Giving ourselves plenty of time to get to Utah, Ace and I spent an unrushed afternoon in Sedona yesterday, figuring it would be the sort of place that I could unleash not just my dog, but possibly my chakra.
Possibly, I reasoned, simply driving through its red-rocked beauty might magically re-align my life energy, and perhaps my car’s as well.
I don’t think any of those things happened, but we had an excellent lunch, which, of course, is far more important.
We started off with a short walk among the red rocks at one of the pullovers, where a group of tourists flocked to Ace’s side, and asked if they could take their picture with him.
Later, I pulled into Tlaquepaque, an artsy-craftsy community in town. There we found the Secret Garden, which really isn’t secret at all. I learned about it, and its dog-friendliness online.
We were seated on the patio, where five other dogs — three poodles at one table, two mutts at another — barely raised an eyebrow. The humans in the restaurant were another story, many of them pointing at Ace, and commenting on his size and, of course, handsomeness, and three stopping at my table to inquire as to his breed.
The waitress brought Ace a huge bowl of water, which he was happy for, and me a portabello mushroom sandwich, with roasted red peppers and a few other vegetables on sourdough bread. I made a point of asking them to hold the chakra.
(Note: Chakra is not a vegetable — in case any of you, like me, may have once thought it was a hybrid of chard and okra. No, it’s quite different. According to Wikipedia, “Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the etheric double of man.” Clear enough?)
The sandwich was pretty good, even without any meat, and the restaurant had a nice relaxing vibe, which, in Sedona — the rusty-terrained land of psychics and spiritualists, hallowed rocks and the hopelessly holistic — is pretty much required.
Strolling past the art galleries afterwards, we followed the new age music and came upon a keyboard player named Robin Miller, who interrupted the song he was playing to greet Ace, then entertained him by making barking noises on his keyboard.
Ace was doted on — and deservedly so — by a few more people before we left. It’s amazing how he brings smiles to so many faces — my own included. Moreso than my chakra, I think, it is he that keeps me aligned.
From Sedona, we headed to Flagstaff (the closest affordable motels) on 89A, a winding mountain road along Oak Creek. My car seemed to putter some on the climb, leading to me to wonder if maybe there’s something to that “Malfunction Indicator Light” after all. Possibly my car’s chakra needs work.
But we made it to Flagstaff. And yes, it’s still here. Other than a little smoke in the mountains, the fire you’ve probably heard about is burning out and not threatening the town.
Tomorrow, we’ll continue on to Kanab, Utah, where on Tuesday, we’re scheduled to do a little volunteer work at Best Friends, the animal sanctuary.
(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)