A Travellerspoint blog

Tuesday - Snow in Arizona????

The day after the night before

sunny 15 °C
View Alyson & Jeremy's Wedding on SirRogue58's travel map.

It was 1pm by the time Sue felt well enough to start her vacation hahaha.
First stop was to return my vest and shirt that was a quick job as we knew where it was we had to go this time. Then we called into Sizzlers to see if Rosa was there to show her some of the photos. Unfortunately she had not started her shift so we had a little light lunch and then decided to go for a drive.

By this time Sue was feeling a little better but I was feeling a little worse. Not in the head but in the stomach. Oh well Sue suffered it like a trooper hehehe. We ended up driving through Cottonwood then onto an old mining town named Jerome.

By the time we arrived at Jerome we where quite high up and the views were stunning. Sue spotted a real Kodak moment too. Outside one of the houses were 2 sets of 3 bras in red white and blue together with a notice “Support Hillary”.
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Obviously a Hillary Clinton fan hahaha. Then we were into Jerome proper.
It looked really nice but because it was on a hill side and the streets so narrow by the time we spotted somewhere to park we had past it. Oh well we thought we’ll call in on the way back. Then it was onwards and upwards. Higher and higher we went and then we hit the snow. Very strange as the roads were clear and it wasn’t cold. We could not resist taking more photos and have a little snow ball fight. We’re all kids inside or is it being senile once you hit 50? Hahaha

Time to get in the car again and carry on driving. We didn’t know where we were aiming for when we set off as this day was just going to be a relaxing day after the wedding but then we saw signs for Prescott and remembered that was where the other British contingency stopped off for lunch on the Sunday. Well the drive along the 89 was really nice and even going across the Prescott Valley was special. Valleys in the UK are what the Americans would probably call ditches compared to the size of valleys there hahaha. Just before we got to Prescott we came a cross a shunt on the other carriageway with the police in attendance. Don’t know what happened as the road was so straight. Anyway we thought this may be a problem on his way back as the queue of traffic seemed to go on for miles. Hmmm I digress. Now we are at Prescott. It wasn’t as we expected but then we didn’t know what to expect but from what we saw it was just an ordinary town just like Cottonwood. So after all those extra miles we turned round and headed back to the 89. But Sue did have a little treat. She saw her 1st proper street in Arizona that had houses with front gardens. Hahaha.

By the time we got to where the shunt had happened it had all cleared but then we heard on the local radio that there was a hold up on the 89. Wait a minuet!! That was the one we saw earlier. We were tempted to phone the radio station in “Kaaaatenwooood “ (as they pronounced it) and tell them that the Brits would give them a proper traffic report.

1 mile high

1 mile high

Going back over the mountains to Jerome was very beautiful because as the sun was going down the colours became much richer so we had to take more photos. We just managed to get to Jerome before the sun went down completely. And being my normal self I took a detour up to the old Silver/copper mine. I thing a 4x4 might have been more suited to the small hire car we had but then it was a HIRE car ;o) hehehe. After the bumps dust and pot holes we arrived at what looked like a shanty town. But there wasn’t much going on apart from a donkey coming over to the car. So back a long the 4x4 road and into Jerome Once known as the wickedest town in the west, hehehe It’s a mile up and I think there was some reference to the mile high club at one of the hotels there. We had a little wander round and wished we had stopped earlier before it got dark and the majority of the places closed for the evening.
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But we still had our wander and found a bar/restaurant for a diet coke before setting off again for Sedona. Driving back wasn’t as exciting, but maybe Sue would agree to differ as I think she was a little worried about the mountain roads at night. But we got back to Sedona grabbed a pizza and retired to our motel to watch TV and NOT have a whiskey that night.

Posted by SirRogue58 03:04 Archived in USA Tagged arizona cottonwood jerome prescott Comments (0)

Monday - The day of the wedding

So proud of my beautiful daughter

sunny 26 °C
View Alyson & Jeremy's Wedding on SirRogue58's travel map.

The ceremony

The ceremony

Now it’s the day of the wedding. After a quick “continental” breakfast we needed to take Maz up to the motel where Alyson was getting ready but could we find it?? Nope

We went to where we thought it was but that was the Los Abrigados Resort & Spa Not the Los Abrigados Lodge where she was staying. After driving around and whilst I was waiting for my Sue to ask in a shop if they knew where it was, I saw Jeremy drive past with his sister who was the other bride’s maid. I then got a text asking if I was stopped by the motel! He was lost too!

