Feb 17, 2012

Red Rock Canyon Gemstones

Gus and I had left Austin, Texas on a nice sunny day. Hard to imagine it was even winter during our visit there. We knew that might be the case on our next stop to Arizona. I was getting particularly excited about this part of the trip for two reasons. One that we would hit up the Gem Show in Tucson so I could get some new stones for my silversmith work and two because I was going to visit one of my dearest friends in her new home of Sedona, Arizona. The last time we came to that area we had to cut the trip short. Gus and I were pretty excited to go back this time to enjoy the beautiful red rocks.
The Tucson Gem Show was quite the scene. This time we were catching the tail end of the show and a lot of vendors were ready to pack things up. It was pretty magical for me how things kept lining up though. I was on a mission to find spiny oyster shell so that I could recreate my ring that slipped off my finger in Steamboat. I remembered a vendor 2 years ago selling quite the collection but couldn’t place my mind on exactly the spot. If you’ve been to the gem show then you know what I mean. Tucson becomes a zoo filled with gemstones, rocks and beads galore. It’s a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I ended up finding the vendor right as he was packing up his stuff and was super nice in letting me look thru everything. SCORE!!! I found the most beautiful pieces and picked up a bunch extra for some upcoming jewelry I plan to make in 2012. We strolled the streets of downtown Tucson and of course, hit up a few of my favorite vintage shops. Desert Vintage always has something sweet to offer at really great prices. I scored a few awesome pieces in Tucson . (I’ve decided that when I get home, I’m gonna do a photo shoot of all the great things I collected for a special blog post). 

 Great food, wine and beer at The B Line- Tucson, Arizona

 You never know what you will see on 4th Avenue

 paper lace dress for Valentine's day. I loved this!
 street art

 mosaic magic
 this was killing me, a portable stereo taped to a street bench

 I danced my little heart out to these guys! Banjo and all. They got my heart rate up for sure.
 The jam on this toast was seriously that shade of berry and just as tasty as it looks

My dear friend Christine came down for the gem show to see her daughter Jamaica who lives in Tucson. So we all met up for a beer at the famous Congress Hotel.  Check out the link on this hotel for the complete gangster story. After spending a few days in Tucson, we packed it up and followed Christine back to Sedona.
 Ferris Wheel just outside the Congress Hotel- Tucson, Arizona
 Toasty fire at The Congress Hotel
 Check out the link on this cool spot.. kinda like romeo and juliet

My wish 
 Putting my wish in the wall

 Fun trim on a cute house in Tucson. I love these colors together.
 Decided to get some bangs cut at The Coyote Wore Sideburns in Tucson

Hot air balloon floating in the sky at sunset on our drive up to Sedona

Christine just moved there over the summer and has been loving it ever since. It was no wonder to me because the place was so beautiful. The red rocks were amazing and she took us on a nice little hike before sunset. Got some great shots and learned about different plants in the area and the javelinas that chomp on the cactus. Gus and I couldn’t believe they could stomach such pokey things. Gus spotted a cactus with a bite taken out. Hilarious. 

 Cool stained glass inside a restaurant we stopped in

 Beautiful soul sisters. I love you Christine! Oh so very much.

 There is love everywhere

 Juniper tree

We enjoyed several days with Christine. On the days she worked, Gus and I explored the town a bit. We planned to take another hike, but the weather was a bit rainy and overcast. On Valentine’s Day we all got dressed up and headed to the Mesa Grill for a nice dinner. As we were enjoying our meal, we looked outside the window and it was snowing! We had a great dessert of chocolate cake and enjoyed some good wine. I can’t think of anything better than that. Enjoying the company of great friends, chocolate, wine and snowflakes dusting the Red Rocks. Um more please!
 Valentine's day happy hour blackberry margarita

 Delicious steamed clams

 my Romeo

 awesome vintage dress scored in Portland, Oregon
My Valentine's Day present from Gus. This ring is made by a Zuni.

