spot, though.

Had some messy but tasty ribs at the Haunted Hamburger in Jerome.Breakfast at the Flying Eagle

Later on we went to a national forest northweset of Flagstaff, where there was a lava cave.We had a rude surprise when we turned on our (one) flashlight, and realized that it was very weak. We didn't go in very far, because we didn't want to get stuck in the dark. This ice was within about 10 feet of the entrance

Eating lunch at the Grand Canyon.We went to park ranger lead talk on the geology of the area.

Mule deer were right outside the door of our motelLots of canyon pictures coming up!

A heavily traveled trail to the canyon bottom

At the famous El Tovar lodge

Feeding some of the pack mules that carry people down into the canyon.This was as close as Eric wanted to get.

Driving east along the rim of the canyon.Got a good view of the river.

After leaving the Grand Canyon, you're immediately in an indian reservation. There was a long row of stands, selling poor quality souvenirs, to walk past before they'd let you get to the view of the Little Colorado River......which actually was completely dry!

Saw one of the smallest camper trailers I've seen.

At the Wupatki National Monument. Lots and lots of ruins there - at certain locations, you can see 11 ruins on nearby hills.Felt pretty herded at a lot of points on this trip - especially in the national parks and monuments, you're very limited in where you can go, what you can do. There's tons of signs similar to this. I don't believe this was even a revegetation area - they just wanted people to stay out of it.

Spotting ruins in the distance.Volcanic rock at the Sunset Crater National Monument. Vey rough stuff.

Stayed the night at the La Posada hotel in Winslow, Arizona. It was right next to the railroad tracks, and was a very posh hotel back when rail travel was popular. A few years ago it underwent a major expensive renovation.

Winslow is famous for a mention in the Eagles song "Take it Easy". The town council put up this statue of the singer, plus a mural of the "girl in a flatbed Ford" mentioned in the song.The only clouds we saw were condensation trails from jets.

At the Petrified Forest National Park. Interesting, but this is another one of those parks where you're hounded and herded, and told exactly where you can and can't go. The painted desertBeautiful yucca plant

They let you view petroglyphs - from about 50 feet away.

You can see the bark/wood differentiation pretty well on this one.At the visitors center were posted many letters from people who had picked up a piece of petrified wood, and sent it back later, conscience stricken, after attributing a string of horrible disasters to it. Here's one of the worst.

On our way to Globe, we passed this fire.The drive down the highway towards Globe was stunning.

The next day we drove back to Phoenix along Highway 88 - another very beautiful drive, only partly paved. I'd like to grow this grass as an ornamental

Damn on the Salt River.Blooming saguaro cactus

The pedestrian mall area in Scottsdale. I've never seen this many galleries.

Cute cactuses.We drove around the Paradise Valley area, a very expensive neighborhood. Some of the more interesting houses

It gets hot in Phoenix!