I am a big fan of travelling by motor vehicle and have always loved a good road trip. Admittedly, those long miles in the backseat were trying as a child, gazing out the window as the miles fell away. But I grew to love the road, whether travelling solo or with friends. Perhaps road trips appeal to my polar nature, as they are a near perfect mix of doing and not doing: travelling farther from home in one day than some do in a lifetime, all while sitting still, drinking truck stop coffee, and listening to music. Now that is a cool way to get somewhere.
I left my Ann Arbor home in late May heading for my nephew’s wedding in Cuero, TX, soon after my Tennessee Night release show. As mentioned in past blogs, I had been feeling a pull to get on the road and head west for some time; this trip was my chance to finally follow that feeling. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, and the miles passed easily as I headed through Illinois and began south towards Memphis. There was a sense of pressure being relieved as I drove; it seemed a soul-level comfort to finally be free to roam, to discover, to follow.
With the wedding completed, I headed west along the Mexican border. I stopped to spend a couple nights in Marfa, hiked at Big Bend National Park (which was closed for the season, shhhh), and continued west. By this point, I was beginning to hone in on a possible destination: I’d thought of California, or perhaps Utah, but I was feeling pretty drawn to Sedona, AZ, as the miles ticked away, so I set my sights there.
I’ve always been interested in Sedona, a place best known for being a kind of New Age mecca. I had briefly visited the town many years earlier with family, and during a late night gas stop outside of town I’d struck up a conversation with three guys from M.I.T. who were in town conducting research. Their work dealt with the Earth’s magnetic grid and the Sedona “vortex phenomena”. As they explained it, anywhere two grid lines intersect is a technically vortex, but Sedona is unique because the iron-oxide in the red-rock acts as a natural amplifier, allowing people to actually experience the energy physically at times. I had no reason to doubt them, given their bona fides, the school they hailed from, and the fact that Native Americans have long considered the vortexes to be sacred sites.
I never forgot that conversation, I mean, any place considered interesting to both scientists and spiritual seekers is bound to appeal to me, right? Perhaps it was that talk which drew me back to Sedona, who can say. But the further I drove west, the more resolved I became about heading for the mysterious desert town.
The day before my arrival, I checked into a cheap motel for the night and began browsing AirBnB for possible places to stay upon reaching my destination. Sedona, as you may know, is expensive. I spent a while searching for lodgings - for something that jumped out or spoke to me - but nothing seemed to fit exactly. I ended my browsing session a little discouraged, but figured it would somehow become clear when I got there.
The next day, someone close to me messaged as I drove down a hot and sunny interstate 19 towards Tuscan. She asked where I would be staying in Sedona, and I replied that I didn’t know, that I was going to see what happened when I got there. A couple minutes later she replied with an AirBnB link titled, “Sacred Rocks Sedona,” saying she hadn’t had a chance to look at it closely, but had a feeling it was for me. I immediately clicked on the link, but wasn’t going to try reading about the place while driving down the interstate. It was strange though: I hadn’t seen this listing the previous night, and I wondered to myself exactly how I’d missed it.
As I glanced at the summary with one eye - keeping the other on the road - I was struck to see the price listed at $69 a night, which is unheard of in Sedona. Also, I noticed the rental was a trailer on someone’s property, but couldn't investigate any further while on the highway … yet, I had a growing feeling about the listing that agreed with my friend’s intuition. So, with no better options, I decided that I would go with the trailer in question if it had air conditioning, as temperatures would be 100+ during my stay. Glancing once again at the listing - still driving - I saw that the trailer did indeed have AC. That settled it. I pushed the button and requested the trailer for three nights.
About an hour after sending my request, I got a reply from the proprietor inquiring as to the nature of my visit, which I considered to be quite strange. I replied that I was looking for a quiet, meditative spot to do some resting, perhaps writing. Another hour passed and I got a second message providing an address and verifying my reservation, and just like that I had found a place to stay in Sedona. I knew I might be in for a pretty sketchy situation, but I didn't mind. I wasn't planning to spend much time there anyway. Funny thing about plans ...
