The long and windy road

Another day of amazing scenery and roads, and wind.  Lots of wind.

The day started with a great breakfast in downtown Flagstaff (huevos con chorizo) then a blast SE down Lake Mary Rd (thanks to AB, a fellow Vstrom-er I met in Cottonwood) to 87 where I retraced part of my Saturday route to Paysen, then east to Snowflake.

Two big changes for the day – it was much cooler and comfortable, and there was a lot of wind the entire day, with very strong gusts that kept trying to blow me out of my lane.  It made for a nerve-wracking day but it also boosted my confidence until I didn’t really mind it.  Funny how that works…

The highest elevation was 7450 ft. and there was snow along the road, an unexpected treat.  The forest was very lush and thick up there, but as I road east the woods slowly thinned out and the trees got shorter until they were gone, replaced by scrub and sage.  Here are some examples:

Lush forest at higher altitudes

The concept of a 'forest' changes as you get to eastern Arizona

It was very cool watching the changes in ecosystems as I rode east, from the green forests of Flagstaff to the not-so-verde Verde Valley, then back up and along the Mogollan Rim where the trees started thinning out, and eventually to the flat scrublands.

Eventually I made it to Snowflake where my aunt Jeanne and her husband of 28 years Cas live.  I’ve been hearing about this town since the moved here, mostly that it’s in the middle of nowhere, and now I had the chance to see it for myself.  I wouldn’t say it’s the middle of nowhere, but it’s not too far away.  It’s small town, quite rural and very quiet, with views that go on forever.  It was overcast when I arrived but even so the sense of distance was amazing.  We ended up staying past everyone’s bedtime (especially Zorro’s, their very sweet dog) talking about families, health, and the meaning of life.  We figured out the last time I saw Cas was 1997 when he and Jeanne moved away from Olympia and it was great to see him again.

Today I’m continuing east to New Mexico with no destination in mind.  Everything depends on the roads and how many miles I can eat up, and especially the winds.  They’re forecasting very strong winds to day and out here in the flat lands there’s nothing to slow them down so it could be a bit dicey.

Oh, and here’s a few pics of the bike in various poses:

Lake Mary Rd. SE of Flagstaff

Just outside Snowflake

My view while riding - that's a map at the bottom, the GPS mounted onthe left side of the bars, and my growing insect collection on the screen

Time to get up and start the day with coffee, then on the road again.

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