Sedona Rouge was on our left on the road to into town on Arizona State Route 89A as we arrived by car from the Phoenix Airport following a day of travel from the east coast. Within minutes we were settling into the air conditioned comfort of our third floor hotel room. Right away we liked the easy to reach parking lot, comfortable double queen beds, flat screen television, electric fireplace and complimentary WiFi connectivity.
Named for the wife of T.C. Schnebly, the area, at an elevation of 4,500 feet, is best known for its famous red rocks and vortexes or energy centers which appeal to spiritually oriented people many of whom have made the town their part time home. Having visited Sedona in the heat of summer’s low season it’s hard to imagine the town of 14,000 and one main street with four million visitors a year said to pass by the area.
A side street off the main road in the picturesque town of Sedona in Arizona led us to this luxury oriented small hotel set along the banks of the well known Oak Creek. Although the property was having major renovations during our late summer visit it was there that we enjoyed the highest level of service, luxury and gourmet dining in the Sedona area.
The Northern Light Ballon Expeditions van was parked in front of our hotel entrance at 5:25 a.m. when we arrived five minutes before the scheduled 5:30 a.m. pick up time. Blair Preston, a friendly pilot with 21 years of experience, introduced himself and welcomed us aboard. We were the last two passengers on the route so we drove directly to Forest Road 9851B off of Lower Red Rock Loop road, the place from which our balloon with six passengers and two other balloons would launch for our dawn flight.