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  1. #1
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    Aug 2013
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    Live Journaling an athletically unremarkable road trip through the Southwest

    This doesnít *really* feel worth a trip report but what the hell, itís August and thereís only like a dozen people reading tgr anyway and Iíd probably read this.

    Itís been a pretty disappointing summer due to reasons both in and out of my control, but this will probably be the highlight. Was hoping to leave SF yesterday at 10am but, you know, had to pack, had to do pre-season leg blasters, oh shit I should answer these emails, etc. Next thing you know Iím leaving at 3 in typically shitty Bay Area traffic.

    Had told friends Iíd maybe hang out and crash with them in LA but itís going to be late and I donít feel like making a two-hour plus detour to deal with weekend bar hopping. Barstow it is, but even thatís too far with all the traffic. Tehachapi looks like a nice place and high enough that sleeping in my car will be comfortable, temperature-wise.

    I find whatís actually a great place but apparently my subconscious isnít happy enough to chill the fuck out and so I wake up a bunch despite having a pretty sweet perch, dark and quiet, just outside the wind farm, just a little close to the road. Also forgot my pillow like I do half the time. Rookie move.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2013
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    Woke up and mobilized to mojave. Cool town! Has that desert vibe thatís simultaneously depressing and invigorating. Found a gas station bathroom through an ominously long and dark hallway to floss, brush teeth and put in the contacts. Man in stall with impressive amount of tattoos emerged after a strangely long time. He doesnít seem to judge me for brushing my teeth in a gas station bathroom.

    Not a fan of kingman but it did remind me of the beginning of kem nunnís tapping the source, which is a fantastic book that probably everyone on tgr should read.

    Unremarkable drive to Flagstaff, which I like very much. Treated myself to a private room in the historic hostel. Glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling are a welcome surprise. Thereís a fantastic Neapolitan pizza place here that I ate at for the second time in two weeks for mostly coincidental reasons. Also rad wine list which is largely to blame for this TR that no one will probably read.

    Lots of really cool neon and brick here. I think I could make a pretty good life in flagstaff if it came to that. Thereís a mag here yeah? Raising Arizona I think? Last time I was here I googled ďskiing Humphreyís peakĒ and saw a video about a local navajo backcountry skier who also happened to have a PhD. Was very stoked about that. Would like to ski off the top of that myself but will have to settle for hiking it tomorrow. Alarm is set. Weíll see if I continue this self-indulgence when sober tomorrow. Heading to Durango after outdoor recreation.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2008
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    Nashville TN
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    356
    keep it coming. excellent nuggets sometimes spring from mundane travels. For example, i had never heard of that book. Plus, have been vaguely interested in Flagstaff for years, but haven't quite made it there yet.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Mike View Post
    keep it coming. excellent nuggets sometimes spring from mundane travels. For example, i had never heard of that book. Plus, have been vaguely interested in Flagstaff for years, but haven't quite made it there yet.
    Yeah thatís a great book, if youíre looking for a dark, pulpy noir that happens to be about surfers. Point Break actually started out as an adaptation of it, and though the narrative ended up pretty different by the time the screenplay went through years of rewrites, the spirit is very much the same. Somehow I think Tapping the Source is even more batshit crazy than Point Break.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2013
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    Humphreyís Peak was a nice way to shake off the cobwebs of two days of driving. Maybe a little disappointing scenery-wise but it was a beautiful day and leftover pizza on a summit is always a worthwhile breakfast. Next time Iíll bring skis. This east facing aspect off the north side looks pretty fun:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Also: itís pretty washed out in the photo above but there appears to be a large canyon in the background. Will have to investigate further on the topo maps.

    Rest of day was spent driving to Durango. Forgot just how mysterious and beautiful crossing the Navajo Nation is. One day Iíll spend a day alone with some mushrooms there. I canít imagine the rocks looking any crazier than they already do but Iíd like to try.

    As always enjoyed listening to Navajo radio until that signal gave out, then spent the last few hours listening to a four corners DJ play country 45s. I usually like to stop at the Amigos Cafe in Kayenta for pozole and fry bread but they are still closed on Sundays.

    In Durango now, strange vibes here. One particularly odd thing happened: at el Moro I noticed a particularly beautiful waitress, and then she came over with a beer I ordered (Melvin Hubert is very good!), kneeled down with her head on the table and said ďI donít know why Iím telling you this but I woke up just not feeling myself today. Like there was a midget on my back!Ē Some back and forth ensued. I suppose itís just a banal flirtation but it was weird how it was almost like some type of invitation my unconscious willed into reality. Except Iím not single and also not the slightest bit unfaithful so I suppose my conscious slammed the door on my unconscious. Iíll never see her again and will never know why she either confided in me or pretended to do so. Hm.

