Travel Travails Sedona

Those of you who pay attention to my blog see that I am posting on a Sunday, but not for Sunday Stills! I’ve left that in the capable hands of Hugh this week. I will be back to officially posting for Sunday Stills on February 3rd!

As I continue to share my thoughts on my Arizona Road Trip, here is Part Two as we travel to Sedona, Arizona. In case you missed Part One, click here to see how it all began!

Sedona Sunday

Sedona Red Rocks
Welcome to Sedona!

Late Sunday morning, we left our new friends in Phoenix and were on the road again; next stop Sedona, Arizona. This was only a two-hour trip and we pulled in about 1:30pm. We had a great campsite at Rancho Sedona RV Park.

Truck and Trailer
Campsite First Day in Sedona

As we sat in our lounge chairs in the warm-ish sunshine sipping our favorite beverages, we eventually strolled over to the nearby galleries and restaurants less than a mile away. Chatting with folks we discovered there was to be a bit of snow the following day, which was New Year’s Eve day. Locals assured us that occasionally 1-2 inches of snow falls but melts quickly.

What to do for New Year’s Eve?

Monday morning, we woke up to gray, overcast skies. We needed to drive into the nearby town center of Sedona to pick up groceries, some propane and buy more gas.

We left the RV campground in the truck at 9:30am aware of the beginnings of snowflakes gently falling. 90 minutes later, the one main road out of Sedona with all its round-abouts was covered in at least three inches of snow and snarled traffic.

As New Year’s tourists’ cars slid all over the roads, we inched along as best we could. It took us one hour to travel one mile. By then the snow was practically in white-out conditions. I told my hubby we could have just stayed home and driven to Lake Tahoe and had the same experience!

By the way, my husband is an excellent driver, is very careful and does not take chances, staying far away from other drivers when possible. I can’t understand drivers who tailgate in the snow. Do they not see the huge hitch on the back of our truck?

The road to our RV park was uphill and covered in snow. Try as we might, we couldn’t drive safely up the hill to turn into the road to the park. Hans carefully backed the truck down onto the street near the Art galleries and parked.

While we were attempting to carefully back down the street, a huge bus-like RV was stopped just above us on the same road near the RV park entrance. He and his wife were stuck as well. In his attempt to back down the hill, his RV slid uncontrollably to the left side of the narrow road and was thankfully stopped from tumbling over the five-foot embankment by the trees lining the road.

RV and person
RV slid to the wrong side of the road! That is me walking up the hill later in the day.

Sidenote here: I’m linking this post to the new Friendly Friday Photo Challenge hosted by Something to Ponder About. This week’s theme is pathways. Quite a perplexing pathway in this photo, indeed!

To get back to our trailer, I had to hoof it back with one dog and two bags of groceries. Yes, I trudged through a snowy field, while snow stuck to my glasses. As I prepared to walk back to pick up the rest of our stuff, Hans came walking in with a large propane tank on one shoulder and Brodie on the leash in his free hand. That dog LOVED the snow.

Snow was expected to continue all day. At least 6-7 inches accumulated, stranding us for two more days. Other campers were stuck as well, and the roads were closed into Sedona. Even the RV park office staff couldn’t drive home.

Locals say that it hadn’t snowed like this in 30 years.

In case you think I’m making this up, here is proof:

“It may freeze at night in Sedona in the winter, but NEVER during the day. Snow is rare, but breathtaking when it happens. And pictures must be taken quickly because the bright Arizona sun usually melts it away by day’s end. Almost no resident of Sedona owns a snow shovel.” Quote from google about Sedona

Here is another link: It’s Snowing in Arizona

Trailer in Snow
Snowed in!

Travel Travail #4. Winter Storms Happen! Although I checked the weather conditions religiously before our trip and every day thereafter, the entire West and Southwest were in the beginnings of a cold winter storm.

