Weekend Wheeling in Sedona

When the Spirit Grabs You
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The bumper sticker on the truck before me said it all: "Visualize—using your turn signal." I cracked up and then noticed the driver's head move as he checked me out in his rearview mirror. I had coasted south from comparatively normal Flagstaff through the beautifully scenic Oak Creek Canyon and red-rock vortex-land, and into Sedona's realm of crystals and incense and exhortations about world peace. And yet, immediately ahead in the line of traffic backed up at "the Y" (the junction of US Route 89A and Arizona Route 179—a spot often referred to by the locals when giving alien visitors directions) was a resident who obviously wasn't plugged into the reputed psychic energy of the place. Suddenly I felt much more at home.

But then bikers—road or mountain, New Agers or Old—should feel very much at home in this lovely and fascinating spot in northern Arizona. There's great year-round riding for all of us. Pavement runs in enough directions to provide great road rides through desert and alpine scenery, plus ancient Indian ruins, old mining towns morphed into artists' hangouts, and even the combine-it-all challenge of the long route to the Grand Canyon's South Rim. And mountain bikers have their choices of trails or dirt roads, of high-altitude ponderosa during the summer months, of low-country red rock in winter, and of both terrains during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.

Motel costs are steep in art-galleryland Sedona, but if you can afford to lay up here, or nearby at one of the five Forest Service campgrounds spread throughout Oak Creek Canyon just to the northeast, you have in store a series of unforgettable day rides. Or forget the bike one day and opt instead for one of the "Vortex Tours" offered by local operators. After psychic readings and massage you will be escorted to the "sacred sites" of Airport Mesa and Bell Rock, whose "electric energy" will "energize and inspire visitors." Flights to Pluto (which was discovered, as it happens, at the Lowell Observatory only 30 miles to the north) are optional.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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