Prescott National Forest was a very fun drive with something like a 2000-foot rise and a lot of hairpin turns. On the north side you come out in Jerome, which is half-preserved as an old-timey mining town for the amusement of tourists. I think it's what Deadwood would look like if there were no gambling in South Dakota. We drove on to Sedona.
Sedona has a reputation as a focal point for earth-based energy. I was expecting something a little dippier. What I saw looked like Laurel, MD, albeit with a more spectacular backdrop. I was not disappointed in the mountains to the north, however. We stopped at Slide Rock and climbed over rocks for a couple of hours. Victoria is a heck of a scrambler and she was having a blast. Oak Creek is beautiful here and so is the red, red mountain rising from it. We traveled on to Flagstaff after that. Brian had thought we'd find something to do there, but Victoria was asleep and our policy is to encourage afternoon naps whenever possible. Besides, I was happy to drive back to Phoenix in the daytime because I like to see stuff, for instance:
From Prescott northward, we saw bunches of cactus, mostly prickly pear. Masses of prickly pears. On our way back, we took the fast route down 17 and about halfway we got to the place where we had originally turned off. So now we were tracing our route back to Phoenix, but with light to see by. Several miles beyond that point, I thought I saw a saguaro cactus, partially obscured by a hill. I pointed it out to everyone, twisting around to get a better view. Brian goes, "Yeah, there's another one," and sure enough there was a classic cartoon cactus waving at us from the side of the road. I was very excited and then, blam!, there were armies of these things, everywhere we looked. I found this very amusing and laughed most of the way to the city.
In Phoenix we were turned away three times before we found a hotel with a room for us. There's a marathon tomorrow and a lot of people are in town for it. Victoria and I went to the pool while Brian watched some football, then we went to bed. Our room has one bed which will easily accommodate five people, but I am not a good away-from-home sleeper. Hence this travelogue.