Travel Travail #5. Buy chains for the vehicle! If we had suspected any type of snow on this trip, we would have bought chains for the truck in Sacramento. The Ford truck pulls the trailer like a champ in ordinary conditions, but it is not a 4-wheel drive. Oh, and pick up chains for the trailer wheels, too! Try buying chains in the desert.

What did we do for New Year’s Eve? The office had shelves of DVDs to borrow free, so we got into our PJs, made dinner and snuggled up on our sofa bed with the dogs and watched old movies! Happy New Year 2019!

Decisions, Decisions

There was no possible way for us to leave Sedona on January 1st with so much snow still on the ground, especially in our RV park and on roads leading in and out.

We had reservations to camp at Lake Powell along the Arizona/Utah border, near Page, Arizona beginning January 1st. This leg of the trip was intended to keep us there for five days, where we could drive over to Monument Valley, see sights in the Navajo Nation, and hike the Antelope Canyon (where I also had reservations for Jan 4).

After checking the weather conditions again, we saw the temperatures would stay between 10-30 degrees for those days in Lake Powell. We were already tired of the cold and snow, and Hans was worried about black ice on the roads. A lot of this next leg involved driving and I did not want to keep feeling anxiety every time we got into the truck.

I still had a short window to cancel the current reservations with full refunds. Tearfully, I cancelled our Antelope Canyon Tours, then called to cancel the RV park reservation at Lake Powell. I felt like a huge failure, but a sense of relief washed over us, and the decision was made to end our trip a few days early and just head straight to Las Vegas as soon as we could leave Sedona.

View this post here by Ingrid and you can see what I missed!

The second to last leg of the road trip was to include staying in an RV park near the Grand Canyon. From Sedona, the Grand Canyon is about a two-hour drive. Office staff at Rancho Sedona cautioned us about the conditions at the Grand Canyon.

Travel Travail #6. Road Closures. The US government shutdown was in full swing, closing many national parks, including roads and limiting services.

Although we could have parked the trailer along the route and tried to drive to the Grand Canyon, even if just for a few hours, we were told the roads were clogged with holiday travelers and bathrooms were not being serviced. Once in the national park, and still having to shell out the $30 entry fee, we were not interested in navigating through the confused holiday traffic and potentially unsafe road conditions.

I even texted Ingrid and mentioned we might head back to Phoenix for a couple of days!

Talented Travel Trailer

As it is my habit to make lemonade out of life’s “lemons,” we were delighted to discover the ease of which our trailer kept us comfortable and secure. Our 27-foot Jayco Jayflight boasts 24 feet of living space with a dining area slide out. We had plenty of room to relax, even with the dogs, while being stuck inside as it continued to snow outside. I’m glad I brought lots of blankets for our bed!

The propane tanks were easy to fill allowing for unlimited heat during the cold nights. So far, both RV parks had full hookups, although the wi-fi connections were slow. Using the trailer commode during the night with full flush functions was amazing. Trudging to restrooms at night is not fun in snowy, icy conditions. We opted not to use our shower, as it made a good area to hold our wet shoes and coats. The RV park restrooms came equipped with hot showers and we took full advantage!

During our summer weekends at the Sacramento Delta, we basically “boondock” or dry camp, as there are no hook-ups on Sherman Island, so we had limited prior experience as to how talented our trailer is! That is where the 100-watt solar panel comes in handy to power up our mobile devices and operate the lights.

Sedona Surrounds Us in Red

Despite the difficulties with the weather, I managed to get some spectacular shots of some of the red rock formations. A beautiful rock formation towers near the entrance to the RV park.

Sedona Red Rocks
Rock formation on Friday
Snowy Red Rocks
Same rock formation on Saturday
The snow really makes the red pop!

We had originally planned to end our trip with two nights’ stay in Las Vegas then head home to Sacramento. As I cancelled the remaining reservations, I called the Sam’s Town RV park and made reservations for four nights.

