Day 8 – Wandering the town – Flagstaff, AZ

I had a really great sleep for the first time on the trip – 12 straight hours of siesta. Still up at a fairly reasonable time and had time to get out and explore the town.

I wandered about in the neat little downtown area. Lots of great places to eat and hang out. Decided to find a patio seat and get some pizza at Alpine pizza. Very good homemade style pizza and cheap. A wholewheat 14″ pizza for $12 which gave me some leftovers for later.

One odd experience. I saw a sign in the window for bylaws. It said “no firearms”. Which I thought was ‘quaint’ and probably unlikely, right? Nope. Not even five minutes later a young guy shows up in a t-shirt and jeans with his girlfriend. He says something to the effect that he can’t go in. Huh, I thought? The girl goes in and grabs the owner and he comes out to have the young guy ask if it is okay to sit outside and lifts his shirt to show the concealed handgun he has tucked into his pants. He didn’t look like the type of guy anyone would want to see with a gun, period. It came back to me, now I remember all the hubbub when Obama was here in his election campaign and people showed up carrying rifles to demonstrate their 2nd amendment right. All I can say is that seeing this guy carrying an automatic handgun didn’t make me feel any safer. I can’t even imagine a circumstance where this would happen back at home. Arizona is a bit like the place that time forgot – open carrying of weapons in public, concealed weapons in public, the new anti-immigrant laws of their right-wing politicians, and for some reason only the Navajo nation follows daylight savings time. It’s certainly been educational.

The university campus is quite large so I went out to scout out the locations of the park and places for exercise and running. Doesn’t look like there are summer sessions at the Northern Arizona University as there was hardly a soul around.

Came back and donned the running gear and iPod for a run. I thought I’d get some exercise and run through the university and back which is nearly a perfect 5K. I could certainly feel the difference of running at such a high altitude so my pace was about four minutes slower than usual (about 33 minutes). The fitness facility is under renovation so it looks like I’ll be getting my exercise outside as long as the weather cooperates.

I’m beginning to see that time is rapidly vanishing and that this trip has been an unmitigated disaster. It has been, for the most part, neither scenic or relaxing. The repair situation has basically cut 1/3 of the time out of this vacation. I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed and pissed off. Yet again California is proving to be the elusive part of the vacation.

I think it would be unreasonable to think that I’ll be leaving any earlier than the afternoon on Tuesday and only make a hundred miles or so. More reasonably I’ll be leaving early Wednesday morning and have to pack on a huge miles day just to start working my way back to Oregon.

I’ll have to decide which is more important riding through coastal California or making it back into Oregon for the Social Distortion concert on the 14th. With so many things to see along the way it is difficult to cut things right back to maybe only riding highway 1 in California for a few days and missing all the rest. Ugh!

I’m also thinking about staying for only one of the three days of the VFR meet and just coming home on the 18th. I guess I’ll see how things go once I get moving again. I’ll be extremely pissed off if there are any more surprises with the electrical system on my bike.

Anyhow, tomorrow will likely be much the same as today. Sleep in, maybe see if I can walk over to the football practise, go for a run and see if the gym is open and just hang out and wait until the bike is repaired.