Eventually we all found our way to the right motel and dropped off the 2 bride’s maids. We then thought it a good idea to find out where the ceremony would be held as it seemed no one knew where that was either. After a bit of driving we found the road off of the main road to where it would be. Then dashed back to our motel to get ready. Finally we picked up Maz’s Dan and went back to the Los Abrigados Lodge so as the English contingency could follow us.
But then my ex’s partner was off buying a tie as he forgot to bring one and my ex also wanted to see Alyson in her wedding dress before she left. Finally 20 mins late everyone was ready.

Poor Jeremy must have been wondering what was going on as he and his family were waiting all this time.
We all left in convoy Sue and I up ahead followed by the rest and the Bride’s limo. Everything from then on went to plan except due to the melting snow in Flagstaff the river was too high to cross on the stepping stones so the ceremony was held in an alternative spot which was still beautiful.

Everyone had gone ahead and whilst they waited I lead the way with my daughter followed by the bride’s maids & wedding planner. It was so emotional for me. I tried to hold it all back but I could not help shedding a few tears. It was my baby girl after all even though she was 25 hahaha.

The ceremony was beautiful and many of us shed a tear or 2. Then, it was all over!!

Time for the photographs. Sue took a load during the ceremony then I took over when I wasn’t posing for the official photographs.
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When all was done it was off to the Heart Line Café for the reception which everyone again followed me as I had found it earlier. Alyson and Jeremy went off in their limo with a bottle of champagne and a little gift I had left - “What to do before and after pregnancy” DVD and some condoms with instructions on how to use them hahaha.

I had written my speech and typed it out before we left England and whilst in Sedona I had made a crib sheet. But when it came to my turn to speak up I dumped it and just said what I felt was in keeping with the surroundings. A relaxed slightly humorous speech and one where I would not get too emotional again. And I almost did it until I made a toast to Mr & Mrs (took a deep breath here) Redinger. And that was my part over.

It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful place with a beautiful bride. But it was not over. My daughter mentioned a while before that she always wanted her car decorated when she got married. And being an organiser I got it sorted. Balloons signs and tin cans were in order as well as a pair of illuminated hearts. With the car trimmed up they then left the Café to the next venue. The Los Abrigados Resort & Spa which was where we thought they were all staying originally.

We went back to our hotels to freshen up and then booked a taxi to take Us, Maz & Dan. But the taxi driver was only across the road so he turned up very quickly. So quick that he almost drove off again before we had a chance to get our selves out and down to him. He was a character who called himself “Gator” and his taxi had cow horns on the bonnet. He then proceeded to tell us that he almost went off again because he had a steak waiting for him across the road which a lady was paying for. I wonder what else he was getting that night. We then had to tell him we needed to pick up another couple, so again he reminded us that he had a steak waiting. Eventually we got everyone to the Los Abrigados Resort & Spa and I’m sure “Gator” got what he wanted too. (His steak of course). The evening started as it was meant to go on drinking hahaha I got a little squiffy but no too bad but I had to stop myself speaking rubbish from time to time and I could not help telling people about our taxi driver named “Croc” hahaha. During this time we had an extra surprise for the married couple.

Their room.

Maz had managed to get hold of their room key with out them knowing and Sue & Maz made their way up with balloons, confetti, handcuffs, silk ribbons (ties) and condoms.

Not sure what they thought when they got there but I’m sure we’ll hear later.

Then the evening was over and it was time for everyone to go. The groom’s family had left earlier by taxi and the English contingency was driven by my ex’s partner (even though he had a drink or 2).

We then phoned for a taxi which took 1 ½ hours to turn up as he had come from Cottonwood (17 miles away)!! Oh well I think we were past caring by that time.
Finally we got back to our motel a little worse for ware but satisfied that the day had gone well and I had gained a son, not lost a daughter. The next day was going to be the start of our vacation. But not until we were both ready to start it.

Posted by SirRogue58 02:59 Archived in USA Tagged wedding arizona sedona Comments (0)

Sunday - Driving to Sedona

and meeting the in-laws for the 1st time

semi-overcast 23 °C
View Alyson & Jeremy's Wedding on SirRogue58's travel map.

As with previous trips to the US I woke up in the early hours as my body clock told me it was gone 9am UK time. Watched TV and dozed until it was time to get up. We went for breakfast and bumped into the others who had gotten in 5 hours late due to missing their connection because of delays in Immigration.

All the discussions about our journeys and breakfast over we packed our car and made for Sedona.

