Things have been extremely busy, so busy that I have not had time to write in this diary much as of late. For over 2 month Kelly and I have been out of state 3 times. Once to Wisconsin for pleasure to camp and canoe for the first time all summer. The second was for a wedding in Indianapolis, and the third for a trip to Phoenix and Sedona Arizona. Throw in some concerts, special MK sponsored events and 3 conventions and youíll agree itís amazing that I have any brain of which to contribute to my day job.
When I left off last we were fast asleep at Casa Cheney in Phoenix, and our next stop was Sedona.
I woke up at first light and was up on the computer and after showering John and I went out back in his Garden of Eden and preceded to clean up all of the bottles, cans and glasses left over from the previous evenings festivities. We woke Kelly and as she got ready John and I went to pick up a rental car for the 3 of us to take to Sedona. At the Enterprise in Scottsdale and as we waited for what were originally we were renting for $60 per day we made a deal for a tiny red compact car for $20 per day and we dubbed her Cherry Bomb and were on our way. We stopped at a local gas station to fill her up and as I went in to buy ice, 3 attractive but obviously meth out flirting girls made a few passing comments to me, I laughed it off and we preceded to load the car with provisions for our journey north to Sedona.
Johns home as well as his bar that he built in the old barn/shack in his backyard are both well stocked with booze, which includes very fine tequila and absinthe. We put some in a cooler and decided to do any other food shopping at one of my favorite southwest grocery stores, Basches. We had a good time on the drive taking in the beautiful scenery and shared some intelligent and often funny conversation. Kelly seemed to be taking in the surroundings with awe. Like I did my first drive out to the southwest and in many ways as I still do. I always seem to find something to awe inspire me everytime Iím lucky enough to end up in that part of the country.
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We arrived in Sedona and checked into a row of cabins I discovered back in 2000 during my second trip to Arizona. The owner, Joanne had always been a wonderful hostess and I always reserve the loan cabin with a private deck, grill and a fireplace. Other than that there are no phones and no TV in this place, which is just perfect. John was amazed by this place. We bought a bottle of wine; Joanne gave us 3 glasses, and a red rocks pass for our stay in Sedona. After we unloaded the Cherry Bomb and put everything into our rooms we all took a drive through town to the grocery store. Once inside I think we spent more time in the liquor, wine and beer section than any other part. I managed to hide a bottle of Marilyn Merlot wine in the cart, which Iíd later surprise Kelly with and we picked up some really good tequila, beer and some other booze.
Now it was time for grub and we loaded the cart with all kinds of fun foods to cook that night. I even found a bag of El Diablo charcoal. So we loaded up and headed back to our private little sanctuary and lit the grill prepped the food, listened to Tito and Tarantula CDís and began to have some mixers. And as the night grew long John broke out the Absinthe. I have to admit it, though this is only the third time Iíve had it in my life it doesnít seem to have much of an affect on me. Maybe Iím already out there enough but I enjoy the actual ritual of it more than the overall feeling of warmth I achieved.
It got late and we all went in and lit the fire and after a few nightcaps, John went to his room and we fell asleep.
At the crack of dawn I was up, showered, woke John and within 15 minutes we were hiking up the Canyon from Oak Creek to the plateau of the canyon wall over looking all of the canyons splendor. This was no simple hike my friends, this was an effort. It took us 2 hours to get to the top and after a few rest stops and photo ops we almost gave up when before we knew it we had reached itís peak. To our surprise the walk down took almost as long. The footing was rough and the wear and tear on my left ankle from an injury I sustained a week before at the Music Box Theatre was taking its toll. The actual angle of going down and trail I was soon to find hurt like a mofo.
