A special lady-friend of mine came to visit me in Arizona this weekend, and we went to Sedona, Arizona on Saturday, November 19, and then to the Grand Canyon on Sunday, November 20.
And people claim that God created this.
He wouldn’t have had time.
For the whole album, click Here!
We knew it was going to snow in the Flagstaff area, but I didn’t know it was coming so soon. When I left the hotel to head to work this morning, I was greeted by a crisp morning breeze, and I was thankful that I ordered my new jacket last week. Sometimes it makes me look like Indiana Jones:
Anyways, on the Northern Arizona University campus, I came around a corner to find this:
It didn’t snow in the town proper, but it was around 55 degrees and windy. I was disappointed, and wanted to get up on that mountain, so after work, I headed up to the Arizona Snowbowl.
The sun was already behind the mountains to the west, and on the way up the Humphrey’s Peak, deep in the forest, it was very, very dark. The switchbacks were intense, and as I neared the top of the mountain, ice started to appear on the side of the road. The thermometer on my dashboard dropped and dropped, and within 15 minutes, the temperature had dropped from about 55 degrees to 27. As I rounded one curve, three deer, a doe and her two fawns, were slowly crossing the road, their exhalations visible in the air. Very surreal. It was too dark for my camera(phone) to grab a good picture, but the eyes of the doe reflected the light from my flash.
As I climbed higher on the mountain, I finally crossed a high enough elevation so that the tops of the trees became golden, and when I finally got as far as I could go, I stopped the car on the slope of the mountain, and with the car sitting on ice, I put the E-brake on and got out. I was on the west side of the mountain, and looking out towards the sunrise.
And just so you ain’t think I lying…
ARIZONA?? MORE LIKE SNOWZONA!!!
What was it like in Texas today?
When I arrived at DFW airport, I was picked up by my good friend Nevin Nichols.
Then, we checked into our hotel room in Downtown Fort Worth.
Then we went to see Lucero.
Then after recovering on Saturday, we went to David and Natalie Bauerkemper’s wedding, which was great.
And then I came back to Arizona.
After a fun tuesday night with great friends like Matt Glenn, Justin Golson, Syd the Kyd, Kira Morris, Mikala Salmeron, Megan Pieper, Aly Moor, Jim…errrr…Jim, and a dash of Rowdy Rachael Kolbensvik, I finally got some sleep. And, considering both the amount of cherry-flavored whiskey in my system and the amount of travel I knew I’d have to do the next day, it was a good sleep.
When I rose from my “bed” on the morning of Wednesday, September 14, I took a shower, and while swaying back and forth a bit, planned out my day a bit. I decided to wear my Nike Dri-fit “running” shorts, because they would be comfortable, and wouldn’t require a belt that I’d have to take off while going through security. My new orange running shoes would be the most comfortable while walking through the numerous terminals and facilities. And of course, anything more than a t-shirt would be over-dressing. With my clothes on, my effects packed up, and a dull headache slowly replacing my swim-head, I departed the home of Justin Golson, Matt Glenn, Curtis Kelsey, and their unofficial 4th roommate Sydney Allen, and made for my home-away-from home, the legendary City Parc at Fry Street.
But of course, I stopped and got doughnuts and kolaches first.
An hour or so later, after saying bye to some folks, and with the much-prayed-for rain starting to roll in, I jumped in my (free) rental and headed for DFW airport. It’s always very sobering leaving a safe-haven full of friends and fun to go to a place you’ve never been to before, so my ride to the airport was quiet. It was drizzling. I listened to Bon Iver, and by the time I reached the rental car facility, I had my game-face on. I was ready to board. Ready to make my way out west.
What do you think of when you think “Arizona?” Heat? Desert? Perhaps the Saguaro? All of those things are accurate, but not necessarily what you’d find at my destination. Oh no, Flagstaff, Arizona is much, much different.
Flagstaff, a city of about 65,000 people and home to Northern Arizona University (and the fightin’ Lumberjacks!). It’s geography differs greatly from the Valley of the Sun, as Flagstaff sits on the edge of the San Francisco Peaks, in the shadow of Humphreys Peak, which at over 12,000 feet, is the highest point in Arizona. The NAU Lumberjacks are well-named, because the city is absolutely covered in ponderosa pine trees, a far cry from the desert shrubbery down south. In all, it’s amazing.
When I landed in Phoenix, it was rather warm. But it was a dry heat. After taking the bus to the rental station and scooping up my (weak-ass) Jeep Compass, I made my way through the Phoenix area, where I eventually found Highway 17 and headed North, to my destination.
Just outside the city, most hints of civilization disappeared. It was, in more ways than one, a desert.
As I travelled North, the highway became less crowded, and cities were far and few in between. I literally drove for upwards of 20 miles at times without seeing a town. The terrain was rocky, treacherous even. “This is some tough country,” I remember thinking.
