Day 70 (2016-11-04): ~30 miles from Williams to Flagstaff, AZ. Mostly I-40 with some time on historic Route 66. Shitty shoulders on I-40.
This morning I looked up the weather for yesterday – low just above freezing at 36 degrees in the early hours of morning, with the wind chill dropping just below freezing. It rained briefly last night. I was nice and cozy in my sleeping bag but breaking down camp this morning was rough – freezing, wet hands struggling to disconnect the gromits on my rainfly from the tent poles. I may need to get new gloves if I stick around for a while… I also looked up the hottest day going through the Mohave – 94 degrees and sunny as hell. That was just a week ago. So much weather change!
Now I am sitting at Cafe 326 on Route 66 in Williams, enjoying a warm tea and letting the sun do it’s job. I was awake at 6 and packed up heading into town at 7 – I’ll sit here until about 9 before I head into Flagstaff, if I decide to do that. I meet a fellow traveler touring the country in his truck. He started in New Hampshire, went all the way to the Yukon, came back down to LA, and is slowly working his way back to New Hampshire. We talk for a good half an hour as we both set to leave, and I wonder at how many people are out here doing something similar to me. It’s not really about the biking, although it is a big difference. It is about the experience and exploration. I think everyone should do this while they are young.
The ride today is short – just 30 miles to Flagstaff. The portion on I-40 sucks but whatever. For a few miles I detour on old Route 66 into Parks, AZ – woah, look at those mountains! I breeze downhill after a steady climb, quiet ponderosa pine forest on either side, the San Franscisco Peaks looming large ahead with peaks capped in snow. Such beauty!
In Flagstaff I see many coffee shops, breweries, Thai food, and outdoor stores. I ride a decent network of bike lanes and side streets and note there are paths around but I don’t know where they lead. I think to myself, “Forget Santa Cruz, I should get Scott to move here!” I slip over to the library where I find a quiet glass outcrop blazing with the afternoon sun’s warmth – I could sit here for hours reading. I work out some host information and discover it is the first friday, meaning there is an art walk downtown.
After riding to Dylan’s and cleaning up I walk to the bus and get off at the downtown transfer station in just a few minutes – traffic is decent and the bus cruises along. I walk to Pay & Take, a bar I noticed earlier, and enjoy an afternoon beer. From there I walk a few blocks for dinner and along the way overhear several conversations about politics and the election – not just presidential, but ballot issues too. It’s nice to not just hear talk about sports and who did what at the party! I sit down at Red Curry, a vegan Thai place recommended to me by Elizabeth from Kingman. The food is okay and the total bill, including a drink splurge, is only $15. Not bad compared to Seattle prices. I finish the night grabbing a bear and reading the local paper at Flagstaff Brewing Company. I like this place.