After much rest and relaxation (and bellies full of all sorts of goodness!) we are back on the road and heading towards New Mexico!  We spent a few days in Flagstaff organizing gear, picking up odds and ends and hanging out with my pal Shark.  HUGE THANKS to Shark for the sleep spots, fantastic meals and great, great company.  Can’t wait to see you on the road Shark!  We took off late Sunday night, just as the 3rd fire in 2 days started to spread down from the San Francisco Peaks.  Now we are back to our leisure days of riding from fantastic campsite to fantastic campsite, stopping as much as we’d like to eat our various sandwich combinations, dip our toes in the streams and answer the friendly questions that come from folks we pass by.  We’ll be crossing into New Mexico tomorrow, with our next big stop being PIE TOWN!

Shark kickin' it couchside with Buddrah and Riley. Missing from photo.. Ava, the other furry friend we got to spend some time with.

Just one of the many amazing meals we devoured thanks to Shark. Later in the day there were tongue tacos that couldn't be beat.

Shark juicing it up at the Flagstaff Farmer's Market...

Oh-my-goodness! Fresh squeezed cucumber lemonade and watermelon juice...

Kurt showing exactly how good those juices are...

The view of the fire that had broke out amidst the peaks just as we started to head out.

The view of the fire spreading from about 25 miles away. As far as I know, it is unfortunately not completely contained.

Morning breakfast (a nice break from the usual oatmeal I might add)...

A typical northern Arizona forest landscape, after much hard work by the forest service to weed out the under brush and complete controlled burns. Keeping the land like this is one major defense against forest fires.

After a good bit of climbing, we were rewarded with this epic descent into Strawberry, and then further into Pine.

Hurray for Highway 64, a 24 mile dirt road that connected two other major highways. This was my longest off-road experience and I am completely hooked. The scenery absolutely cannot be beat, and the no car thing really makes this way of travel a shoe in.

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The ride from Parker to Flagstaff was monumental for many reasons.  For one, it was the last bit of riding I will alone for awhile.  I soaked it all in for what it had to offer, which was a ton.  Specifically, the ride from Wilhoit to Prescott was unbelievable, another breathtaking climb that had me wishing at every turn that the end was nowhere near.  I encountered my first flat, enjoyed the company of the fairgrounds one night and descended out of the forest down through the old historic mining town of Jerome, and then onto Sedona.  It was here that I encountered a very special neighbor perched in some bushes, awaiting my arrivat with a nice cold drink.  Kurt and I met in Oakland some two years ago and it was his asking that got me interested in a trip like this in the first place.  For the last year while I have been planning and squirreling away gear and pennies, he has been out taking the southwest by storm.  You can read about his many many adventures here.  This ain’t his first rodeo.

As many of you may already know, I used to live in both Sedona and Flagstaff (as well as a short stint in a barn in Cornville, AZ) so I was excited to be back in the area.  We were able to hook up with my old friend Craig, old owner of the Bike and Bean, and he hooked us up with a place to stay for the night.  Most excitingly, I was able to connect with his daughter Delaney, who is now 8 and beautiful and smart as ever.  Delaney was my good buddy in Sedona a few years ago and it was so great to see her again.  We spent the next day casually riding up through Oak Creek Canyon, visiting Garland’s Indian Jewelry and some of my old co-workers before heading north to Flagstaff.

Every night there is a different and equally beautiful sunset I get to watch...

Sites in Hope, AZ.

Road humor...

Turning onto 89A, the road that would take me all the way up to Sedona to meet Kurt and then further on to Flagstaff.

A little off road riding at the end of the evening to find some good camping...

Taxidermist catching a red speckled rattler...

One of the many road side memorials I see along the way...

My attempt at capturing some headwinds to share with you...

Fantastic day of riding!!! 89A from Wilhoit to Prescott...

First puncture. I guess if you're going to get a flat, you might as well REALLY get a flat. As you can see, this screw pierced through at two seperate spots...

National forest on the way to Jerome and Sedona...

Heading towards Jerome...

I'm a sucker for barbeques. One in this spot would be exceptional.

I believe this is how the Bike and Bean got started.

Classic Sedona...

Gracie and the very special Delaney...

Heading into West Fork, an off shoot of Oak Creak Canyon...

West Fork...