Snow on Red Rock of Sedona
Snow on Red Rocks of Sedona

We finally left Sedona on Wednesday, January 2. The roads were clear, but a few icy patches remained. We drove back to I-17 then connected to the I-40 at Flagstaff (elevation 7000 feet). Flagstaff was another spot I had wanted to explore…maybe next time! Although we worried about the roads, the main highways were mostly dry and well maintained, and we pulled into Las Vegas around 3:00pm.

Travel Travail #7. Expect the unexpected and go to your Plan B. Stuff happens, weather is unpredictable, and safety is number 1.

Again, I want to thank blogger Ingrid from Live, Laugh, RV, who, when I commented on one of her posts, offered to share information with me about Arizona.

Guess what? Las Vegas was wonderful!

Since the travel travails end here, I will save our Vegas experience in part three of my next post!

Until then, as they say, Safe Travels!

60 thoughts on “Travel Travails of Our Winter Road Trip: Part 2, Snowed-in Sedona

  1. Brings to mind a trip back to Illinois for a visit in May one year—Got stuck for two days in Laramie, Wyoming as a blizzard closed EVERYTHING. Fortunately we got a room–but as you might imagine–it got smaller by the hour 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, so unfortunate that your trip was cropped due to that white stuff! You mentioned tailgaters – we have them here galore, it’s dangerous and illegal. Some folk shouldn’t drive! I’ve been to Phoenix and passed through Flagstaff years ago. And briefly at the Grand Canyon. Looking forward to your Vegas post. 😬🌴🌵

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Terri
    Glad everyone is safe and warm. I love the Southwest too, but have not taken time to visit much of it. When you return to the Phoenix/Sedona are check out Jerome Arizona. It’s an amazing quirky little town with loads of photo ops. Looking forward to reading about Las Vegas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my goodness, that icy road looks treacherous. Lucky you ended with no damage! Comprehensive post with some really stunning photos! Love the itemised travel travails!! Thanks for linking to Friendly Friday. I can only expect more wonderful photos from you in future!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sedona is so beautiful. I used to love driving up there when we lived in Mesa. We didn’t go in the winter but I’m not surprised about snow since it’s not that far from Flagstaff and Flagstaff was known for its skiing! Sedona (and Prescott) are about the only things I miss about Arizona! Of course, after nearly 30 years away from there I would imagine it’s all changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I first read that quote as “Quote from giggle about Sedona” – talk about intrepid weathermen. OK, funny but not funny. What an experience you had – Sedona not only in winter but covered in snow. I’m so glad you are safe and that the worst was the cancellation of the other places you’d hoped to visit. My favorite photo, though hard to pick – is the one captioned, “The snow really makes the red pop!” A magical image.

    We love Sedona, would love to visit again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d hoped a little touch of snow would dust the red rocks for great photo ops, but no, a big dumping was in order. All the more reason to go back to AZ and try again in warmer weather. I’m glad you like the images, thank you, my camera was working overtime!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry you had to miss Antalope Canyon, Terri! And the Grand Canyon. 😦 Is the entrance fee to Grand Canyon NP really $80? That’s what we paid for the annual NP pass and that gets us in every NP for a year. Such bad luck with the weather, and the government shut-down on top of that. Yes, you have to be very flexible when traveling! Good for you remaining your positive attitude. And, I’m so glad the travel trailer is comfy, roomy and cozy. Sounds nice! So much snow in Arizona (and not even that high up). Who wouldn’t guessed?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was not happy to miss those sights, and hated the idea of being so close, yet so far, Liesbet! Thanks for pointing the NPS fee out…one time entrance is still $30, good for 7 days, $80 is the annual pass. Our original timing would have allowed us to use the 7-day pass for entrance into Zion and Grand Canyon. I hope you get good weather to visit Antelope Canyon, you do have to have a Navajo guide to take you in.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. All the snow looks marvelous! I understand that it’s scary to be out with a trailer in the snow. I do everything I can to avoid towing in any weather, but snow makes it really scary. I like knowing that you made it safely all the way home 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Looking at the photos of the rock formation towers near the entrance to the RV park, all I can say is ‘what a difference a day makes,’ Terri. So sorry you had to cancel a lot of your reservations because of the weather. I’m glad those trees stopped that bus from going over the edge.
    When you’re not used to snow and ice, it can cause chaos when it comes. Only one flake of snow has to fall on the UK, and the shelves in the shops are stripped of fresh foods, while the whole transport network comes to a halt. At least Brodie liked the snow.

