Megan and I have been off the road for about 2 weeks now. After hitching into Flagstaff we nursed our bruised adventure bones with ample locally brewed beer and pizza. Being a poorfessional cyclist is hard work. We caught the last farmers market of the season and charmed the local (actually) homeless population into telling us about the good local camping. Downtown Flagstaff is located not far from Coconino National Forest and so the first few nights we made our 5 mile commute to a campsite in the shadow of Mount Humphreys. Were we more energetic bagging the highest point in the state would have been fun, but our prodigious supplies of vim and vigor bled out in the Navajo Nation and watered the infinite fields of sagebrush and goat heads.
Incidentally, the Navajo Nation was not as bad as white folks liked to tell me. I’m about halfway done writing up our time there, as I am with my time anywhere in the Southwest. Summary: Good people in a bad situation. No water.
Mickey Mouse Mesa
Flagstaff is but a stone’s throw from Sedona, vortex capital of the nation. What is a vortex? A vortex is created when people get dizzy from too much crystal healing and yoga in the desert sun. Sedona is a popular place and chances are you’ve already been there. Lots of sandstone and t-shirt shops. I think I get a bingo for visiting the most gentrified Southwestern cites: Santa Fe, Taos, Flagstaff and Sedona. Durango probably belongs on that list. We hiked a little, got some culture, snuck into the luxury L’Auberge de Sedona hotel and cowboy camped in a field in an attempt to catch the Orionid meteor shower. Megan’s inflatable sleeping pad caught a very sharp stick.
Mostly, though, we waited for our train back to Pittsburgh. We decided the best way to celebrate Halloween was to surprise our friends at the annual costume bike ride. We dressed as cowboys using some found and thrifted objects, befitting the overall Southwest theme of my journey. I spent a day scouring Flagstaff for the perfect shoes to replace my worn trail runners. I couldn’t countenance subjecting other people to shoes so malodorous. I mean people other than Megan. Once aboard the train it was a two day journey …
It’s been great to be back among familiar people and places! Everyone is happy, healthy and positive, even Angela who got crushed by a car this past Spring. What a trooper that lady is! All the local institutions I care about are strong thanks to the involvement of good people. My old lab seems really successful and talking to scientists about science makes me want to get involved again.
The other impetus to rush back to Pittsburgh is that I neglected to get an absentee ballot for tomorrow’s election. Once I wash my hands of the political machine I’m going to saddle up and ride East for a few days to reach Boston by Thanksgiving. It’s been a year. In the event that I disappear again and you wonder just where it was that Chris rode his bike for the past year direct your attention here:
I promise if nothing else I’ll share my favorite photographs and anecdotes and tell you where it is that I end up whenever that’s decided.