The Waffle House Chronicles...

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Sorry for the lack of updates but the internet crapped out in Sedona and I haven't surfed the web since Monday night. We are back in Madison and I am hoping to break this up into 2-3 posts. So we woke up in Sedona to sub-freezing temps on Tuesday morning. Too early to go mountain biking so we grabbed some free hotel breakfast and went exploring. I find this road and it says you must have a high clearance 4X4 to clear. We had a rental Subaru AWD so we figured good enough. 4 miles of rough driving and getting out alot to take pictures, it was awesome! Finally we get to where the road is closed (presumably too much snow) and there was a cool rock formation called Merry Go Round mesa. I had a great time climbing all around it. Lots of good 10 foot free climbs. We headed back down the same trail and it was rough. We spent most of the morning exploring the greater Sedona area. We ate at Taco Del Mar (a west coast favorite) and headed back to change into riding gear.

We picked up our rental bikes from Sedona Sports and headed off. Some dude broke the GT I-D I was supposed to ride so I rode a Kona Dawg. Not a bad bike at all, at some point I think most suspension bikes are the same. Funny thing also, by the time we were ready to ride it was super hot and sunny. I wasn't able to use the Garmin GPS as the mount broke right after installation so I don't have maps to our rides. But from the start I found out I was a bit over my head, Sedona is made for big-boy riding. We rode the broken arrow trail which was a blast but very difficult. We then went out to Submarine Rock (Sub Rock) which is all slick rock. I rode around aimlessly but then a local guy showed me some lines and I was soon rocking some fun stuff (not as crazy as others but still fun.) We then took a crazy climb up to Chicken Point which was beautiful. Several miles of good singletrack later (Llama, Little Horse, Mystic trails) and we were heading back to the car. 3 hours and probably 15-2o miles (mostly hardcore singletrack) so that was sweet. Jess and I were both pretty wrecked but we showered up and headed out onto the town. We had dinner at the Red Planet Diner and then walked the town and then early to bed.

Wednesday was very similar to Tuesday to start. We went to a place called 101 Omelets for breakfast (pass) and then explored other rock formations and did another 4X4 trail. Jess decided not to ride a second day but I couldn't get enough. I had her shuttle me about 500 feet above the river to a trailhead so at least I had the descent in my favor. Here is the good and bad; the story of three trails.
1. Huckaby trail. Supposed to be a great XC ride. It was, I decended and it was white knuckle with a creek crossing. Had to climb back up which stunk but then back down to the river bed. Had to dismount a few things that were to crazy for me but it was some of the best riding I've ever done. Get to the bottom and am flowing around and head to the river. Get to the river. You can cross the river to finish the trail and then ride the epic Jim Thompson trail on the north of town. Except for a couple weeks a year the river is unpassable. For example, this week it was unpassable. So I got to climb, decend and climb. All of that to decend 500feet of vertical on the road. Bummer. Get to Sedona Sports figuring I can call Jess and we can go do something else. Jess doesn't answer.
2. Brewers Trail. I ride 1-1/2 miles on pavement to the Brewers trail. It's straight up and technical. I probably ride about 1/2 of the climb and walk the rest. It's only a 30 minute trail (that direction or like 7 minutes the other way) but it was insane. The last 1/4 miles were on off-camber slick rock that was about 5 feet wide and on a cliff edge. Loved it. Called Jess from that trailhead but no answer. I have to meet Jess in 45 minutes and I see this 3-1/2 mile loop. Perfect.
3. Airport Mesa. This is the most scenic trail I've ever been on. This Mesa is in the heart of red rock country and you can see most every legendary rock formation. It's the worst trail I've ever ridden. I got about a 1/3 of the way in (past the point of no return) before it got hard. And by hard, I mean it was tough to walk...tough to walk if I was wearing hiking boots and had poles, almost impossible to walk with a bike. I probably walked about 3/4 of the next mile. I even turned an ankle, so bad that I started to fall. Fortunately my other shin caught a rock and kept me up. When I was riding I fell three times, once onto a log, twice into cactuses. It was fine accupuncture with some needles going at least 1/2 inch (no lie!) into me. Finally I get to a point where I am superlate meeting Jess but at least I can ride probably 80% and it wasn't bad. Then I see the turnoff with the Bandit trail. I take it and bomb it. One of the best downhills I've ridden, reminded me of Crested Butte. So I ended with a bang at least and then a 2 mile road ride to the Taco Del Mar.

Yes, we doubled up on Taco Del's that good. I returned my bike and we headed north. Slide Rock State Park was the goal...but when I was by the river I felt it and it was arctic cold. We passed which is a bummer as it supposedly is a swimming hole with natural waterslides. We headed through Oak Creek Canyon which is beautiful. Once we get out of the canyon, we first caught glimpse of a future conquest (Humphrey's Peak) and Flagstaff. We started the long haul north to the Grand Canyon as the temps dropped. We got to the GC just before sundown and got some photos in. We had a big day planned the next day so we just went to the cafeteria for supper and then watched TV the rest of the night.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Valley of the Sun!