The next day Gus and I got up early to attend a time share presentation. (somehow we got roped into it) We both have never done one, but the deal was, if we went for 90minutes then we’d get a free gift of a helicopter ride around the Red Rocks. We thought, well it can’t be that bad. We had to listen to quite the sales pitch but it all seemed worth it once we were in the air. The helicopter took us on an awesome flight giving us a different perspective of the fascinating red rocks. We even saw an 800 year old cliff dwelling. Nice way to end our visit in Sedona.  It was really hard to leave because we were really enjoying ourselves and getting to spend time with Christine. She is such a beautiful soul and is a really important woman in my life. So great to see her and I’m already planning my next trip back in May.
 This is Gus's super excited face before we get to the airport for our helicopter ride!

Roger that Roger
 high up in the sky
check out these cliff dwellings!
 Solar powered high school. Way to go Sedona!

saying my last goodbye. I love you Christine.

We decided that since we were already so close to the Grand Canyon, we might as well go and check it out since neither one of us has ever been there. The roads got hit with snow a few days before and we thought it’d be fun to take a train there instead. So we headed to the town of Williams and stayed the night in a hotel. Got up early and headed to the train depot. It took 2 hours to get to the canyon. Once we got there we had 3 hours to explore this wonder of the world. My camera couldn’t even come close to capturing the depth or magnitude of the canyon. It was so deep and so vast. Seriously amazing. I definitely should have worn better boots, cowboy boots in the winter are a bit dangerous. Especially when there is a drop off beside you. I almost fell on one part of the path, but I was clear of any danger. Some spots of the trail though are not forgiving at all. We learned that there is an entire book dedicated to those that have lost their lives in the canyon. I couldn’t even wrap my brain around what that might be like to fall.  This earth is so wondrous to me. The canyon reaffirmed that. 

Gus and I enjoyed a nice lunch, took tons of pictures, and got silly eating our chocolate gluten free cupcake we scored back in Sedona. We were saving it for the Grand Canyon. I’ve been trying to ease out of bread, but oh so hard. Although once we bit into the cupcake, we looked at each other and were like, “this is gluten free?” SO GOOD!!!
We took the train back to Williams but not without a good ol’ train robbery along the way. The staff did a great job staging this one. Complete with horses and cowboys. The day to the Grand Canyon was one to remember for sure.  Last night we stayed in the town of Laughlin. I had never heard of this place and was shocked to see so many casinos in such a tiny place. We hit up one casino and I played black jack. Of course I lost my $20 after about a half hour but it’s always fun to play just in case you do win. I always go in with an amount I’m okay to lose, which is usually $20. I can’t imagine losing more than that.

This place has my $20 

This road trip is coming to a close as we make our way home. Mostly driving from this point forward. It’s been a great adventure catching up with family and friends and visiting new places. We are both really missing home and our 3 doggies and 9 chickens. Looking forward to getting home and applying all this fresh inspiration into new creations. Thanks for tagging along for the journey and I hope you have all enjoyed reading this blog.  


moonshinejunkyard said...

yay tucscon! i love it there, and we ate at the B-line too! cannot WAIT to see all your vintage scores in a big post when you get a chance. not to mention the jewelry you make with some of those stones, amazing.

so very glad to got to visit chris in sedona. she looks radiant. i think that high desert air agrees with her! you all look like you had a valentine's day blast.

such a magnificent trip you've been on, and taken us along for! i got y vicarious road trip thrills through you the last few weeks! thank you and glad you made it home sweet home safely :)

LeAynne said...

So fun to read about your travels. Thanks for sharing (and great to meet you).

Laura Wilson said...

Hi Monique and Gus! We were so glad that you could come to Oklahoma and stay with us. Don't wait another 3years before you come back. Enjoyed reading about the rest of your trip home. Flowers are blooming here now and the trees are beginning to leaf out. Sorry you couldn't stay for the ballet, it was Romeo and Juliet. Remember what you told us to do: "Do everything with love!"
Love, Grandpa & Grandma Wilson