Martin Auto Museum
After hitting the Hyatt Place Phoenix Airport’s free breakfast, we got an early start and decided to visit the Martin Auto Museum prior to leaving the Phoenix area. Even though the weather was probably too beautiful to be indoors, I am a real sucker for anything automobile related. The museum was enjoyable with a good mix of Corvettes, antique cars, and hot rods in a fun atmosphere. The recommended donation to enter is $10 per person and we wound up spending about 90 minutes there, which I think is about the right amount of time.
Hiking Bell Rock & Courthouse Butte
After the museum, we got back on I-17 north toward Sedona and got stuck in really bad traffic. Even google maps couldn’t suggest a better alternative. By the time we approached the exit for the Red Rock Scenic Byway, more than 2 hours had passed, about double what we expected.
We originally planned to visit Montezuma Castle National Monument as well as hike Bell Rock prior to arriving in Sedona proper, but there wasn’t enough daylight remaining to do both. So after inhaling a late lunch of tacos in Camp Verde, we decided to skip Montezuma Castle and head straight to Bell Rock.
There are several trails which are accessible from the Bell Rock parking lot ($5 fee per car), ranging from a short easy walk to a viewpoint to a longer trail taking you around the backside of Courthouse Butte, which is what we chose. It was a very pleasant hike with several other rock formations becoming visible along the way. Although the parking lot was totally packed, we only saw a few other hikers on this trail. It was about 5 miles total, not counting a side excursion to climb part way up Bell Rock itself.
Arriving in Sedona
After leaving Bell Rock at Sunset, we encountered yet more bumper-to-bumper traffic entering Sedona. Even though late-November is supposed to be “off season”, I think the warmer-than-normal weather really brought out the crowds!
We quickly checked into our studio at Sedona Springs Resort and made our way to the Whole Foods Market down the street, which we knew had a pub inside, a feature which I just love. The “Bar 1902” has 12 taps, about half of which were from Arizona. My first choice was Mother Road’s Tower Station IPA but the keg had just kicked and I was too thirsty to wait for them to fetch a new one, so I settled on another IPA from Marble Brewery in New Mexico which was definitely solid, if nothing spectacular.
Finishing our beers and feeling like homebodies after being out all day, we headed to the grocery section to pick up some salmon to throw on the resort’s gas grills and a surprisingly good bottle of cheap chardonnay (Chateau Ste Michelle) to wash it down with, as well as some breakfast supplies. All in all, a pretty great day in spite of the traffic.