Hiking the Vermilion Cliffs – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , November 28th, 2018

Vermilion Cliffs - Free Wheel Drive

This area of Arizona and Utah is a hot spot for Slot Canyons. What is a Slot Canyon? Slot Canyons are narrow passages formed by rivers that are now mostly dried up. Slot canyons are significantly deeper than they are wide. Hikers can follow the dried river beds that pass through the canyons. Sometimes the canyons can be very narrow, filled with debris, or can fill with water in a flash flood. Meaning they can be dangerous and hikers must be prepared and not go solo.

The tragic movie 127 Hours was about a solo hiker exploring slot canyons in this area of the country. The most famous slot canyon right now is Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ. Antelope Canyon is on the Navajo Reservation and access to this slot canyon is run by people who live on the reservation.

Unfortunately, because this canyon has become so popular on Instagram the demand to see it has skyrocketed and the reservation charges a lot of money to see it. We’re not saying we’re mad at the people who run the sight, it’s not public land and they have every right to make money off of tourists. It’s just for the moment seeing Antelope Canyon was out of our price range. So, what are we to do?

Good thing this area of the country is packed full of similar if not equally as beautiful other slot canyons. This is how we became introduced to Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. This National Monument is huge! It’s also very different from any other National Monument we have been to yet.

By Laura and Camrin – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Northern Arizona Gay Travel Resources

 

Instagram Almost Ruined Horseshoe Bend – Free Wheel Drove

Author: , November 1st, 2018

Horseshoe Bend

Located outside Page, Arizona on the borders of Coconino and Navajo counties is the awesome landscape feature, Horseshoe Bend. Here the mighty Colorado River continues to cut through the land and has created a near perfect horseshoe shaped bend in the river.

From the parking lot it is only a .75 mile walk to the lookout area. Its a steady climb up and the bend isn’t visible until you reach the overlook’s edge. It’s free to visit and easy to access.

After spending most of the day in the Grand Canyon we didn’t arrive to Horseshoe Bend until nightfall. Laura was pumped for a chance at taking a photo with a good sunset. However, upon approaching the overlook we were met with hundreds of people. The whole area above the bend was crawling with people, wedding couples getting engagement photos, and drones. It was a nightmare. An hour before sunset the best spot for viewing the bend was already packed with people and their tripods. We had to tuck into a small spot off to the side to get a decent photo of the bend at sunset.

For those who don’t have Instagram, you may have never seen a photo or even heard of Horseshoe Bend. Well, thanks to a few popular people and social media this landscape has become a tourist hot spot galore. Several tourist buses stop through out the day and the parking lot is packed from sun up to sundown. There are scantily clad “models” posing like ballerinas on the cliff edges. We saw a wedding party complete with a bride in gown getting their photos taken here. One drone noisily buzzed above the crowd. We kind of knew it was going to be busy, we didn’t think it would be this busy. At least, we planned to stay the night and would be better prepared for sunrise.

The Lake Powell Recreation Area manages the “bend” and they are starting to put in better infrastructure to handle the crowds, including a deck with a railing near the overlook. As long as social media stays popular this place seems like it will remain popular.

By Laura – Full Story at free Wheel Drive

Northern Arizona Gay Travel Resources

 

Sedona’s Tlaquepaque

Author: , July 13th, 2017

Tlaquepaque entrance

We just spent a few days in Sedona – my first time there since I was about fourteen – and I gotta say, I love this little town. There’s so much art here, both in galleries and shops and out in the public sphere.

Tlaquepaque - Statue

Sedona has two main shopping districts – there’s downtown, which has a few gems but is kinda filled with tourist traps selling t-shirts and cheap pottery.

But there is a great place to find an amazing array of quality souvenirs, from affordable kitchenware up to high-end sculpture and on-canvas art. It’s called Tlaquepaque – say it with me: Tah-Laa-Kwe-Packeee” – and it’s a gorgeous outdoor shopping center on the southern end of town.

Tlaquepaque - Plaza

Tlaquepaque is built in a Spanish Mission style, and it’s a pleasure to just wander the grounds, taking in the art and spending time sitting at the many fountains on a hot day and trailing your hand in the cool water.

Tlaquepaque Plaza

There are so many great places here.

