Rednecks, Hippies, and Hipsters
Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
56Trip End Ongoing
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But I digress...
Tuba City. Wow. In a town with not much more than a dozen streets, I somehow took the wrong turn, improperly reading the sign pointing me towards highway 160. I drove a few blocks up "Main Street". Well, crawled up main street. A speed limit of 15, behind a school bus going about half that. It gave me plenty of time to observe town: a "7 2 11" store (not 7-11), a humorous street sign (see photo), and old, dilapidated buildings - most of which were [assumed] deserted and boarded up. I was back on the highway as soon as I could be.
Flagstaff was added to my list of desired destinations thanks to Jen, an old (ok, not that old) high school friend. She lives in Tucson, and for a few years now we have been talking about trying to get together somewhere. A couple months ago, when this crazy vagabond idea first came into my head, I called her up. "Jen! I have good news! After the ski season ends I'm gonna be homeless and jobless and on the road, and plan to make a stop in Tucson to come see you!" "Awesome
An odd blend of rednecks, hippies, and hipsters. I killed some time at Macy's Coffehouse, and reading a new book in the park (The Maze Runner - I highly recommend it, although be warned it's the first part of a trilogy so you may want to wait until all three parts are out). Jen got to town around noon, we found some lunch, wandered, shopped (well, she shopped, I sorta just followed), etc, and found a place to camp in some National Forest land outside of town. While on the road, I've been trying to catch as many breweries and open mics as possible That night was my first open mic (I've missed a couple by just a day or so)! Both of us were exhausted from travel and knew that we had to wake early to hike, so I did not want to play late. Lucky for me, spots 2-8 were already taken, but spot 1 was still open. Performers hate going first. You essentially become the sound check. Which I was. But I don't care. I try to just enjoy myself, play the best I can, and ignore that anyone else is even paying attention. A lot of time, they're not, so it works out well.
We woke at 6 the next morning to climb Mt Humphrey's. At an elevation of 12,637, it is the highest point in Arizona, towering over Flagstaff like a volcano (see the photo, at the bottom)
Despite some haze in the distance, the view from the top of Arizona was stunning. You don't notice it too much while driving, but the approach to
Flagstaff from the north is like driving through a giant acne-field (click here, make sure you have terrain turned on).
Like a 14er, the descent was a little rough on the knees, but also pleasant as we passed dozens of people heaving and sweating still pushing or dragging their way up. Except for one guy, who's pace was a slow jog while coming towards us. He was maybe 15 years old, and wore no shirt. Or shoes. You read that right - no shoes. No shoes, no shirt, no water. And practically jogging. I was a little ahead of Jen on the descent. After the young man passed me, I waited. "Was I seeing things?", I asked when she arrived. "Nope. You weren't." I don't know whether the kid is crazy, or brilliant, in a way. Just another example of how there is a fine line between brilliance and insanity (haven't you ever noticed how all of the truly brilliant people in history were also a little nuts?)
<Before we continue, my apologies if this "dear diary" entry is boring you
I had decided a few days earlier that after sleeping in my truck for two weeks and spending all day on the trail getting my butt kicked by a mountain, I would probably want to sleep in a bed and have a shower. I booked a room at the Hotel Monte Vista - an historic and supposedly haunted hotel right in the middle of historic downtown Flagstaff. A modest room, no AC, some quirks, and a broken elevator (our room was on the third floor, which normally wouldn't matter except that we could hardly move after the climb), but it was reasonably priced, fun, and perfect for the occasion.
After washing off layers of sunscreen, sweat, and Humphrey's (in separate showers - don't get too excited, people), we mustered up enough energy to find some food. Actually, we found some food (sushi!!!), went back and rested, and then went out for food again a few hours later. Checking the second item off of my list, we visited the Lumberyard Brewing Company. Not bad. Until they started karaoke. Bad, bad, bad. And it's not true karaoke if you stay in your seat and the host brings the mic to you.
We had ventured to the "wrong side of the tracks", and were surprised to find that our route was blocked by the Amtrac train loading passengers
Due to the lack of AC, we opened the windows to let the cool, night air in. You would have thought we were in the middle of a city! The sounds of cars, people laughing and screaming outside of the downstairs bar, some sirens (truly, not just adding this for effect), and the eventual departure of the Amtrac roadblock, which sounded like a pack of rabid Harleys. Despite the noise, sleep came quickly.
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