Yes, this is primarily a gardening and houseplant blog, but I like to mix it up. So today I’m going to take you along on my recent journey to Arizona to see none other than our beloved Expert Dottie! She is awesome!

I don’t know how many of you have been to Sedona, but it’s one of the prettiest I’ve ever been. I was alternating between my regular camera and my phone camera, so bear with me. (I’ve been busy since I got back, so I didn’t have time to alter the photos in Picasa – I’m presenting them exactly as the cameras took them, just so you know.)

Dottie and her wonderful daughter Cindy took us on a tour of the area. They were great hosts, of course.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Gorgeous!

Oh, did I mention that Expert Andy also met us? That’s him in the middle. My friend Amy made the journey with me, and all three of us in the photo below went to high school together in Indiana:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

It was great to be together again.

This is the view from the Sedona airport:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

And the views from the chapel in the rocks:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Beautiful!

How lucky am I to have been with two Experts at once? (Sorry about the washed out photo – we were in the shade.)

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

And the three amigos:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

The following images are from a morning hike we took. I love how colorful the mountains were, and how diverse the landscape:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

If you’ve never been to Sedona, it really is a magical place. The locals have a saying that “God created the Grand Canyon but lives in Sedona.”

Speaking of, Amy and I decided that we couldn’t leave the state without swinging by the Grand Canyon (the state of Arizona opened the National Park despite the government shutdown). The South Rim is only about an hour north of Flagstaff, so how could we resist? Neither of us had ever been before, but I’m guessing lots of you readers have. I’ll try not to overload you with too many photos.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

I loved all the shadows from the clouds.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

It was a whirlwind trip, but soooooo worth it. Very impressive, Mother Nature, very impressive indeed.

We had one more stop to make before heading back to Albuquerque. Dottie’s daughter Cindy recommended that we go see the volcano to the east of Flagstaff, so we did.

On the way into the park, we got a great view of Flagstaff and the San Francisco Mountains:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Unfortunately, the volcano’s park was closed due to the shutdown. 😦

But the park ranger let us to drive through and see the sights – we just weren’t allowed to stop at any of the pulloff areas or the overlooks. So all the photos we took were from the car.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

What’s left of the volcano:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

That’s Flagstaff in the distance:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

LAVA FLOW!!!!!!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

That was so cool to see!

More lava on the other side of the road:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Arizona Love

Despite the limitations, we were really glad we stopped at that park. It was very cool to see the lava and the surrounding area.

Arizona may be a weird political place, but its natural beauty is outstanding. It was a very good mini vacation.

It was so great to see Dottie and Andy – I could really feel the Arizona love. Thank you again to Dottie and Cindy for your hospitality and generosity. Thanks Andy for driving over to meet us. Thank you Arizona for relaxing me.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an all-new Ask the Experts panel and a new puzzler. You still have time to guess the current puzzler, in which I asked if this plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

It’s a tricky one – so you’ve been warned. If you want to venture a guess, leave it in the comments section or on my facebook wall.

I hope to see you back here tomorrow.