The Red Planet Diner – Sedona

Posted in On Tthe Road on July 17th, 2011 by MadDog
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Nobody, not even residents of Sedona, could deny that it is an eminently quirky community. In fact, that is its primary claim to fame. We have been exploring some of the local attractions. Grace has lived here for seventeen years, so she knows the lay of the land pretty well. One place which attracted my attention from the beginning is the Red Planet Diner on Route 89A, the main drag through Oak Creek Village.

It’s not all that impressive from the outside. It defies the sensibilities of the Sedona Color Police, who insist that desert tones are the only suitable shades for architecture. Sedona is the only place in the world where the golden arches of McDonalds are teal. Aside from the flashy neon sign in front, there is not much to attract the attention of passersby.

Oh, wait. There is one other little thing.  Just off the road in front of the parking lot is a captured flying saucer. As I have heard, the proper term is Unidentified Flying Object. This, however, does not seem to fit, as this object has been clearly identified. It is an Unreasonably Funny Object:

I won’t show you images of the food. I’ve had to many complaints about ugly food here at MPBM. I will, however, say that the menu is typically diner-style. There are plenty of choices and the meal we had was very tasty. They have a decent bar. The service is cheerful and amusing. All of the staff wear t-shirts bearing the greeting, “Welcome Earthlings.”:

It probably the only establishment on the planet featuring an alien restroom attendant:

Alas, there is no jukebox. The selection boxes at the tables have long been colonized by tiny aliens:

Other small aliens float ghostlike around the ceiling while their scout ship hovers silently:

A more robust alien serves as maître d’:

The usual “Please wait to be seated” placard is replace by a more amusing version.

I couldn’t resist posing Grace at the door. Really, someone should talk to these aliens about clothing:

Grace was visibly discomfited by the proximity of a naturalist alien.

I find myself in a place where being far out on the fringes of the bell curve is perfectly acceptable. The presence of many long-haired, freaky people is very comforting. It’s not unlike a warmer Hamilton, Ontario, except for the pervasive woo-woo factor. It will be interesting to see what happens to Sedona when the New Age becomes passé, as it surely will.

Nothing lasts forever.

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Goodbye Hamilton – Hello Sedona

Posted in Humor, On Tthe Road on June 3rd, 2011 by MadDog
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I believe that my wandering is over for a while. What a relief! I have been very blessed that every place I have gone I have had friends who opened their homes to me. I have had to spend only one night in a motel when Hans and I were traveling from Illinois to Hamilton in Ontario. The life of a moocher is not as glamorous as it might seem, but it is much more affordable.

I’ll first force you to listen to my lame excuse for being off the air for five days. As you might gather from the image below, Eunie’s old Toshiba notebook which has been my traveling office since the middle of March finally threw in the towel. When I was in Canada the screen began to jump. My first thought was “Oh-oh, there goes the budget!”. I prayed and laid hands on it, but to no avail. It got the the point at which I could still use it, but I had to let the screen warm up for an hour. When I got to Sedona and turned it on I got nothing but a blank gray screen. I dithered about what to do:

I can’t see much point in trying to replace the screen on a relatively cheap Toshiba which is probably six years old. It would probably cost more than half the price of a new one. The problem was how to get at all the data on it, which, of course, has not been backed up since I left Madang. Grace hauled my old carcass over to Cottonwood, Arizona today so that I could check out some prices. I decided to get an inexpensive LCD screen that I could hook up to the Toshiba so that I can continue to use it while I’m deciding what to buy. I’ll also be backing up, you can be sure. The Samsung monitor cost only US$146 including tax. It’s a very nice piece of gear and a vast improvement over the old Toshiba screen. Editing photos on it is a joy instead of a frustration. It looks as if I’ll be buying a new notebook computer before long.

I have a few images left over from Hamilton to show to you. Nothing to brag about. I went with my son, Hans, and a couple of friends of his up on top of the Niagara Escarpment to have a look around and take some pictures. Sheila has a new Canon G12 which caused me to drool. It seems to me to be a significant improvement over the G11. This line of cameras keeps getting better and better. Here is a shot from one of the many overlooks:

Hamilton is at the bottom a a huge valley. I’m on one side and you can see the other side over on the far right of the picture. The gray stuff that you see filling the valley in to the tops of the building is smog from the steel mills. It’s interesting that you can’t see any visible smoke coming out of the mills as you drive past. What does come out looks like steam, but it obviously has some other nasty stuff in it.

At nearby Tew’s Falls I got some snaps that are decent, even considering the failing light:

That’s the standard waterfall shot.

What I like is the Silky Water Technique, which is child’s play to get, if you have a steady hand and a solid object on which to brace your camera. All you have to do is set your camera so that the shutter speed is 1/8 of a second or slower.

It looks like this:

Having arrived in Sedona, I have a much changed menu of scenery from which to choose. For instance, if I stand in front of Grace’s house and look down her street to the left, I’m dazzled by a sheer cliff of the ridiculously red rocks which surround Sedona:

On the way into Sedona from the Village of Oak Creek where Grace lives, one has to contend with outlandish scenery such as this:

Couple this in-your-face visual stimulation with temperatures which keep you toasty warm, but not hot in the daytime and pleasantly cool in the evenings and you have specifications for a very nice place to live.

You get all this plus the general crazyness of the place. It’s the New Age Capital of Planet Earth. I’ve heard it referred to as Spaceship Sedona, sort of like a woo-woo Enterprise which consists entirely of one giant holo-deck. One the way to the hardware store to get some wood glue I asked Grace if we could stop to grab a shot of this flying saucer which was obviously in need of some roadside repairs:

Note the sign on the van in the background – “Alien Recovery Team”. I’d say that they arrived just in time.

Don’t laugh. They are serious.

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