90 minutes later and soaked with sweat we found ourselves back at creek level and heading back to our cabins to prepare for the ceremony of my mothers remains for which I had planned for this trip in the first place. The hardest part would be to wake Kelly. Rarely have I ever met a person who cherished sleep as much as she does. And when youíre on the run with me for a marathon of events, well one who requires or deseires as much sleep as this girl, is even more exhausted than usual. And as much as I recognize and respect that, itís hard to imagine sleeping the day away in a place I consider as about as close to paradise as Iíve ever been.
Within and hour we were all up and headed out to the vortex Iíve had my heart on spreading my mothers remains for the past year. Well, it was now Sunday and Sedona was still over run with tourists. There wasnít even a place to park around the trail that led up t this fantastic vortex and viewpoint. We drove up to the airport to turn around and in my selfish state I cursed all of those who would not part in order for me to bid the proper farewell to my birthmother.
A Vortex is a giant magnet of energy that is either positive or negatively charged. Positive charged vortexes have feminine attributes: nurturing, calming and tranquil or yin. Negative vortexes are masculine, active, energizing or yang. In Sedona they have the gift of 15 to 20 vortexes within a five-to-ten mile radius. Nowhere in the world is there such a concentration of power, beauty and grandeur. Sedona is the place where artists, shamans, visionaries and spiritual sages have come for eons of time to inspire and be inspired. I invite you to be clear on your intentions while visiting these red rock wonders and allow the magic to transform you into your next steps on your spiritual path.
The Airport Mesa Vortex is such an easy place to access and the views are well-worth the very short climb (less than five minutes). You can watch the sun dip into the western horizon or you can meditate on the edge of the rock and see if you can tap into the vortex energy here. I feel like this rock really 'turns on' after sunset when the energy begins to hum. The wind kicks up after sunset so in cooler weather wear a jacket or bring a blanket. For a real treat, lay back on the rocks and stay until the stars come out.
Or, if you're an early riser, climb the knoll for spectacular sunrise views. Even if you don't usually awaken before the sun, you might give it a try. The colors are so vibrant and as the sun creeps up in the sky you can practically feel the earth's gratitude.
This is where and why for the past year since my mothers passing I wanted no other place to spread her remains. And it was not in the cards for this day. We opted to reserve 3 ATVís for a 2 hour desert romp later in the afternoon and we spent a good lot of the day shopping the main streets of Sedona and trying our best to avoid the human traffic of old people and granola types.
3 PM came and we found ourselves being driven far out of town in a van and following our guide though the back dirt trails of outer Sedona. It was fun but no quite as fun as it is in Mexico where it is a virtual free for all. The time went fast and we welcomed the end of that stretch and driving back to the cabins we nocticed that the Airport Mesa Vortex was still over run and sundown was coming and it is known far and wise the masses gather at the airport to watch the sunset. I fell for that once and itís not worth the crowds and children running and playing being that they have not yet grown old enough to appreciate such a rare sunset.
We showered again and went back into town to shop and wait out our evenings reservation at the Cowboy Club my favorite place to eat in Sedona. And the only place to eat if you happen to have a cooler full of food as well as your own grill back where you are staying.
We had about 2 hours to kill so we did some more shopping for friends and family and John and I had a drink at a bar on the other side of the strip where Kelly would meet us 30 minutes later. On TV I could see the World Series which was taking place back home in Chicago, it was raining there and the temp was hovering right around 40 degrees. I knew that was what weíd be going home to. Little did I know how grueling that trip home was to become.
Originally the Oak Creek Tavern, The Cowboy Club Grill, was the gathering place for Sedona's early settlers. Founding members of the Cowboy Artists of America organized the prestigious CAA here in front of the fireplace on June 23rd, 1965. The dťcor is Country and Western, showcasing the second largest set of Longhorn horns in the United States, as well as wooden walls and a number of prominent Cowboy Artists' works.
The Cowboy Club is a casual, family-oriented dining area with full bar. Featuring the finest in Buffalo and Angus Steaks, Game and Fresh Seafood as well as Rattlesnake and Cactus Fries!
We naturally had all of the above as well as some mighty fine margaritas.