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I rolled into town, but I figured low-expectations would serve me quite well on this day: I’d been to Sedona before, and a $69 trailer sounded awfully dubious to me. To my surprise, the place was located just a few minutes outside of town - unexpectedly convenient. My GPS led me down some dirt roads as I continued, not past run-down properties, but beautiful ones. I began to wonder to myself what $69 trailer could possibly be located in such a nice area. Before too long, I saw a large metal sculpture of a horse that had been placed in the center of a rock garden beside the entrance to a large piece of property. Examining the address, I realized this was the place I was looking for. There was a sign placed there at the front of the drive that read “Sedona Sacred Rocks Metaphysical B&B.”
Of course it did.
I laughed to myself about having booked to stay at a place that advertised itself as a “Metaphysical B&B.” Firstly, it’s just not something you’d see in Michigan (or a lot of other places for that matter), secondly, it’s the kind of place I might have picked, if only out of curiosity. In this case, I’d ended up doing it without intending to. I was beginning to feel a measure of confidence about my decision ... time would tell.
As I parked my vehicle and got out, I was met by a man, Rick, who greeted me with a hug and introduced himself as one of the owners, the other being his wife, Meaghan. Rick explained that Meaghan was an Ojibwa indian healer who knew and worked with tribal elders in the area. The property was a beautiful horse farm, and Meaghan not only trained horses, she utilized them in healing ceremonies -- something I’d not heard of.
Touring the property, I learned that it had previously been a Buddhist retreat center. When the Buddhists departed, the place found Meaghan and Rick. As Rick showed me around, we passed by a large, traditional medicine wheel which sat in opposition to a stupa the Buddhists had built. The new owners had placed a large, red-stone, pyramid on top of the stupa soon after their arrival. I took notice of numerous hammocks spread about the property as well as the amazing, red-rock canyons walls which surrounded our location and, as we walked on, we were joined by a dog and a cat, both incredibly friendly. As Rick showed me around, it quickly became clear that this place was … perfect.
In completing our tour Rick led me to the door of a beautiful, new, ultralight trailer. Outside there were chairs placed beneath a large awning that extended out from one side, facing an incredibly scenic vista. Entering the trailer, I saw that it had all the amenities: a kitchen, dining area, bathroom, bedroom, etc. It was beautiful. I wondered to myself, “how is this all costing me $69 a night?” As if on cue, Rick said, “You don’t know how lucky you are to be here. You can’t just get into this place … we’re always booked solid.” I listened as Rick explained that the trailer we were standing in belonged to their family, and how they'd be taking it on vacation the next week. In anticipation of the trip, he’d gotten it ready to go, then decided to list it on AirBnB just that morning, thinking maybe he could make a few dollars prior to the trip.
I now understood the reason I hadn’t seen the trailer on AirBnB the previous night: it wasn’t there to be seen. I was standing in a peaceful, beautiful location - an ideal destination for considering some of the questions I had been wrestling with - and I knew in that moment that I couldn’t have gotten there directly. Even if I’d known about the place, I wouldn’t have been able to get a reservation. What was required for me to stay there was for me to show up in Sedona on that very day: the day the trailer was put up for rent (and for a kind person to care enough to find the listing and send it to me).
As was becoming a regularity in my life, I found myself in the right place at the right time, not because of meticulous planning, but via the actions of an open heart and a willingness to follow where it might lead. It was harrowing at times, learning to live in this fashion, but it always seemed to deliver in the end, which had made a believer out of me. More to come!
Americana Singer Songwriter Ed Dupas’ lived-in melodies unwind with reflective lyrics that speak to the current state of the human condition. Soothing where possible, agitating where necessary, and calling for change where appropriate. Ed Dupas creates and shares well worn wide awake music.
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