What we found strange was how the scenery and vegetation changed on the way to Sedona. As we left Phoenix we saw loads of cacti like you see in the old western movies, the ones that look as if they have arms. Then as we passed over a ridge it all changed. The vegetation changed and not many of those cacti were about, also the ground colour changed. Then over the next ridge and the vegetation changed again and different ground colour. Then we came across a “brown sign” for Montezuma's castle, which was only a couple of miles off the I17 we were travelling on. It was one of the places we were going to visit after the wedding but as it was early and we were quite close to Sedona we thought we’d make a detour.

It was a bright sunny day and it was nice to be able to stretch our legs and have a break. We quite enjoyed the hour we spent there, as the area was nice too being by a river. We took loads of photos of the area and of Montezuma's castle which is a dwelling that was built in a cliff about 900 years ago and is only accessible by ladders (which tourists are not allowed to do).
Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Castle National Monument


Ok time to carry on the journey.

A few more miles up the I17 and we took the turn off for Sedona onto the Red Rock Scenic Road, only another 15 miles to go. What a surprise we had. The rest of the journey was only 15 miles, but what fantastic views we had along this road. We stopped quite a few times to take photos as the scenery was breathtaking.
Between I-17 and Sedona

Between I-17 and Sedona


Eventually we hit Sedona, itself surrounded by mountains. Just as we got to our Motel we received a text from Jeremy, my future son in law, asking where we were. After replying and trying to check in (the room would not be ready for 45 mins) we found a restaurant and ordered something to eat and had another text inviting us to lunch but having just ordered we replied saying we’d see them in about an hour.

Our lunch arrived which we really enjoyed and we got into our room. Then drove to find Alyson (my daughter) and the rest of them.

Well it was a good job we had a yellow car because it got us noticed hahaha. We spotted who we thought was Jeremy but it was his brother who looks so much like him. We blew our horn and right away we were spotted. After finding somewhere to park (Sedona is quite popular) we walked back to find them and met up with the in-laws for the 1st time. Alyson was a little upset as she could not get in contact with her mother and the rest of the English lot until just before we got there. She found out that they had stopped off an hour or so away, but they had things that were needed for the reception to be at the Heart Line Café that afternoon!! After all the greetings and calming my daughter down. We discussed what needed to be done that afternoon and evening. Next thing to do was to get the groom and best man’s outfits and my shirt and waistcoat from the hire shop.

We drove down to Cottonwood about 17 miles from Sedona where Jeremy and his family were staying. Picked Jeremy and his brother up from their motel and proceeded to find where they had hired the clothes from. Oooops We could not find them. They had moved. I better explain. Alyson was living in the UK and Jeremy was living in California when they were organising the wedding. And they had managed to arrange most of the wedding whilst on a trip to Sedona a few months before. But since that time the hire company had moved. After getting some directions to where Jeremy thought he remembered where they were, that's when we discoverd the problem. Finally he managed to find their phone number and find exactly where they were. Across the street from his motel!!!! Hahaha Next poor Jeremy had to pick up some brake shoes for his van so he could fit them prior to the wedding the next day, but that’s another story.

That was our running around for the day after we dropped Jeremy and his brother off we went back to our motel to freshen up as we were all going to meet for a meal at Sizzlers in Cottonwood.

After we were ready as pre-arranged, we picked up Maz (Alyson’s friend and bride’s maid) and Dan her partner who were staying a couple of blocks away from us and drove to the restaurant. Later the rest of the English arrived followed by the Americans. We had a good time there and I felt sorry for the poor staff as Alyson’s grand father was playing up and making the staff work for their tips hahaha. I doubt if the waitress who served us will ever read this but I would like to thanks Rosa for making us feel so welcome. We did try to call into see her after the wedding but we just missed her.

Well after our meal it was time to go back to our motel for another well earned rest, as when we wake up, it will be the day of the wedding.

Posted by SirRogue58 05:24 Archived in USA Tagged grand_canyon arizona sedona cottonwood montezumas_castle Comments (0)

Saturday - Are we at the right airport?

Confusian over airlines and deicing the aircraft

all seasons in one day
View Alyson & Jeremy's Wedding on SirRogue58's travel map.

Well after packing the night before all we had to do was shower and pack the toiletries and wait for the taxi. So we set the alarm for 3 am.

As set the 3am the alarm went off and up we got did our bits and had a cup of tea and the taxi arrived. I don’t know what the taxi driver was thinking but his boot was full of stuff to do work on the car. We had to have a case on the back seat!! What would have happened if it was a family of four with their luggage wanting to get to the airport???? Oh well we got there with no problems, as the airport is only 10 min drive away.

