As always, I digress...
Anyway, being the good granny that I am, our first stop was the Oasis Lounge, a biker destination in Ash Forks, Arizona, about 50 miles outside of Flagstaff.
My sister Lori and I discovered this place on our first cross-country trip in 2010. (For a laugh, check out the "giant map" video in this post.) You'd think it's kind of a hole, but we had the best Mexican meal there of my life and I wanted Connor to get a taste of it.
|The first time you sit at a bar should always be with your granny, no?
I stop there every time I go to Sedona, and the food is always amazing. Connor loved it. (And aren't we brave to eat Mexican on a road trip?)
Sedona was, of course, spectacular. We stayed at Sky Ranch Lodge, a mile from the main road up on the Airport Mesa. I've been there many, many times--it's my favorite place to stay in Sedona. The rooms are clean, comfortable and affordable, and you can't beat the location. They have a private outside patio where their guests can watch the sunset and enjoy a glass of wine or microbrew beer, and you know that's where I was at the end of the day.
That photo was taken by my new best friend, Joan, and I will cherish it forever. You know how you meet people and you're like, okay, we are totally gonna be friends for life? We met Joan and her husband, Mike, during the sunset watch and they were awesome. They're in the process of relocating from Boston to San Diego, and stopped in Sedona for a few days on their way cross country. Joan got a transfer starts her new job on Monday and they'll be going through that whole living in a hotel for a couple of weeks until their stuff arrives. How exciting!
It was such a pleasure meeting those two, so nice to see a couple who've been married for 27 years and are still obviously best friends. They have two sons in LA who are both doing well, and their kids have made it on their own--we had a lively conversation about helicopter parents. Mike, who's a reiki master and sea captain, asked Connor a lot of questions about what he's interested in and also imparted advice like, "Do what's in your heart, not what other people want you to do" and "Always go on these trips with your grandmother. You have no idea how much they mean."
We talked for at least an hour or so and then met up with Joan and Mike again at breakfast the next morning. (Another benefit of staying at Sky Ranch Lodge: within walking distance, there's a restaurant at the airport and you can watch the planes.)
|Wouldn't you love to be friends with them?
After breakfast, I took Connor to Bell Rock, where he had a blast climbing as high as he wanted and I sat and enjoyed the most beautiful vista.
We decided to do just a quick overnight to Sedona so Connor could get back to (my) Mike's kids at home. And you know we couldn't pass the Ash Forks exit without stopping in at the Oasis for another delicious meal cooked by this little lady.
I even bought a couple of extra burritos to take home to Mike--the food is that good! (If you go, keep in mind the kitchen is closed on Sunday and Monday.)
On the way home, I asked Connor what was his favorite part of our little getaway.
"The hotel," he said.
"The hotel?" I mean, it's nice, but... "What about the hotel?"
"Meeting those people," he said, referring to Joan and Mike.
Good answer, Connor! You can visit the most beautiful and exciting places on earth, but it's the people you're with that make your experiences special. Once kids reach a certain age, "Never talk to strangers" no longer applies. "Always talk to strangers" is a much better lesson.
My boy goes back to Albany today. I'll be one sad granny.