The whole week was basically, for me, getting ready to go to Arizona. I mean I went to the dog park about every night and went to work everyday but that’s about the extent of things. Saturday morning I got up early and played some basketball and then we prebowled for bowling league (it went awfully.) We then took the dogs to the kennel and met up with my brother for lunch. That’s what’s nice about a late afternoon flight. We got to the airport (2 hours) early and I played lots of Nintendo DS (with that and our 2 hour layover in Chicago, 5 hours after we start we’re still into Chicago. The flight to Phoenix was long and boring. We made it late. Then it was time for rental car roulette! Yes, we get a row of cars and get to pick whichever one we want. And most were free upgrades from our mid-size. Dodge Calibers, Nissan Altimas, Toyota Priuses were all fine cars but we finally ran to get the Subaru Outback AWD. We got to it about 5 seconds before someone else who then ran to the other Subaru which wasn’t as good. I love the car so far!

Saturday we got up and headed to this blog’s namesake…the Waffle House. I hadn’t been to one since late 2006 and I don’t even think I saw one last year. Breakfast was outstanding. We headed back here, got ready and then headed a couple miles west to Tempe, home of ASU. We climbed this hill that’s next to Sun Devil Stadium, it was great! We then spent the next couple hours motoring around the Phoenix Metro area, first heading up to Scottsdale then west to downtown and the capital and then over to the Glendale area where the Brewers have Spring Training. We were a bit early to Spring Training so we headed up north to a place called the Coffee Bean. Had an excellent caramel latte. We then went back to Maryvale Park and got in. I felt special as we got to go to the VIP parking lot and then got to go to the players’ will call table (the lines for everything else were huge.) We got in and tooled around, it was our first time at Spring Training. Not sure how it worked but we had seats right behind the Angels dugout, 3 rows back. But I saw some Brewers players signing autographs over on the other side so I got my sprint on. I was able to catch Racine native Vinny Rottino and get him to sign a card. Also got Ned Yost to sign a card as well. Pretty sweet. The game was fun, the laid back atmosphere, the mid 70’s and sun, the 5000 fans who could actually hear the players talk. We were in the middle of the Angels fans and the Angels players and coaches would interact with them during the game. Neat! After the game we lounged around and I was able to add Tony Gwynn Jr and Gabe Gross to my autograph list. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and could’ve gotten a lot of minor league players to sign (and Uecker) but I didn’t really have anything for them to sign. No biggy.

After the game we found out the Mexican restaurant that a few different people told us about was closed Sundays and Mondays. Hoping to sneak it in on Friday before we go. We headed to the best burger in Phoenix, Delux. It was good, the patty was top notch, the toppings could’ve been better. We hit the Gelato Spot after and had an excellent dessert. Jess told me about some random trail where you climb 1400 feet in 1.25 miles and I figured we could catch the sunset up here. Little did I know, it was pretty much like a bouldering trail with some class 2 and class 3 scramble. We got almost a mile of it in where we got to a vista and saw the sun set. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. The sun setting behind mountains with the sprawl of Phoenix in the foreground. The sketchy part was descending while it was dark (the dusk was even darker when we were as going down the mountain was between us and what little light came from the sun. And Jess did take a top notch digger, I expected her to just have fallen to her knees but she went head (actually elbows(first) down to the ground. She was ok except for a huge not on her elbow. She’s soldiered on. We got to the car and it was night. We headed to the hotel and were crashed by 8:30, lots of sun and hiking made us dead!

Now it’s Monday am, I am up and Jess just got up. Heading to Dunkin Donuts for a latte and a donut before seeing whatever other adventures we can find. Then settling in for some Brewers/Padres before venturing north to Sedona. Hopefully DD has some WIFI so I can post this blog!
They didn’t so the blog continues. Dunkin Donuts makes a crap-ass latte (undrinkable). We headed back to the Cambleback Mountain this morning. We rocked it, made it all the way to the top. Jess took another fall but other than that it was nice. Took a couple hours round trip. Had some iced coffees after, it was awesome! Headed west to Glendale to check out the Cardinals stadium and then back to Maryvale for a second day of Brewers action. We hit Del Taco on the way and it was fun! Got to the stadium early and got a couple autos. The game went fast for about 7 innings and I scored a t-shirt in the t-shirt toss. The last two innings took forever but I was able to score some sweet autos (Hardy, Hart, Weeks, Sveum, Etc…) It was another beautiful day for baseball! After the game we went to Fatburger (pass) and headed to Sedona. Sedona seems awesome although it’s dark so I haven’t seen the beauty yet. Time to get some sleep!