Next we had to find the check in desk.

Panic!!!!!!

We could not find any mention of the airline or flight number. I had booked the flights through e-bookers and there were some problems at the time and we had thought we had sorted them all out.

But had we?

We went to the information desk (good job someone was there before 4am) and he explained as it was a connection flight we were flying to Amsterdam with KLM and not North Western.

Panic over.

We waited 20 mins for the check in to open and eventually checked our baggage in. We were then told that we had seats together to Amsterdam but that we would be about 20 rows apart on the flight to Newark in New York and then we would be sat together again on the flight to Phoenix. Bugger!! That would be a pain. The check in clerk then suggested we enquired at Amsterdam if anything could be done.

Off we went for a coffee and feeling a bit fed up about the seating.

Coffee over and the airport shops visited Sue wanted to buy me some after shave for Valentine’s day but was just about to pay for it when she was told she would not be able to take them ion the aircraft!! Damn stupid I say but rules are rules. But at least we were told.

Time to board and take the short flight to Amsterdam. Nothing very eventful as the flight was only an hour. But we did see the sunrise just before we landed which was nice.

What I was surprised about was the amount of taxiing we had to do once we landed it seemd that though the flight was only an hour it took 30 mins after landing to get to the terminal.

We now wondered if our luggage would be transferred to the next flight as promised. I think everyone thinks that, until they see them again.

We made our way directly to the next boarding gate to try to sort out the seating. And heard a passenger being told that they had no seats for them as the flight was over booked!! What the heck??
We then over heard that they over book on purpose as it was quite common for passenger not to turn up. We thought we had little chance of changing our seats, but at least we had them as we had checked in, in Birmingham about 5 hours before this 2nd flight was due to take off. We still thought it was worth trying to change the seats……. Hi don’t know if you can do anything but the seats we’ve been given means we will be about 20 rows apart. My partner has a fear of flying (little lie) so is it possible to change the seating so we can sit together?

After a bit of typing the answer was yes. Yea!!!! It is worth asking.

Time came to board the plane and what seats did we get? The emergency exit ones!! Loads of leg room which is great, as both Sue and I are tall. (5’11” & 6’2”)

After more taxiing we ended up at a place whewre the aircraft had to be deiced maybe I watched too many aircrash investigations on TV but it was a little worrying at the time, hoping that they got all the ice off.

I won’t bore you with the flight but it seemed to go quite quick with the food and the films.

Ok now we are in Newark are our cases there too?
Not long after the carousel starts we see one of them, mine that’s ok as my suit for the wedding is in the US with me. We waited and waited and waited. Eventually Sue’s case came around. We make our way to immigration and have no problems there. We then have to check in baggage again which seemed a little unorganised to us, as we already had our boarding passes from Birmingham and did not have to check in. It was still a little worrying though, wondering if the cases will get on the right flight with us. Maybe because we were getting tired.

Ok time to board the next flight to Phoenix Won’t bore you with this flight either but we saw the sun go down this time as we approached our final destination. (Hmmm good title for a film maybe?)

This was our first time on an internal flight and as I always say flying is like going on a bus a long tube with windows. But as we had no passport control this time it was even more like a bus journey.

Our cases came through fairly quick and then it was time to pick up the car. I don’t know if any of you have travelled to Phoenix and got a hire car from the airport, but this was so well organised. That’s a thing I can say about America, it is well organised. The bus took us to a large purpose built area to get our car. I think it’s the largest car hire facility in the US all the major hire companies were there. After refusing the usual offers we were given our documents and proceded to pick up the car. We had a choice too. And we chose a yellow one (we kept loosing previous hire cars as they all looked the same). Then we were off to find our 1st motel.

By this time it was 8pm (1am UK time) and we had been up and travelling 22 hours we chose one that was quite close to the airport as after the travelling we just wanted to rest up before we drove to Sedona.

We called into a small store for some snacks and drinks and asked for directions (just in case we were going in the wrong direction as we were on the right road but not sure if we were going the right way).

We were in luck as it was only about 200 yards up the road.

We checked in and asked if the rest of the party (David and Martyn, my sons, Adele, Martyn’s partner, Sandra and Pete, my ex and her partner and Sandra’s parents) had checked in yet. They had not so we asked if they could get them to contact us when they did as their flight was due in 20 mins after ours and they were going to get a taxi to the motel and pick up their cars in the morning.

Got to the room and went to sleep fairly quickly.

Posted by SirRogue58 04:47 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged amsterdam newark amsterdam_airport phoneix Comments (0)

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