And as I neared the middle of the state, a sharp plateau rose in front of me, the edge of it flat like the hair of that one guy from Kid N’ Play. And later, as I came down on the north side of Mingus Mountain, I had an exceptional view of Verde Valley:
As I crossed through the valley and neared Sedona, something weird happened. It began raining. I didn’t think it rained too much in Arizona, anywhere. But yes, on my first trip to Arizona, it was raining on me. And, as I headed further North, out of Verde Valley and into another range of mountains, under cover of rain and black clouds, the terrain around me began to change. It was less harsh and craggy, more sloped. And the flora became different. Pine trees. And then, as I passed a sign that told me I had reached an elevation of 5,000 feet, the rain broke, and a rainbow shone brightly. Nay, not a rainbow, but a mythical Double Rainbow.
And as the clouds continued to dissipate, the sun peeked his flaming head out.
Pine trees!!! A forest of Pine!!!
And then, before I knew it, I had finally arrived in Flagstaff. I rolled down the windows as I cruised into town, and still being in my “running” shorts and t-shirt, I was shocked at how incredibly chilly it was. It was in the 50’s, with the sun still partially up. And then I looked around and there sat, just north of the city with its peak shrouded in clouds, Humphreys Peak:
“Mountains, Gandalf! Mountains!”
But, there was no time to sit and marvel, no rest for the weary and travelled. I headed directly to our leasing office on the NAU campus, where I worked with various people in my company (most of whom I had never met) until deep in the night.
That was a few days ago, and since then, I’ve been able to explore the city a little bit better, and take a few photos of things under clear skies.
Here’s a better view the mountain:
And here’s the view from the fifth floor of the Springwood Suites:
And here’s the view at the end of the hallway:
And here’s where I’ve been working, at our temporary leasing office next to the construction site:
And here’s the forested area right across the street:
And here’s me looking bewildered by the two TV’s in my hotel room:
So far, Flagstaff is pretty damn cool. Literally and figuratively. Which is good, because I might be here until November, maybe December.
So keep in touch!!!
“Off the Radar, Off the Map…”
That’s me right now. I’m in Flagstaff, Arizona, and I’ve been so incredibly busy with work stuff that I feel like I’ve been totally Off the Grid for the last 48 hours. I haven’t talked to like, anybody. Which, is a bummer, but hey…it happens.
The selection of this classic tune for SotD was inspired by my current location and isolation from people. I have a blog post going up this weekend detailing the breathtaking-ness of Flagstaff, but here’s a hint:
Yep. Double Rainbow. That’s my life right now. Anyways, here’s a great song:
Good memories tied to that one.
“We’ve made a change to your long-term assignment. We’re going to send you to Flagstaff, Arizona.”
And just like that, my whole world was rocked!
On my to Richmond tonight, I stopped for dinner in lovely Charlottesville, Viginia, home of the University of Virginia. I had dinner at a lovely place in downtown C-Ville with two guys from my company, and over beers and red wine, we exchanged stories of our jobs and lives. After dinner, the three of us moseyed back to my rental car in the parking garage, whereupon finding my company phone wedged under the driver’s seat, I discovered I had a missed call from my boss. Our boss.
Until today, I had assumed that I’d be spending most of the next 2 months in beautiful Lubbock, Texas…the City of Dreams, I call it. I had been mentally preparing myself for this, and I thought I was ready for the task, but then my boss broke the news. Although I will go to Lubbock next week, and probably stay for the week after that too, I will soon make my way out to Flagstaff Arizona!
As you can see from the pic (courtesy of Google Maps), Flagstaff is 4 hours from Las Vegas, 2.5 hours from Phoenix, and 1.5 hours from the fucking GRAND CANYON. Boom.
(Found this random pic on Google;Thought it was too awkward to not to use)
It’s also 45 minutes from METEOR CRATER.
Yeah. Going to see that.
So, i’m incredibly excited for this opportunity. I’ve never been to Arizona, and I have no idea what to actually expect. Should I bring a jacket? Hiking boots? I’m not sure, but i’m really, really stoked.
Some info about Flagstaff: According to the 2010 census, about 65,000 folks live in Flagstaff; their Record High temperature for August is is a downright chilly 93 degrees; the city sits on the southern tip of the San Francisco Mountains, Arizona’s highest mountain range, and Flagstaff itself sits at an altitude of 7,000 ft.; historic Route 66 runs right through the city; the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort is 15 miles north of the city; oh, and it’s home to Northern Arizona University, where i’ll likely be spending a significant amount of time.
So…that’s my life! I’m going to Arizona in 3 weeks!
Anybody know anybody there? Or have any tips, tricks, or secrets?