If you get here at lunchtime, start out at the Oak Creek Brewery – the food is good, and the second-floor location offers some gorgeous red rock views through the picture windows.

Tlaquepaque - Oak Creek Brewery

Tlaquepaque - Oak Creek Brewery View

A short list of our favorite stores here: Cucina Sedona (really cool kitchen stuff); Esteban’s Pottery (OMG – we so almost came home with some of their gorgeous work); and The Inner Eye Gallery (just really cool art).

Tlaquepaque - Esteban's

Esteban’s

Tlaquepaque - The Inner Eye Gallery

The Inner Eye Gallery

We spent about an hour at Tlaquepaque, but I could have wandered around all afternoon.

A must-see while you are in Sedona. Here are some more examples of the public art that litters the place, and some of the nice views – enjoy!

 

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Beautiful Sedona – Our Favorite Red Rock Photos

Author: , July 5th, 2017

Beautiful Sedona

We just visited Sedona, and took some great photos of the local red rock formations. Sedona is a truly beautiful place that’s surrounded by natural red rock formations, the remnants of sea sediment that was raised up and then slowly eroded over time.

So here are our favorite pics from the trip.

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Beautiful Sedona

Downtown Flagstaff

Author: , July 2nd, 2017

downtown-flagstaff

We just got back from a trip to Flagstaff and Sedona. I had a family reunion in Flag, and the day after, we checked out downtown Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is home to Northern Arizona University (NAU). It’s a beautiful campus, and it sits right on the edge of downtown, so Flagstaff boasts a lot of youthful energy, especially at night. We saw this in action when we went to the pride after party drag show – there was music on the streets and in venues up and down the downtown streets, and even a big outdoor movie screening in the heart of town.

While we were only in town for a couple hours, we did find a few cool things.

For lunch or dinner, we recommend the Lumberyard Brewing Company. It’s just across the railroad tracks from downtown, and has a comfortable industrial ambiance.

Downtown Flagstaff - Lumberyard

The food was really good too, and the service friendly. We recommend the hummus – it comes in two flavors, a black bean version and an edamame one, and the presentation is Southwest Awesome:

Downtown Flagstaff - Hummus

For shopping, check out the Old Town Shops, a collection of ten locally owned shops and restaurants, including the Flagstaff Chocolate Company to satisfy your sweet tooth.

My favorite store there? The Black Hound Gallerie – a super queer friendly store with tons of cool stuff.

Downtown Flagstaff Black Hound Gallerie

The staff is friendly (and queer) and they offer some of the following merchandise:

Downtown Flagstaff Black Hound Gallerie

Downtown Flagstaff Black Hound Gallerie

Downtown Flagstaff Black Hound Gallerie

Downtown Flagstaff Black Hound Gallerie

Also, be sure to check out the old-timey phone booth, where you can hear poems recorded by a local artist.

Downtown Flagstaff Telepoem Booth

We had a great time during our brief visit to Flagstaff, and plan to return in the future for more exploration.

Flagstaff Gay Travel Resources

Starlight Pines B&B – Gay Owned Accommodations in Flagstaff, Arizona

Author: , April 11th, 2016

Starlight Pines B&B

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay:

Imagine stepping back in time to a place in the Arizona west where crackling fires welcome you, spacious guest room accommodations, and luxurious, claw foot bathtubs await you! Imagine staying at Starlight Pines Bed and Breakfast, a Victorian style house nested among the pines at the foot of Mt. Elden, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Make us your home base while visiting the Grand Canyon (a bit more than 1 hour from our Inn) and Sedona (40 minutes south of our Inn) and many other area attractions within a 2 hour ride of our Bed and Breakfast!

You’ll love the old-fashioned romance of the antique-filled rooms, Tiffany lamps, complimentary beverages, free Wi-Fi, free parking, the full gourmet breakfast and the friendliness of your hosts, Richard & Michael, and their special Shih Tzu friends, Moo Shu and Taz – and our newest addition, Baxter our Puggle!

