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Susan's Travels Tours + Trips
June 28, 2014, 05:00 AM By Susan Cohn Daily Journal

Michael Alexander
SCENIC BEAUTY AND RUGGED EXPLORATION IN SEDONA, ARIZONA. A spectacular off-road vista on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona’s storied Red Rock Country overlooks the alluring high desert town of Sedona in the distance. Soaring bluffs, sheer canyon walls, ancient cliff dwellings and pure stands of Ponderosa Pine provide sweeping photo opportunities.

PINK JEEPS ROLL IN RED ROCK COUNTRY: OFF ROAD IN SEDONA, ARIZONA. Stargazing. Hiking. Dining. Shopping. Finding an energy vortex. There’s a lot to do in Sedona, Arizona, but one activity is a must for every visitor: an excursion in an iconic Pink Jeep. The weather in high (4,350 feet) desert Sedona can change dramatically in the course of a day, but these custom-modified, heavy duty, four-wheel drive Jeep Wranglers, configured to hold up to nine passengers, roll out like clockwork from the bustling center of Uptown Sedona, rain or shine. Savvy visitors wear layered clothing, but ponchos and lap rugs are provided. Pink Jeep drivers specialize in getting their guests to off-road sites not accessible to ordinary cars. Rides frequently ascend an additional 2,000 feet, rewarding passengers with spectacular panoramic views that look down on Sedona and the valley beyond. Various tours allow access to archeological sites (a 700-year-old Sinaguan cliff dwelling), add a horseback ride (meander through chaparral and vineyards) and, for more rugged adventure, even involve a bit of the roller coaster (snake through the Sidewinder trail and take a heart-pounding plunge into seemingly vertical gulches). So get in, buckle up, hold on tight and have the ride of your life.

PINK JEEP DRIVERS. Pink Jeep drivers love their work (how many people get paid to have this much fun?) and enthusiastically talk about Sedona’s history (it was named after the wife of the town’s founder), its wildlife (Sedona’s small, stinky, hairy pig-like creature is a javelina) and its geology (the famous red color of the bluffs is due to the oxidation of iron minerals in the earth). There is nowhere more photogenic than the Red Rock Country and the drivers know the best places for souvenir shots. They are happy to hold your camera to take that “I was there” photo with a glorious backdrop. Seasoned Pink Jeep driver Randy Michael said: “Pink Jeep guides love to share their knowledge of Sedona and show guests an exciting yet safe experience. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is having more fun, the guide or the customers. If you are in Sedona, you’ve gotta do a Pink Jeep tour.”

PINK JEEP PARTICULARS. Pink Jeep Tours is located at 204 N. State Route 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336. Information can be found at pinkjeeptours.com or by calling (800) 873-3662. Day trips from Sedona to the Grand Canyon are also available.

SAVOR SEDONA. Sedona’s delicious high desert climate - cooler than low desert Phoenix - makes the ideal environment for a summer escape. Sedona holds an eclectic concentration of accommodations, restaurants and art galleries. Lodging includes plush resorts with world-class spas, elegant motels and inns, beautiful cabins in the woods and vintage motor courts. Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tla-keh-pah-keh), Sedona’s Arts & Crafts Village, is fashioned after a traditional Mexican village, with vine covered stucco walls, cobble-stoned walkways and arched entryways. Originally conceived as an artist community, Tlaquepaque holds dozens of specialty shops and exclusive art galleries, offering Western and eclectic bronze sculpture, functional and traditional ceramics, blown glass creations, contemporary and Southwestern fine art paintings, weavings, decorative arts, architectural décor pieces and stunning large format photography. Learn more at visitsedona.com.

VISIT SEDONA WITH ROAD SCHOLARS. Road Scholar, formerly known as Elderhostel, provides popular programs to Sedona that combine the usual pluses of packages tours with the advantages of travel with intellectually curious friends. The Sedona Watercolor and Plein Air Workshop includes painting field trips to Sedona’s red cliffs and strolls through its famed art galleries. Sedona: Hiking in Red Rock Splendor and Best of Sedona: Verde Canyon Railway, Grand Canyon and Montezuma Castle National Monument seek out scenic destinations in company with experts who discuss archaeology, ethno-botany, geology and even Sedona’s film industry. (At least 76 feature films, many TV productions and dozens of commercials have been shot either in full or in part in the Greater Sedona area.) For information about Road Scholar’s Sedona programs visit www.roadscholar.org or call (800) 454-5768.

AND REMEMBER: What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do - especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. — William Least Heat Moon.

Susan Cohn is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association, Bay Area Travel Writers, and the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. She may be reached at susan@smdailyjournal.com. More of her stories may be found at http://ifwtwa.org/author/susan-cohn.



Tags: sedona, sedona, drivers, travel, through, galleries,

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