Slip Sliding Away

Sunday, June 17, 2007
Slide Rock State Park, Sedona, Arizona

Wanting to avoid the crowds on Fathers Day at the Grand Canyon, we elected to take a short side trip towards the Red Rock country of Sedona, AZ. After waking up to a nice Fathers Day spread on the camper table (celebrations are appropriately camper-sized!), we hopped in the truck and headed down toward Slide Rock State Park in the lovely Oak Creek Canyon outside Sedona.

Apparently we weren’t the only ones with the same idea. A long line of cars were backed up on the narrow highway at the entrance to the park. After sitting without moving for about 15 mins, we convinced a very reluctant Vance that we would be better served going into Sedona for a few hours and let the crowds thin out some in the later afternoon. So pulling out of line, we drove into Sedona and looked around.

Sedona is an interesting and striking town. It’s an improbable setting, in the midst of sun-baked, red rock hills. Almost all the buildings in town are constructed in earth tone colors, almost fading into the landscape. It’s a trendy town, with lots of art galleries and restaurants. Although the setting was far too dry and bleak for me, I can see why Sedona is so attractive to many people –it is surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

Denise and I love movies – we don’t have cable or satellite TV, and don’t miss it at all, but we constantly rent DVD’s at home. We also enjoy catching movies at the theater. Somehow, however, the only movies we’ve seen on this trip have been Vance movies. Because we can’t take him (or he doesn’t want to see) the movies we are interested in, we wind up watching his when we are near a town with a theater.

Magically, without the aid of TV or radio, Vance manages to keep track of opening days of all his pending favorites. So far we’ve run the whole gauntlet of animated penguin movies while traveling, from ‘Happy Feet’ in New York’s Times Square, to ‘Surfs Up’ in Sedona, Arizona. He’s anxiously awaiting for Ratatouille and Transformers to come out for us to see when we reach San Francisco (for the sake of fairness, I’m a huge Brad Bird fan, the director of Iron Giant, The Incredibles and now Ratatouille. I can’t wait to see it either!).

So anyway, spotting a theater playing ‘Surfs Up’, the die was cast. It wasn’t bad as far as such films go, but hopefully Denise and I can sneak off to a real movie one of these days!!

After the movie we drove back up Oak Creek Canyon to Slide Rock. Denise had spotted an article on the park months before in some magazine, and it also appeared in one of our ‘Best of State Parks’ books. We had decided that if we were anywhere around we’d try to see it, as it would give Vance something 'refreshing to do besides hiking in the desert. It was a lot less crowded when we got back, by which I mean to say it was merely crowded, vs. packed to the gills.

I think the popularity has to do with it being the one cool wet place within hundreds of miles of desert. The ‘slides’ were nothing special, and the water was quite chilly. Non-the-less kids and teens of all sizes, shapes and colors were happily splashing around in the pools and sliding feet and face down the chutes. It always does my heart good to see Vance act so comfortable and confident in settings where he is surrounded by people from other cultures.

He got cold soon enough, as the sun was getting low on the horizon, so we got dried off and started the drive back to the campground. A nice, low key Fathers Day.

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