The best laid plans ...

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Where I stayed
a random motel

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, August 30, 2009

After Hawaii I had planned on flying into Los Angeles, both because it would be interesting to check out and I assumed it was the cheapest place to fly in to, but interestingly enough, the second reason proved to be false. All the cheapest flights I could find for some reason flew into Phoenix, Arizona, first and cost about $200 more than simply flying to Phoenix, so I decided to skip L.A. for now in interest of saving money, both from the flight and from doing everything I would want to do there. Also, I've heard it's hard to get around without your own car.

On arriving in Phoenix, I had no idea what I was going to do. I got in in the morning after an overnight flight, so I had plenty of time to find a place to stay. I had only seen one hostel on the Internet for Phoenix, but it didn't open for the season until two days later, so I was on my own for lodging. I checked out the YMCA, thinking it might be fun to stay there, and for a moment it seemed my instincts were spot on when they told me a dorm bed was $25 ... but then they said I would also have to pay a $25 fee for a background check so they could make sure I wasn't a felon. I decided to pass (not because I actually am a felon, but because I was loathe to spend the amount of money I could get a cheap hotel or nice motel for) and moved on. After scoping out several motels, I found one that offered a room to me for $35 after I explained I was looking for a hostel or cheap accommodation, which I took simply because I pretty much had to. It at least offered privacy, a rare treat after months in dorm rooms, and my own bathroom and shower, as well as free breakfast and TV. Good times.

Later that day, I went to check out bike shops. I had decided I would try to do some cycle touring rather than hitch or otherwise use motor vehicles, a decision I came to regret a little after a while, but that's for later. I ended up purchasing a hybrid bike, a rack and panniers for my touring needs, pushing my credit card further into the red, but c'est la vie. I rode it back the 80-some-odd blocks to my motel room and felt good about my chances.

The next day I decided I would bike to Flagstaff, Arizona, about 144 miles away. Silly boy. I knew it would take several days and was prepared for that, but what I didn't realize was how long it would take to get out of Phoenix. In retrospect, I should have taken the bus as far as possible and then started biking, but I just headed north on my bike and traveled more than 150 blocks before I got a punctured tire. I think it was probably because I had my pack tied to the rear rack, which also had the panniers attached, and although the guy that repaired it said it could have been running over anything, I decided to wear my pack rather than tie it down. That made it incredibly more difficult to bike, leaving me out of breath much easier than with it tied on, so I ended up just getting a bus to Flagstaff, a plan I was very grateful for after seeing the distance and incline of the road north. So it goes.
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