    Heading out into the weminuche for three nights starting tomorrow, and since the wilderness tends to not have Internet I anticipate that the brain spigot will be off until Thursday earliest.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2013
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    529
    Sitting having a beer in Silverton, hitched a ride on the train from Needleton after hiking in from Molas, over the divide, down Vallecito creek, then over columbine pass and through Chicago Basin. Nice hiking and will add pics later but:

    Second night was tucked comfortably under my quilt reading a book. Saw something moving outside of the tent about 20 ft away and though, ďoh there must be a deer.Ē

    Looked up from reading and locked eyes for a split second with a mountain lion; my head lifting caused it to jerk back, turn around and flee, itís mass displacing air made a whirring sound that was unnerving.

    My first reaction was positive excitement, Iíd never seen a mountain lion that close! Of course that lasted an instant before I decided this was not a good turn of events. Considered possible preventative actions in case the cat decided it wasnít afraid of me. Letís see, itís dusk, Iím exhausted and the closest thing I have to a weapon is the one inch blade on my ultralight leatherman. Lol.

    So I considered what it would feel like to be eviscerated by an apex predator. I figured it would be a quick process at least. Should I get super stoned? Iím not usually prone to paranoia but that seemed like a poor idea. So just attempting to sleep then. It did seem afraid of me, and I couldnít remember hearing about mountain lion attacks, so I was probably ok right?

    Somehow I managed to sleep quite well, and instead of dreaming about claws and teeth I actually had a work dream. So apparently Iím more anxious about work than by the extreme proximity of an animal that could end me in about five seconds. (That seems important to consider further.)

    Have to hitch back to the car now, then time for a soak in Ouray and picking up my partner and her parents in montrose tonight.

    Meanwhile, damn, Silverton seems pretty rad and there is sick looking ski potential in all directions. Will have to make it a higher priority to come ski here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Da Siskiyous
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    Nice. Just got back from a few weeks in Flagstaff/San Juan's/Tahoe area. You are spot on about the pizza joint in Flag. Lived there for years and worked at the bike shop next door. Good skiing in the San Fran Peaks area. Also, one of the most underrated mtb destinations, IMO.

    Good reading. Thanks.
    Collectively enlightened since 2008.
    Eddie would go.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2006
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    Wasatch
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    5,209
    The perfect morning coffee read. Wife and I enjoyed your travel stories. I also really liked flagstaff and snow bowl had a good vibe. Hope to make it to silverton some day and your story sounds like a great adventure.

    Splurge and buy a pillow!

  9. #9
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    Dec 2008
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    Nashville TN
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    "Sitting having a beer in Silverton, hitched a ride on the train from Needleton after hiking in from Molas, over the divide, down Vallecito creek, then over columbine pass and through Chicago Basin."

    How's the train ride hitch work? You just figure out the schedule, wait on the tracks and wave 'em down?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Valley of the Sun
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    4,159

    Live Journaling an athletically unremarkable road trip through the Southwest

    First time in Silverton this past weekend, place is rad no doubt. Got woken up on Monday by a large bear about 15 yards from my tent (didnít cook at camp). Was just passing through and sure didnít give 1 damn when it saw me. One of the craziest parts about that place are the houses up off of the forest roads. There was one in particular that avoided being obliterated by a slide by about 100ft. Are those summer houses or what? Just that thought would keep me up at night.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Paradise
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    Quote Originally Posted by NlytendOne View Post
    Nice. Just got back from a few weeks in Flagstaff/San Juan's/Tahoe area. You are spot on about the pizza joint in Flag. Lived there for years and worked at the bike shop next door. Good skiing in the San Fran Peaks area. Also, one of the most underrated mtb destinations, IMO.

    Good reading. Thanks.
    Our trail system is completely F-d right now. there isn't much worth riding any longer imo.
    dirtbag, not a dentist

  12. #12
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    Dec 2009
    Location
    Paradise
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    I'm glad to hear you enjoyed our city. I love this place. It doesn't snow every year but there is plenty of other activities to stay occupied.

    I think you were joking about the canyon in the distance you spied from Humphreyes Peak?
    dirtbag, not a dentist

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