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Two for the Road: Nik and Dusty Arrive in Sedona, AZ

Hey y’all! Hope everyone is doing well! Here’s the latest from the road:

So we said goodbye to Tybee Island, knowing we had a heck of a drive in front of us.

According to the map, it’s exactly 2000 miles from Tybee to our fifth stop – lovely Sedona, Arizona. And I was determined to drive it non-stop and see if we could make it in under a day. But that plan was quickly and painfully vetoed by Nik (with extreme prejudice I might add). Killjoy.

So we decided to break up the drive into a few days, driving about 9 hours across Georgia and Alabama and making our first overnight stop at a cozy Comfort Inn in Meridian, Mississippi. We woke up and hit the road for another 8 hour drive to Dallas, where we crashed at the Comfort Inn in Las Colinas. (And got to see some of our family! Nik’s sister and her family met us for dinner at Pappasito’s. And my mom and dad drove down from Durant, OK to buy us breakfast and make sure we were wearing sunscreen. Great seeing you guys! Love y’all!)

From Dallas it was a (relatively) short 6 hours to our old stomping grounds in Amarillo, Texas. We checked into the brand new Comfort Suites there (which was just phenomenal, by the way) and met up with more family and friends that night. They actually threw us a little country get-together south of Amarillo, where we drank lots of good cold Texas beer (we’d been missing our Shiner and Lone Star) and cooked up some fan-freaking-tastic grub on the grill. Burgers. Cheese-stuffed bacon wrapped jalapenos. Brats and smoked sausage wraps. Nik’s mom’s homemade beans. And my Great Uncle Calvin’s famous “lilly hot.” We partied late into the night, drinking and eating and laughing and pitching horseshoes and having the best best best time. Thanks again everybody for the fiesta! Can’t wait to do it again. :)

We woke up the next morning (with a bit of a headache) and decided to book it all the way to Flagstaff that day, which meant another 10-hour drive across New Mexico and into Arizona.  We rolled into Flagstaff that night and spent the night at a very cool, outdoorsy-themed Comfort Inn.

Driving into Sedona. Driving into Magic.

Driving from Flagstaff to Sedona, you’ll drive down highway 89A which winds from north to south through some incredibly beautiful and interesting country. You start out through a green, mountainous area covered by big beautiful pine trees and dotted by green pastures. And slowly but surely you see the transition take place. As you get closer to Sedona, the trees get thinner, the view gets wider, the rocks get redder (redder? more red maybe?) and you suddenly find yourself immersed in a classic, gorgeous southwestern desert landscape. It’s really an unbelievable drive. I think it’s only 30 miles or so from Flagstaff to Sedona, but it took us a few hours because we kept stopping along the way to gaze at the scenery and take photos and video. Wow.

Then you get into Sedona itself. Wow again.

Sedona sits in that dramatic place where the mountains and canyons give way to the open desert. The town is sprawled out low across the rolling hills, and is surrounded on practically every side by those beautiful and stately towering red rock formations that you know from postcards or old western movies. You won’t see any high-rise buildings – hotels and resorts included – because the folks here don’t want to do a thing to impede the view of their picturesque natural surroundings. And the buildings and homes in town are themselves designed to blend in as seamlessly as possible into the landscape. There’s a deep love and appreciation here for the natural environment, and they’ve done an incredible job of managing the town’s growth and growing tourism industry with as little impact on the landscape as possible.

We rolled into town and spent a while driving around, getting a sense of the place and scouting out good video locations… which believe it or not was actually very difficult. There were simply too many beautiful spots and locations and vistas from which to choose. A good problem to have, no doubt. Sedona is a photographer/videographer’s dream.

Late in the afternoon we checked into our accommodations for the next few days. The locals insisted we stay a couple of nights at a place called L’Auberge, a world-class hotel and spa situated on the beautiful and serene Oak Creek which meanders peacefully through town. We checked in, were shown to our phenomenal rooms, and met a few of our contacts for drinks and appetizers down by the creek around dusk. We enjoyed a couple hours of relaxing conversation and incredible food and decided to head back to the room to get some work done and hopefully get a full night’s sleep.

And that’s when we saw it.

As we walked from the creek up the hill through L’Auberge to our room (watching and smiling at the swarms of bats flittering through the air above us), I just happened to notice a sliver of light shining in the darkness from behind the majestic red rock formations east of town.

Holy crap! I shouted, and instinctively started running full-speed toward the room. What? What? What? Nik shouted, alarmed and a bit worried by my sudden panic. Then she happened to look to the east, and she saw what I had seen. And she started running right behind me.

We had to get to the room. We had to get to our cameras.

We threw open the door and rifled through our things, looking feverishly for the cameras and keeping a watchful eye out the patio doors. And then, in one of those perfect moments, we managed to capture what had so dramatically and suddenly set us both in a frenzy:


As luck would have it a big, beautiful full moon rose gracefully and very unexpectedly over the red rocks, just as if the folks in Sedona had planted it there in order for us to be completely awed and blown away by such a sight. But it was totally spontaneous, totally mesmerizing and totally perfect. Far out.

If this was any indication, our stay in Sedona was sure to be nothing less than magical.

More tomorrow – along with some jaw-dropping, chill-bump inducing video. Stay tuned!


~ Dusty