Our Victorian style B&B boasts broad, oak-plank floors throughout. Rooms are outfitted with antiques gathered from across the Southwest,, 14-foot ceilings, picture railings, and two wood-burning fireplaces. Our fabulous 70 foot wrap-around porch with swing is also very inviting during the Spring, Summer and Fall. Stunning Mt Elden Views from the Lily Room and guest balconies!

This charming Flagstaff Bed and Breakfast is acclaimed a top 10 bed and breakfast by Phoenix Magazine and Arizona Highways. Additionally, awarded 2010 and now 2011 Best Accommodations by Arizona Pride Guide!

So come to the mountains, to the pine-scented air and the cool, starry nights. Slip out of your normal routine and into romance at Starlight Pines Bed and Breakfast of Flagstaff, Arizona!

Come visit us in this Northern Arizona paradise – Make your reservation today!

See the Starlight Pines Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Northern Arizona

Featured Gay Accommodations: The Inn at 410, Flagstaff, Arizona

Author: , December 10th, 2015

The Inn at 410

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

The Inn at 410 B&B, Flagstaff is rich in history among Flagstaff Bed and Breakfasts and Flagstaff inns as one of the first B&B’s in Flagstaff and has been consistently ranked a top 10 Arizona B&B inn. A Northern Arizona and Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast Inn offering luxurious, romantic rooms and suites, The Inn at 410, Flagstaff B&B, combines an outstanding location, warm ambiance and gracious service to ensure a relaxing and memorable Flagstaff Bed and Breakfast experience.

See the Inn at 410 Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Flagstaff

The Sojourner – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 10th, 2015

Monument Valley

Our tour guide slash van driver, J.R., picked me up at the Grand Canyon International Hostel in Flagstaff at 7:15 in the morning. On the dot. He’s not your regular tour guide or driver. He’s a walking encyclopedia on the history and current events of the Navajo Nation. He’s well-versed on the sights that only, perhaps, can be answered by a geologist. He’s even married to a woman who grew up in the reservation area and had gone to school with Navajo Indians in his younger years. And not just that. His family had been in the movie-making business for years that he had his share of personal and working relationships with Jodi Foster, Mel Gibson, Tom Selleck, Will Smith, etc…

If you have a tour guide with that qualification and interesting life, the long journey to the Monument Valley from Sedona or Flagstaff would be one heck of a road trip, not a tour in itself.

So, how was our road trip to the Monument Valley? I’d give it a 10/10!

By Alain – Full Story at The Sojourner | Northern Arizona Gay Travel Resources

Is Sedona the Most Beautiful City in America?

Author: , June 4th, 2015

Sedona - Alain The Sojourner

The Tourism office of Sedona claims the red rock city as the most beautiful city in the world. I’d say, it’s the most beautiful city in America.

I mean, it’s like “Wow, it’s beautiful,” not like “OMG! It’s beautiful!” It doesn’t have the appeal of New York nor the glamour or Paris. But, it does have scenic, panoramic nature that could topple down the skyscrapers of Chicago.

These photos will show you why you shouldn’t skip Sedona in your future trip in Arizona.

By Alain – Full Story at the Sojourner | Northern Arizona Gay Travel Resources

Exploring Flagstaff and Northern Arizona

Author: , August 12th, 2013

Flagstaff - Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

The laid-back, cultured and pine-studded college town of Flagstaff has plenty going for it and makes a terrific base for exploring northern Arizona.

The largest city on Interstate 40 between L.A. and Albuquerque, Flagstaff is known for its seemingly endless supply of inexpensive chain motels and restaurants. Sadly, too many road-tripping visitors never get much beyond the exit ramp before continuing on with their journeys. In fact, this well-kept, historic city of about 66,000 is worth getting to know — it’s renowned for cool, dry summers and snowy but sunny winters, and has enough diversions and attractions to keep you busy for several days.

The presence of Northern Arizona University infuses Flagstaff with a youthful, bohemian personality that’s enhanced by the many outdoorsy types who have settled here from smoggier and more crowded parts of the West. The gay scene is subtle but pronounced — plenty of gay men and lesbians live here or nearby, and the rest of the population seems largely split between those who embrace diversity and those who simply don’t care much about their neighbors’ gender, race or sexual orientation.

Authored By Andrew Collins – See the Full Story at the Dallas Voice

Click here for gay travel resources in Northern Arizona.