Fishing Lake Hamilton

Fishing Lake Hamilton

Our home resort. Early spring fishing week almost every year. Jim is taking advantage of every minute of daylight.

-Theresa S. from Paris, Arizona

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Sedona – So much to do, see and eat!

I hope you enjoyed our stories, photos, and tips about Sedona this week! Before we move on to another topic, I’d like to leave you with one last story – my story! – about a recent trip to Sedona:

After many years of hearing the praises of Sedona, I finally took the plunge and went for a week in mid-May.  I can't believe I waited this long! The drive from Phoenix to Sedona only takes about two hours and flies by with all the new sights to take in (loved seeing all the cacti). Once you hit the red rocks, you'll be blown away!

Entering Sedona by car is breathtaking.  You will want to stop and take pictures along the way but I recommend waiting so the cars behind you don't get mad.  You will have plenty of time for pictures when you plan an excursion or two (or three or four...).  After attending a breakfast orientation at my resort, my decision was made.  I would do a hot air balloon ride, an all day trip to the Grand Canyon, and a day trip to Jerome, AZ.  Please keep in mind that these were my personal choices.  There are so many things to do and see in Sedona (either on your own or by tour).  Your options are endless.

I have to say that the highlight of my trip was the hot air balloon ride.  It is something I can now mark off my bucket list.  They picked me up at 4:30am and we were in the air by 7am. We floated for about an hour and fifteen minutes and then, once back on the ground, had breakfast and champagne courtesy of the hot air balloon company.  What an unforgettable experience!

You can't go to Sedona without checking out the Grand Canyon!  I had been there as a kid, but was dying to go back.  No disappointments there!  Had a wonderful day.  I didn't want to do it on my own so I did go on a 12 hour tour.  So worth it.  A wonderful lunch at the El Tovar Hotel and even got to stop at a Navajo Reservation on our way back to Sedona.

Last, but not least, was my day trip to Jerome, AZ.  I did this on my own as it is an easy, albeit curvy, drive up a mountain, about 40 minutes from Sedona.  Lots of fun, eclectic shops and history here.  I did more shopping than history. I even had a fabulous lunch of a hotdog wrapped in bacon with all kinds of yummy toppings with a side of flash fried spinach (a must).

I could write a novel about Sedona and all the fun stuff to do, see and eat (there are so many great restaurants).  I can't wait to go back!


Hot air balloon ride

Hot air balloon ride

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Jerome, Arizona

Jerome, Arizona

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Sedona Pines Resort

Last year my husband Charles (age 72) and myself (age 73) drove to Sedona, Arizona and stayed a week in Sedona Pines Resort. We enjoyed the trip there, but were really pleasantly surprised at the accommodations at Sedona Pines. It was lovely with everything we could ask for in the way of convenience.

It was conveniently located to take in all of the lovely rocks and canyons, take a train trip and shop. We were able to go to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park...No one can describe the beauty of the canyons, rocks and all the other surroundings. We will go back again.

-Lillian G. from Russell, KY

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Red Rocks of Sedona

As we entered the Sedona Summit resort, the views were breathtaking. The red rocks of Sedona will not and did not disappoint. The resort was lovely and centrally located to many points of interest in Sedona, Arizona. I think one of the most fascinating sights we saw was the petroglyphs, etched in the rock, for all posterity. Telling the story, in pictures, of ancient peoples and their struggles to survive in the Arizona desert...Just a phenomenal written history, still standing for all to see. I would not hesitate to return to the beautiful Sedona Summit to relive the lives of our ancestors.

-Judith K. from Avondale, AZ

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Our 2011 Arizona vacation - Sedona Pines Resort

Loved this resort! Participated in Zumba and water aerobics. Took the Verde Canyon Railroad trip and an extreme jeep tour! Drove to the Grand Canyon for a day, while staying at this resort. Loved Sedona so much that we purchased another timeshare at their sister resort.

- Nancy and Steve F.

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My trip to Phoenix, Arizona was incredible. It was the first trip that I took with my daughters off the east coast. The resort was beautiful and the change of scenery was spectacular. We went to several national landmarks. It was a great experience for my family to see the other side of the country. I did not know how hot it was going to be in August but the resort had water misters, another new experience for us, and double pools. We were given a 3 bedroom lock -out which gave us ample space.

- Laurie K. from Waller, TX

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Looking for history and breathtaking views? Go no further than the Grand Canyon

Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"For those of you who read my blogs, you know I've got the greatest job in the world! As the RCI Guy, I get to travel all over the world and visit fantastic RCI affiliated resorts. Yup, my job is great.


