It’s a funny word, that. Just about every person I had told about my plans to ride and camp in the ruthless, poisonous desert for the next two weeks filled my earballs with colorful language like:
You’re fucking nuts.
Why the hell would you do that?
Sounds like torture.
To me it sounded like paradise. To each his own.
In the end, turns out we were both right.
With work finally done, Dan met me in Phoenix on Monday morning where we drove up to Flagstaff. Our drive up was mesmerizing. We passed through so many distinct ecosystems that just an hour outside of Phoenix we could’ve been in Canada.
Now that Flagstaff was in spitting distance, Humphreys Peak dominates the lush ponderosa pine forest that now surrounds us. I crack the windows to smell the air like a dog, incredible. Clean dirt, a hint of snow, pine, and wilderness. You could bottle this shit and sell it to Williamsburg hipsters for $50 a sniff.
We pull into Flagstaff, a bustling college mountain town that looks more like Colorado than Arizona. We grab a motel room and go down the block to pick up our bikes at Bike Revolution. Here it is, the moment of truth. Did our bikes get ground to dust in the boxes, leaving us up shits creek?
Thank you baby infant jesus. The only casualty suffered was Dan’s rear mech link, amazingly they had a spare in the community parts bin. Flag Bike Rev has a stand and workbench for the community to use, a spare parts bin, and a staff that rocks. As fantastic 90s hiphop jams were bumpin thru the speakers they pulled two espressos and some sparkling water for us.
“So how much we owe you for these?”
“Nothing. You can tip if you want, but don’t worry about it.”
I love this place already.
We asked if they could stash the boxes for us until we got back and they looked at our boxes and just automatically offered to give us newer, not beaten up boxes when we got back. Awesome. Thanks boys and girls! Its fucking ON.
With a weight comparable to the entire population of China lifted off of our shoulders, and our bikes back together in the motel, we went to return the car at the airport. We hike 5 miles on the Soldiers Trail back to town from Flagstaff Airport, which looked more like a mountain lodge in Alaska than a major airport, complete with sketchy bush planes.
Light rain starts to fall and the temperature drops. We haven’t even started riding and already were sack deep in adventure. I still can’t believe were in Arizona, if I see smoke coming out of a chimney I’m gonna lose it.
At dawn, we ride.