    I’m glad the park had plenty of DVDs. It sounds like you had a very enjoyable and warm New Year’s Eve watching some old movies. Those the times which I now savour more than anything else, yet I still wonder why we don’t just go ahead and do it anyway.

    I am looking forward to hearing about Las Vegas. We were there about four years ago, and I enjoyed the experience especially counting the number of brides I could spot in one hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yep, you were here for some of the worst weather we’ve seen in years and the snow usually doesn’t stick around long in Sedona. I did warn you about freezing temps and snow in Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon which sticks around is normal at that time of year. The skiers in Flag were loving the abundance of snow and not bothered by the cold weather. If I weren’t such a reptile, I would driven up for some winter photo-ops 😄

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Love the snowy photos – which is how I like to see snow these days. You may not have had the trip you planned, but it sounds like you had a trip you won’t soon forget. Oh, and on New Years Eve, I too watched old movies while trying to ignore the artillery barrage going on outside – Hawaiians love their fireworks.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Seeing snow in Sedona is shocking – but beautiful! I guess it’s safer to travel in the spring and fall… but then there are more people to contend with. Antelope Canyon is on my must-do list. I’m sorry you had to cancel. Just curious, how far in advance did you have to make your reservations?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was a lot, Janis, and I had honestly forgotten how cold it is to be out in it! For Antelope canyon I went with Antelope Slot Canyon Tours by Chief Tsosie. I booked only two weeks out, but it is winter. Hopefully I’ll get to go back within the year!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Good for you, Terri, to keep your positive attitude and go with the flow. It’s great that your RV is comfy and the RV parks have useful amenities that made your stay more pleasant. I look forward to reading about your Las Vegas experience. #MLSTL

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Well that certainly put a spin on things didn’t it? You did really well to cope with it all – I guess being experienced with snowy weather would have been a great help – and having a warm cosy van to stay in would have helped a lot too. It will make for great story telling down the track and it tied in well with the post Michele linked up with us on being flexible!
    Thanks for linking up to MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hi Terri, what a great trip, despite the snow. I can’t believe that it snowed in Sedona. I have never been to Arizona except for a brief drive though on our way home from taking our daughter to school in California. I will being going to Phoenix in march for Brendon Burchard’s event so that will be my first real Arizona experience. I hope it doesn’t snow, we have enough here! I’m glad you were able to stay cozy and safe in your trailer. That was not a bad way to spend New Year’s Eve!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. At least the snow made for some wonderful photo ops! I doubt you will get snow in Phoenix in March, it rarely snow because it is mostly desert. Sedona is at a higher elevation, further north and near Flagstaff, so some snow is expected! We’ll be back some day, just not in early winter. Hope you are staying warm!!


  16. Hi Terri and lovely to have you join us at #MLSTL. Travelling certainly teaches us patience and the ability to be flexible with our plans. I love your approach. Even though you had to cancel a highlight of your trip you still found the best of a not so good situation. I didn’t even know it snowed there! As always I love your photography and glad you enjoyed the trip despite the hiccups. I loved Vegas and we have visited several times on our trips to the US. Have a great week and look forward to reading your next instalment. x

    Liked by 2 people

  17. What a surprise! Who would have anticipated getting snowed in anywhere in Arizona. I’m glad you were safe and smart about your travels and able to go with the flow, even if you were a little disappointed. Your travel sounds wonderful. It’s so great to be able to travel with all (or most) of the comforts of home. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. #MLSTL

    Liked by 2 people

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