Day 9: Williams to Flagstaff

Shortest day and quickest ride so far.

I left Williams a little after 8 this morning in 63 degree weather. ?By far the coolest start yet.


Last night’s stay in the hostel was fine. ?I was the last one to get to bed as I had stayed up to midnight to finish some “work-work” stuff. ?When I got to bed everyone else was asleep. ?Including the guy in the bunk next to me who snored like a freight train.

On the way to Flagstaff I considered just booking all the way to my next stop, Winslow. ?Winslow is only about 55 miles from Flagstaff. ?The weather was perfect for riding. ?The temperature had inched up to 70 degrees. ?I-40 wasn’t trying to kill me with 6% and 7% grades. ?The landscape was more “rolling hills.”

I decided against it for a couple of reasons. ?First, I could use some more sleep. ?Second, I have a friend from years back who is a Humanities professor at Northern Arizona University. ?We’d been exchanging emails from months ago about my ride through Flagstaff. ?I’d promised that if it worked out, we’d go to dinner.

Hole-y Road

I-40 tried to beat me to death today.


20150913_114428While the?driving?part of the road was nice and smooth, the break down lane was horrible. ?There was even a very very short stretch I had to ride in the truck lane. ?Not because I wanted to. ?But because there was literally no other place to ride. ?The break down lane was a mass of cracks, gravel, sharp rocks, and potholes. ?When I got to the hotel I checked to make sure I had all my teeth; that they’d not been jarred out of my head.

Toting A Lot Of Shit

Last night was Laundry Day. ?After changing the flat tire, I didn’t feel like carefully storing all the new clean clothes in a balanced way on the bike. ?I was tired and had hours of work still ahead of me. ?I pretty much crammed things into the panniers and told myself I’d sort it out when I got to Flagstaff. ?I took it all out of the bags once I got to the hotel room. ?Christ on a pogo-stick, but I’m toting a bunch of stuff:

20150913_182054 20150913_182105 20150913_182110

RIP Camelbak

camelbakThrough sheer stupidity / dumbassery I lost another piece of equipment today.

I was five miles away from a stop when I noticed I was a little?lighter than normal. ?That’s because I’d left my Camelbak at the stop. ?Just dashed off without the thing.

That cuts my water storage capacity by a full third.


And makes it a lot less convenient to get a drink. ?With the Camelbak, it was simply a matter of putting the water tube in my mouth. ?With the the bottles on the bike, I have to stop and drink from them.

On one hand, I’m away from the desert. ?I’m not as concerned with carrying a lot of water from this point forward. ?There’s far more places to stop and refill. ?That will improve the further east I go. ?I’m about 7 pounds lighter without carrying all the water. ?I was going to ship the thing home when I reached OKC anyway.

But — and this is going to sound stupid — that Camelbak has been with me for?years. ?It’s allowed me to do some long-ass rides. ?That I just . . . forgot it pisses me off at myself no end.

Speaking of sounding stupid . . .

I bought this a few days ago:


As I was rounding a curve on US 66 in Flagstaff, (right by this sign!)


I hit a string of bad potholes. ?The holes were so bad that it bounced the bike around terribly and knocked my Spam out of the pannier into the middle of the street!

By God, that wouldn’t stand! ?I moved into the middle of the street, with my bicycle lengthwise across the lane to stop traffic. ?I bent down and picked up my Spam. ?Dammit, I’d already lost one friend today. Wasn’t going to lose two!

Random Fat Guy On A Bicycle Pictures


I did get to dinner with my buddy Mike.


The last time Mike and I had seen each other was 2008. ?He and I had gone to a “gathering” in Liberal, Kansas. ?(Where not one liberal lives, by the way.)

I’d just completed my first RAGBRAI and was feeling downright tickled with myself for riding across an entire state.

While in Kansas I noticed a bunch of bicyclists who were being closely trailed by vans. ?These guys were doing something called?Race Across America. ?I was duly impressed with people who were?racing across the United States . . . but not impressed enough to quit bragging about my riding across Iowa. ?(Yeah, I’m shameless.)

Flagstaff Weather

As I was napping my little heart out at the Motel 6 in Flagstaff . . .


. . . Arizona finally connected my location with rain.

20150913_181855Plus, it dropped the temperature considerably. ?It’s 10:13PM on 9/13/2015 in Flagstaff. ?It’s 57 degrees outside. ?Tomorrow morning, when I’d planned on taking off for Winslow, the temperature is forecast to be?50?degrees. ?Damn. ?Wasn’t counting on having to break out gloves, socks, and long pants just yet.