Have you ever been somewhere that felt like you were in a painting? Sedona’s landscape with red rocks and painted skies will make you feel like you’ve just jumped into one. We felt so lucky to explore this magical landscape in our home on wheels.
As much as I love Dylan, it can get a little lonely on the road when it’s just him and me. He is quieter than I am and he loves to spend time in silence. I, on the other hand, am the most talkative and chatty person that you know. So, when our best friend Dana decided to join us on the road I was thrilled. It was a week of a lot of firsts for us: first caravan, first oven use, first campfire on the road, and first three person slumber party.
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Table of Contents
Van Life in Sedona, AZ
Caravanning in Sedona
We met her in Tucson and picked up her rental adventure mobile, a jeep with a foldable tent on the roof. As soon as the paperwork was complete, we hit the road. Dana and I in the jeep following behind Dylan in Vinny, walkie talkies in tow. At first we entertained ourselves by messing around with them, but soon we realized how helpful they were for stopping along the way and communicating.
We drove into Sedona at dark, making our way down a rough forest road to find a place to stay for the night. Dylan and I were struck by how many RVs and vans that we saw parked in each and every spot we looked at. It was the most crowded we had seen any camp spots. We ended up continuing all the way up the road to the end on a hillside. We set up camp without knowing what our surroundings looked like.
In the morning, we awoke to a stunning sunrise over red rocks all around us. We couldn’t have chosen a better spot if we had tried. We had planned on trying to catch some early hikes, but we couldn’t help taking in the sunrise and our spectacular views atop the hill. It was only later we found out that we had chosen a camp spot right on one of the vortexes. The vortex must have attracted us to that special place.
We did a couple hikes with Dana that made us fall even more in love with Dana. Both the Subway Cave trail and Cathedral Rock are big instagram spots, but they are instagram spots for a reason. Subway Cave was the best way to get introduced to the Sedona hiking scene, because it had cool rock formations, stunning views, and red sand all around.The red rocks and the colors all around were truly spectacular. We had a great time bouldering and carefully making our way onto ledges.
Over the next few days with Dana, we went on hikes that led to mysterious caves, saw incredible sunsets, and enjoyed quality time in the desert. Some nights we watched the stars by the campfire and others we played games in our van. It was the kind of friend’s trip that you dream about. Hanging out with our best friend made us feel whole in a way and I am so grateful she came.
We did have one hiccup along the way where our sink stopped draining completely. Dylan took the flashlight and inspected the whole system. We even feared that a mouse crawled up the hole in our car, but we couldn’t figure it out. So, we had to take apart our entire sink draining system and what we found will probably make you laugh… A bean! There was a single bean blocking our entire drain. That’s something you never thought you’d experience. Luckily, Dylan was able to put it all back together and now we are very careful about what goes down.
Unfortunately, after a few days together Dana had to get back home. We spent the next few days recuperating by getting showers at planet fitness and sleeping early. We learned over a couple days of working that there wasn’t great service in the Sedona area, so we worked from a coffee shop for a couple of days.
New Friends in Sedona!
A couple days later, we met up with a new friend that I had made on instagram. They invited us to caravan with them and hike the famous Devil’s Bridge hike at sunrise. I had heard from some people that it was an overrated hike, but we wanted to see for ourselves. After completing this hike, I strongly disagree. We may have lucked out because we went early and there were few others there, but this was a stunning spot and I wouldn’t miss it on a trip there.
That night, we met up with one of my closest friends for dinner and we were able to show her and her fiance our van. Showing people the space that we have made for ourselves is one of my favorite things to do. Spending the night with good friends was a great way to start our weekend.
In the morning, Dylan and I decided to take on the daunting task of hiking 3 more hikes with a total of 12 miles for the day. The first hike, Merry Go Round Rock was quiet and we were all alone as we walked 6 miles into the Verde Valley. We were rewarded at the top with one of the most spectacular vistas I have seen.
Later in the afternoon, we almost gave up on the Soldier’s Pass hike when we couldn’t get parking, but we were saved by Debbie the “Hiker Helper.” She spends her days shuttling hikers up and down the mountain to the Soldier’s Pass hike and all she asks for is a donation. It’s truly a life saver! We would have had to trudge three miles extra without her, which we were not willing to do. Soldier’s Pass was a great hike where we walked to a cave with multiple holes through it. I’m glad we didn’t miss it. Finally, we ended our long day of hiking with a trip to Birthing Cave. We found ourselves underwhelmed by this hike, because of the hordes of people and we thought other hikes were far more worth our time.
After a very long day of hiking, with our legs feeling like jello we decided to take in a sunset on the Airport Mesa. There were plenty of other people who had the same idea as we did, including a couple that got engaged! It was a beautiful place to see the sun reflect off the red rocks. We decided that was the perfect way to cap off our week in Sedona and on that note we returned to the highway to leave the city and head further West.
Spending the week hiking amongst the red rocks, while hanging out with new and old friends infused me with new energy. Sedona has a special energy, maybe it’s from the vortexes and maybe it’s just from its indescribable magnificence, but whatever it is we came to love it. It was the kind of week that I will always remember and look back fondly on as we continue our road journey.
Where We Stayed:
- Outside of Tucson, AZ: 32.628077, -111.190578
- Red Rock Canyon (Sedona): 34.91202, -111.91556
- BLM Land Sedona: 34.87926, -111.94710
- Sunset Point Rest Stop: 34.18688, -112.13426
- Off Forest Road Sedona: 34.79924, -111.92096
- Sedona Spot with Cell Service: 34.82348, -111.90623
Let me know if you enjoyed this week’s van chronicles in the comments below!