Adventure-seeking parents seek adventure, free iPad

My parents weren’t supposed to visit this year. Instead, they were going to the Bahamas. For reasons that aren’t worth getting into but that involve a travel agent, an airline voucher, a healthy dose of miscommunication, and my Catholic deacon father fearing an influence of Rastafarian culture, the Bahamas turned into Jamaica, which immediately turned into Arizona.

Still, my parents desired to get some sort of traditional vacation out of their annual visit. Something more extravagant, if you can imagine, than going to the same place for lunch for 10 days straight and watching Dateline NBC every night while drinking green tea before going to bed at 8:30. (Which, by the way, is exactly what they would do in the Bahamas.)

As such, we all made a weekend getaway trip to the “Bahamas of the north”—Sedona. Sedona is seriously one of the most beautiful, weirdest places on Earth. My wife and I love going up there, and no matter how many times we do, the sheer beauty of the surroundings never fails to take our breath away.

Still, after that sets in, one quickly realizes, “Wait, there is nothing to do here except look around.” Sure, there are the famous Pink Jeep Tours, but our girls are too young for that and my parents are not your typical pink-loving, off-roading, adventure seekers. Their greatest adventure is getting from the airport to the car rental place, an unpredictable roller-coaster ride that feeds their need for exhilaration for the next 11 months.

(Although, strangely enough, they have been going through a zip-lining phase. Everywhere they have visited recently they have managed to find a zip-line. Last year when they arrived for their visit, one of the first things my dad asked was, “Where’s the closest zip-line?” I had no answer, but months later while driving on I17 my wife and I saw a billboard touting a zip-line at the Out of Africa Zoo, and I derived great enjoyment from picturing my parents—who order lasagna at literally every restaurant—zip-lining over a field of lions.)

ANYWAY, speaking of adventure, here is a list of things to do in Sedona:

•    pet a dog
•    buy a “Sedona rock” for $169.95
•    browse various Kokopelli things
•    drink coffee
•    engage a person wearing a fisherman’s hat and high socks with sandals in a conversation about his spirit animal

The best way to circumvent the lack of things to do is to stay somewhere self-contained with a pool and nice views, and that’s what we did. In fact, it was one of those time-share places that have trapped my parents many, many times:

Concierge: And we’re having a meeting tomorrow from 9-10 a.m., just to discuss all our hotel has to offer. There will be coffee, and you’re entered to win an iPad just for showing up!

Parents: Really? OK. But don’t try to sell us anything, ha, ha!

Concierge: Oh, there’s no pressure whatsoever.


Parents: (buy time share)

My parents arrived at the complex before we did, and I imagined that by the time we got there they would have owned the suite we were staying in, telling each other things like, “If we come here just 21 times a year, it pays for itself!” Thankfully, they were able to avoid that temptation.

(True story: A year after we moved to Arizona, in an effort to “see us more,” my mom spent $6,000 on a time share-ish thing called "Vacation Club," although she quickly discovered the owner of the property had been accused of fraud, at which point she contacted the Attorney General's Office (not the FBI, unfortunately) and Visa, neither of which did anything. She did not get to see us more.)

We managed to have a wonderful time, and there is no theme to this column other than allowing me to have fun at the expense of my parents. Also, this was sponsored by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce. Thank you.

Sedona: Challenging the notion that an infinity amount of Kokopellis is too many Kokopellis.

Note: This column appears in the 5/22 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/23 issue of the Peoria Times.