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No Vacancy

by Crystal Coons
Jun 25, 2003

Every once in a while, the city is just too much for some of us. The palm trees, the cactus, the overpriced lattes. We need to get away. So I did. We decided to go up to Sedona, and if you're a devoted reader of my column, which I'm sure you are, you know Sedona is my most favorite get away in the state. We ended up leaving at about 6ish this past Saturday. We packed up the truck to make the 2.5 hour drive. We had an awesome talking all the way, and being our usual dorky selves. We got into the Village of Oak Creek, and we thought it would be nice if we tried another hotel, rather than the one we typically stay at. We drove to several and found they had no vacancy. No Vacancy. The theme of the night.

We drove all over the Village and found out that they all were booked. We headed over to West Sedona, a not-so-touristy area of Sedona, and found they were all booked as well. We were pretty frustrated at this point, so we made the drive down to Cottonwood, figuring no one goes to Cottonwood, there's nothing to do, there's got to be SOME vacancy. No luck. One woman told us the whole area was booked from Sedona to Camp Verde.
Oh lovely.

So we decide the best bet we have to find a room would be Flagstaff. It's a huge city, there's got to be SOMETHING. So, it's an hour drive from where we were at that point to Flag, but we made it. We passed the Hilton, Radisson, and Sheraton (I believe) knowing they were definitely out of our price range. We went to all the Best Westerns, some Comfort Inns, and some no-names. We finally found a sign that read "VACANCY", and being so excited, we hurried over there to see how much it was. We were pretty desperate at this point, because this place looked worse than the sleazy "pay by the hour" motels you see in the movies. In fact, by this place's standards, those sleazy movie motels look like four-star resorts next to this place.

My husband got out, at this point very near 1:00 in the morning, and asked how much a room was. The short man, in his thick Arabic accent replied "One-Hoondreedd-tventy-sfive dollahs." My husband looked at him, laughed and got back in the car. We drove around to another place, with the same outrageous price of $125, and at this point, this upbeat, funny writer had morphed into Ms. Evil-Sleep-Deprived-Hungry-Monster. I had never slept in a car before. I was going to sleep in my car.

So we went to Wal-Mart and try and make the best of the situation by purchasing a blanket and pillow. (If this is your first visit to Arizona Paths
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, you'll quickly realize I can be QUITE the little princess.) I hadn't eaten since that afternoon, it was 3 hours past my bedtime, and I was NOT a happy camper/hotel hunter. We found a pretty dark place to park, next to a 24-hour Del Taco; I put on my jammie pants, and managed to sleep all of 4 hours. Did you know the sky gets light at 4:30am? 4 freaking 30 in the morning! I did not know this. I managed to avoid being blinded by the sun until about 6:30, when I woke up and decided to read some of the new Harry Potter book until the husband woke up. At about 7, he finally did wake up, and I put my jeans back on and we headed over to Denny's for breakfast. Well, since we hadn't eaten in forever, we scarfed down a breakfast that, of course, made us both very sick for a few hours. Once we felt a bit better, we decided to go spend the money we didn't spend on a hotel.

As any woman would, I felt better once I found an adorable "Sedona" tank top at about half the price I would have paid in Uptown Sedona. Along with a few other purchases, we pressed on through the outlets, and then decided to head to the Jerome/Prescott area. An area that I absolutely love. We browsed through book stores, hung out in the town square, and grabbed an awesome lunch/dinner at the Gurley Street Grill. We managed to get back in town about 7ish.

Then, as any self respecting woman does, I went upstairs, took one look at my bed, and crashed for 11 solid hours.

Moral of the Story: Don't even think about going to Sedona on a Saturday without reservations. It gets cold out there when all you have is a Wal-Mart blanket.

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