My most recent travels took me to New York City, Galveston and Austin, Texas, then down to Barbados and finally on to Phoenix, Arizona. Each place I am able to visit is unique and offers different things to do while on vacation...but for me, I've always been partial to the mountains in the West and the Southwestern portion of the United States. I love the raw, rugged and often unspoiled beauty that’s offered among the stunning mountain and fertile valleys fed by small streams and roaring rivers. I love to drive through Utah, Colorado and Wyoming and discover new, hidden areas where my kids and I can go camping or fishing. The world seems to more easily slip away in these serene places. History comes alive and I like to let my imagination take me back several hundred years, when brave explorers were blazing new trails throughout the West… Imagine what the Spanish explorer, García López de Cárdenas must have thought in 1540 as one of the first Europeans to see the Grand Canyon…277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep.


I like the views from the North Rim the best. When you pull into the parking lot, take the paved trail to the left and just a few yards away you'll find a beautiful, weather-worn bench planted in the earth as firmly as the interesting tree providing shade directly overhead. Take a seat on that bench and the view will take your breath away! No wonder the Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site. For me, there is definitely something "spiritual" about it. The endless array of colors splashing across the rocks as the sun reshapes the canyon through long shadows at the beginning and end of every day.


It's hard to fathom the magnitude of this monumental scar in the ground until you reach the rim and peer down into the belly of this awe inspiring beast. I haven't taken on the challenge of hiking from rim to rim but have taken an exhilarating mule ride down to the bottom. I've got some very cool pictures from that trip. In fact, if you want to enjoy the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, consider booking ”Red Rock Ride". This six day adventure is one of the coolest things I have every experienced! You ride with real cowboys as they guide you through the heart of all three of these mesmerizing masterpieces of nature – my favorite was Bryce Canyon! But the Grand Canyon was a close second. If witnessing one of the Seven Wonders of the World is on your bucket list, then make plans to visit the Grand Canyon on your next vacation. It's a sight you won't soon forget... I promise!


Come back this week to the RCI Blog, where we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited the Grand Canyon. If you have a story or picture of your own, share it here!

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Pagosa Springs, CO

We have been coming to Pagosa Springs for many years and staying at Fairfield Pagosa, now called Wyndham Pagosa. We fish and golf, bike and hike, we just love the area and the beautiful surroundings. While biking around the area, we saw a house for sale and bought it last summer. This has been our first summer spent in our mountain retreat and now we are free to travel elsewhere to find new places we have never seen. We have friends come up to visit and if we run out of room, we can just book them into an affiliated resort. It was so wonderful to come here year after year and see that it was a place we would like to spend our summers since we are from the Phoenix, Arizona area and it is too hot to stay there in the summers. We love RCI and exchanging!


- Barbara C. from Morristown, AZ

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I have been an RCI subscribing member for over 20 years. We have visited so many wonderful resorts, it's hard to pick just one that stands out. My story is one about just being a member of a quality organization that continues to enhance its services year over year and offers so many choices for vacationing. Although we've visited beautiful places over the years, I think my kids' favorite place is Lake Havasu in Arizona which happens to be the resort we own but one time, we ended up exchanging back into it because my kids wanted to go back and I had already banked my week!

- Genny C. from Los Alamitos, CA
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Puerto Peñasco…one of Mexico’s Oldest Tourist Destinations!

Roberto L. - Latin America Vacation StoriesHome to the largest sand dunes in the western hemisphere and once a host for NASA lunar excursion trainings, the Piñacate Peaks have welcomed travelers to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora for the past 90 years, making this world class tourist destination one of Mexico’s oldest. Just a 4 hour drive south from Phoenix Arizona, Puerto Peñasco has something to offer for just about every traveler.

Since the 1920s, North Americans have been vacationing here and since then many have made it their home. Today, Sandy Beach boasts of modern vacation condominiums, luxurious resorts, and championship golf.  I have been traveling here frequently since 2006, and being the small community it is, have found it easy to call this my second home, of which I will share with you travelers a quick tour of the “house”:

“The Kitchen” – Whether its pizza at Capone’s, breakfast at the legendary Coffee’s Haus or fine international dinning at the 4 diamond awarded La Maria Bistro at Las Palomas resort, you are guaranteed authentic atmospheres, Mexican hospitality and happy taste buds.

“The Living Room” – Take a load off and relax on a 40 ft. fishing boat while cruising off the archipelago of San Jorge Island (Bird Island) and wait for the sawfish, grouper and horse mackerel to bite. Or, live the experience at Mayan Palace’s Peninsula de Cortez Golf Club, home to the Uniting Nations Cup and its nine ocean front holes that are up to par with its northern counterpart, Pebble Beach.

“The Back Yard” – A day trip to the Piñacate volcanic crater will provide incredible images for your photo album, as will the vast desert that surrounds with its 553 species of plants, 237 species of birds (the red-tailed falcon being my favorite to spot!). This nationally protected biosphere is a must for all travelers. ATV rides along miles of sand dunes are also highly recommended, and with a coastline of over 100 kilometers, long walks along the Sea of Cortez are very enjoyable.

