Day 74 (2016-11-08): Election Day
I start the day slow again, as is often the case on these extended rest periods. Eventually the slowness hits me though, right about the time it stops being too cold, and I quickly head out to Elden Mountain on the northeast end of Flagstaff. I start on a 10 mile round trip hike, sweating profusely as I climb 3000 feet in the first 3-4 miles from the trailhead to the lookout atop this smaller mountain. My adventure sandals do me well as I practice wearing them for everything so I can forgo a second pair of shoes for future bike trips.
I sit for a while, letting the warm sun dry me off while I eat lunch and read. Rather than return the way I came I head north, crossing the Ridgeline on the Sunset trail. You can see the damage fire has done in the last several decades – the rocky, tree-filled southeastern face gives way to new growth, meadows, and patches of trees that were not recently separated by an inferno. The cold wind blowing from the east accentuates the cold that creeps in when I am beyond the sun’s rays. I continue onto Heart Trail, heading back down the mountain into a much more arid, high desert climate – the 5th microclimate on this 10 mile hike! By the time I return to my bike the sun is beginning to set while my hunger rises, so I hurry home with a stop at family dollar for some snacks.
Returning to Joe’s house I realize I left my shower stuff at Dylan’s. Unfortunately, he is not coming to Joe’s party tonight so I ride over to his house to say farewell and grab my things. I fly over, covering about 7 urban/suburban miles in just 25 minutes. I use a mix of bike lanes and trails, opting to throw my Surly in hear and tear through the gravel oaths rather than follow the more comfy paved trails. THIS IS SO FUN! If I lived here I would absolutely bring a change of clothes to work and tear home along these paths. Compared to the methodical spinning of a normal commute busting through the trees, flying around turns, and leaping over obstacles would be amazing. Even with my bike as heavy and cumbersome as it is right now I still manage to drench myself in sweat while riding the adrenaline. Unfortunately, on the way home my chain snaps again and I bus to Absolute Bikes where I manage to arrive just before they close to get a new chain installed. That other one was shit.
Back at Joe’s I clean myself up (12 miles of hiking and 20+ miles of riding left me Stanley) and join the ever-growing crew of people joining for BLT night. This is a Tuesday tradition and before I know it a ton of people are here eating, drinking, chatting, and enjoying the backyard firepit and jacuzzi. We mingle and laugh well into the night and join together in disappointment as we learn Trump will be the next President. Ouch. More on that later. I end the night with a stop in the jacuzzi and finally pass out around 2:00…good thing I need to be at the Amtrak station in 3 hours!