Grilled marinated buffalo skewers paired with Southwestern peanut sauce and cilantro flatbread
Napolitas cactus strips dusted in seasoned flour and flash fried, served with black bean caramel gravy
Grilled skewers basted with raspberry plum BBQ sauce. Served on cilantro flatbread with tomato black pepper jam
Kelly enjoyed some fish as John and I both ordered Buffalo burgers. Why Buffalo? Buffalo is the meat of the future Ė tender, sweet and good for yíall! It is low in fat and cholesterol but high in protein. Our buffalo cuts have fewer calories and less than half the fat and cholesterol of skinless chicken. The flavor is best when served rare to medium-rare.
After dinner we went back to our patio had some more drinks played Tito and Tarantula tunes and ended the night watching The Manson Family DVD on Johns laptop in front of the fireplace. It was a nice tight, I had finished some really good tequila we found the night before and woke up again at the rack of dawn, I woke up John and we took a drive to find coffee and my secret campground deep within the forest hidden in the crevasse of Oak Creek Canyon.
Driving back I decided that since this was our last day in Sedona Iíd give Kelly the choice of sleeping in or going with us to hold a little ceremonial memorial and spreading of my mothers ashes. Kelly exclaimed why didnít I wake her? Which I did and that she would of course join us. It was time to get it done and lift this horrible feeling that Iíve carried for the last 12 months knowing that 59 years of my mothers life was in a box in my possession. It had been a very hard year, one that changed me a lot and one that I made many personal sacrifices and endured a lot of personal challenges many people would have not been able to suffer. But here is was and it was about to be lifted.
Within an hour we were climbing up the red rocks to a plateau of the Airport Mesa Vortex. We saw a lone painter doing his rendition of the sunrise in oils. And we got to the top and I was opening the container that encased my mothersí ashes. It wasnít as easy a task as I had imagined.
John had the video camera rolling and Kelly was taking digital images. But lo and behold a couple of older women had hiked around us and were in our immediate vicinity. I was a little upset but it didnít look like they were going anywhere. This was a personal moment and I preferred to keep it that way. However, it looked as if I had no choice but to let they voyeurs in on what I was up to.
I made a short speech and then spread her remains over the side of the vortex and had one last drink with Mom. And thatís when I felt myself get choked up and the dry desert air burned my eyes as I shed a few tears. And then the inevitable happened. I was approached by the two women and they gave me a hug and told me they had witnessed one of the most beautiful things they had ever seen. It didnít take half a second for me to forgive their taking in my final farewell.
And I felt an odd sense of relief and almost like a huge weight had been lifted from my soul. I donít expect anyone to understand, but being that my mother and I had finally repaired our history in the last 18 months of her life I truly felt reborn. I felt relief, and I felt as though it was the right thing to hold out and do this my way.
Thank you John and Kelly for being there with me.
We packed up and spent the rest of the day shopping and we ate at a cool little UFO Roswell type diner called Red Planet Diner. It as fun to say the least and allowed us more time to take in the sights rather than cook and rush out of town.
We took our time going back to Phoenix. We returned the rental car, stopped at Johns and unloaded his pickup and were off to the airport where we though we had an hour to kill. Well we were wrong, and what turned out to be a 90-minute delay in our flight it ended up being more like 4 hours and I was PISSED because I had to be at work the next day. And mot to mention they didnít have an excuse like weather conditions or malfunctions on this plane. We after all were flying on retarTED Airlines.
And not only does the Phoenix airport not have to offer what our own OíHare or Midway offer, they had one place to eat, pizza and one place to buy souvenirs.
The flight home was grueling. Anyone that knows me knows I cannot sleep in public. Iím afraid I might drool, fart or fuck forbid talk in my sleep. So I watched Fantastic 4 again and chatted to the lady next to me about both of us having to work while my little exhausted girlfriend slept.
In four days it would be Halloween Weekend and I had to be ready.