Whether you enjoyed a delicious meal, took a relaxing boat ride or collected sea shells on the beaches of El Mirador, La Cholla or Las Conchas, you will have many memories to share with family and friends. But one will stand out…and that is the plan to return and continue living the experience.

Mi casa es tu casa.

This week on the RCI Blog, we will show you stories and photos from other RCI subscribing members who have visited Puerto Peñasco. Be sure to check back!

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Traded our timeshare for a trip to Sedona, Arizona in 2007, stayed at the Sedona Pines Resort in April of that year. One of the most tranquil, picturesque places we've ever been to. There is definitely an energy there that really is part of its charm. The color of the sky along with the landscape at all times of the day really brings one back to nature and all it has to offer. On a tour we took with a guide, a member of the party asked him where the best spot was for a photo. He looked at this person and said; "anywhere you want." That about sums it up.

- Ken L. from Simsbury Center, CT
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Arizona 2009

Last year we went with my parents to Cornville, Arizona. It was the best timeshare we had exchanged for. Very well laid-out and great pool for the grandkids to play with their Granna and Papa. We saw great Indian ruins, the Grand Canyon, relaxed, hiked in Sedona, and enjoyed the warm weather away from the cold Alaska winter. Thanks to RCI for providing great resorts!

- Leo G. from Stillwater, MN
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AZ for Xmas

All five of us - myself, my husband and our three children ranging in ages from 17-10; went to Arizona for Christmas in 2008. We stayed at the Camelback Resort. I have to say we had a wonderful time. There was so much to do driving and hiking on the scenic trails. Swimming in December was the best and it was the last year my daughter was traveling with us due to her college plans. So it was very important to me that everyone was happy with our choices of activities. We had the great weather, interesting shops to explore and wonderful staff at the resort.

The next week we spent New Year's Eve in Sedona at another RCI affiliated timeshare. Just when I thought things couldn't get better it did. We had the same great experience at the resort and the beauty of our surroundings. We did a jeep tour, went to the Grand Canyon and explored the area. We even saw fireworks on New Year's Eve at a local Casino on a Native American Reservation. I think this was an example of a great itinerary and perfect timing. All the kids had a blast and we were extremely happy with our choice of places to explore during the holidays.

- Carol G. from North Haven, CT
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Canyons, Hiking, Beautiful Scenery and More… All on an Arizona Vacation!

Susie M. - RCI Subscribing Member Vacation ExperiencesThree years ago, my family planned a winter vacation to sunny Sedona, Arizona. We bought our Red Rock Pass and picked up a trail map from the local Chamber of Commerce, then we hiked, and hiked, and hiked, each trail offering more adventure and more scenery than the last. We all enjoyed the area immensely, hiking, shopping, dining, and enjoying the fabulous resort pool and hot tub to our hearts’ content.

Making the most of our timeshare travel, we’ve visited Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., even Disney during our winter vacations, but this is the area we like to return to the most. We’re not alone in our adoration of Arizona! At my job with RCI, I am fortunate to hear vacation stories from our RCI subscribing members. Here’s what other timeshare owners had to say* about their Sedona resort vacations:

Linda, Wilmington, NC: We absolutely loved our trip to Arizona. We stayed in Sedona for the week. It is impossible to describe or photograph how beautiful it was. It was also our base for the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest and Page Canyon. What a wonderful week. We will return to this destination.

Alan, Ankeny, IA: Wanting to take a great winter vacation, my wife and I invited a couple to go with us to Sedona, Arizona. It was February and we found the weather to be great jacket weather. It was warm enough to golf and reasonably priced golf courses were found. Our condo exchange was the most beautiful we ever had and had a small lock-out unit attached which was wonderful for two couples. The scenery was beautiful and we really enjoyed the vacation.

Elaine, Milford, CT: Sedona, Arizona, is a dream destination. We have used our timeshare there several times, and never cease to marvel at the natural rock formations and of course the people. Best adventure is the side trip to Grand Canyon close by — don’t miss it!

Robert, Galt, CA: Our trip to Sedona, Arizona, was one of the funniest and most relaxing vacations we have taken in the 20+ years we have been members of RCI. Stayed at Sedona Summit, a great place. Each day we explored the area seeing some of the most beautiful scenery, Indian ruins, red rocks, beautiful homes, interesting rock formations, and talking to the locals about the area. The entire trip was one of awe. Fortunately, we had fantastic weather. We had the time of our lives.

* Although we've corrected some spelling and technical errors, these vacation stories from RCI members are otherwise unchanged. They are not meant to inform you about resorts, destinations or about RCI® products and services. Some stories mention unusual exceptions made or circumstances that may not be typical for most vacationers. RCI always recommends that you do your own research when making travel plans.

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