Grand Canyon and Musings

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To my suprise, I keep falling in love with landlocked states; Tulsa, OK, Missoula, MT and Flagstaff, AZ.

Thought I was strictly a coast girl, but am starting to realize I only visit the ocean once or twice a year. Both Flagstaff and Missoula are within reasonable travel distance to the West Coast. My hometown is only four hours ways from the Outer Banks, so it’s easy to get away for a couple of days. I think a week long exodus to the Pacific would substitute nicely. Besides, there would be many things to preoccupy my time in those towns. Flagstaff is easy access to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. There is a big emphasis on outdoor recreation- biking, swimming, rock climbing, hiking. I also appreciated that there is a unofficial rule in town to not drive your car at least one day out of the week. That’s a start! It was very bicycle friendly, although surprisingly, no scooter shops. At least there is one 100 miles away in Prescott, AZ. That’s were I met Jim, who had contacted me awhile ago. I’m always grappling for more time in the day, so I didn’t spend anytime at all with him, as I had originally planned. I want to thank Jim for the hearty donation to P.E.A.C.E SCOOT! The drive along Highway 89 and 89A up to Prescott, Sedona, and Flagstaff is absolutely stunning. The dry beiges of southeastern California changed into greens that I wasn’t expecting to see in Arizona. The buttes and mountain peaks are gorgeous and altitude is very high, providing terrific panoramas. It’s a ride to make on two wheels! Especially if you enjoy switchbacks, which I do.

I had some friends in Flagstaff, Katie and Portia, fellow employees from Omega. Their house was very warm, a good sanctuary. Portia had just recently attended a retreat with Thich Nat Han and had some keen insight to offer me. Katie is one of my favorite people in this world. She willingly drove me out to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, a first for me. It was a 120 mile trek round trip, the longest time spent in a car in some time! Of course, that’s soon to change since I’m riding home from Texas with Daphne and Lil C! I was a bit jittery in the car and wistful for my scooter when I noticed all the motorcyclists along the route. The nice thing about a car is the stereo system. Katie is my music buddy. She has an amazing voice, mad guitar skills and grew up around a famous musician-her dad. Apparently, one of the Allman brothers said her dad taught him well. Music is a huge part of my friendship with Katie and we kept playing songs for each other, singing loudly along the way. It was fun.

I’ve been cross country seven times and always passed over the Grand Canyon, so I had a lot of anticipation. I wasn’t disappointed, except that we didn’t have much time to stay. That was my fault though, as I had a radio interview scheduled at 2pm on Sunday, which was the only day we could go. Anyhow, we had enough time to see the South Rim, though I understand the North Rim isn’t as touristy. No worries though. I also understand the views are different at each. The South Rim reminded me a lot of the Badlands in South Dakota, one of my favorite places. We were there as the sun was beginning its descent in the sky. This made for terrific lighting, the shadows enhancing the canyon, making the lines really pop out. They would have been bleached out in the mid day sun. A shuttle bus is the only way to pick up some of the trails, so we head over to Kaibab Trail. There was no time to hike all the way down, but we took a good walk. It was the most exercise I’ve had since Seattle, when I walked all around Bumbershoot. The altitude is really high, in Flagstaff its 7,000 feet. The sun had set so we used the camcorder light to navigate the twisty, rocky incline and to avoid donkey poop.

That was the big outing in Flagstaff. Otherwise, I slept a lot, did a bunch of writing and good eating. In my days there I had yummy Thai and Indian grub and even did some cooking for four people. I enjoyed being back in a kitchen and was glad my dish didn’t burn! Also part of the rejuvenation was hot tubbing. A certain hotel in town has a great swimming pool and hot tub that’s easy to access. Tiki torches surround the hot tub and they even provide complimentary towels. I just thought it was funny that the only people in the tub were locals. People came and went without any problems. The heat and jets relaxed my stiff muscles and I slumbered hard that night. The local coffee shops made great espresso and provided some interesting characters. I preferred Macy’s but at Late for the Train I met Mike Haverly. I was having a great catch-up conversation with Philip McCaleb until my phone ran out of juice. Mike overheard the conversation and asked how far I had traveled. He was excited because he has thought about making a cross country ride to bring awareness to people with diabilities living below the poverty line. He’s a real character, a survivor with charm and wit! Although he has a physical disability, he rides motorcycles-without modifications. I was totally inspired by our talk and his gusto-I wish him the best! Here is a comment he left on the website. I am posting it to serve as a reminder to not dream-to live out your intentions.

“After meeting you in Flagstaff AZ my wife and I discussed my undertaking a coast 2 coast ride on my ninja to highlight the needs of the disabled. We have decided to dedicate ourselves to making that happen. YOU have been an inspiration. I had been wanting to do my ride for over a year and it somehow always got shifted to the back of the to do closet. Many thanks, many group hugs, and a whole lot of love to you from us! “

Good luck Mike!

I wanted to stay in Flagstaff longer and enjoy the cool town and my lovely friends, but the finish line date is set for October 13, so I’m sticking to a tight schedule. There aren’t a lot of pics in this post, but check out the photo sets on Flickr. I am 200 miles away from Santa Fe. Yesterday I had a big, scary ride through the Indian Reservations. The landscape changed back and forth, from green forests to sprawling desert lands to red rocks and buttes. Many a chief has offered us profound quotes. I wish one chief had said, “Behold the girl who scoots for Peace, she travels our land sowing seeds and must not be run over.” Perhaps then I would be more like a white buffalo than a sitting duck. Which is my way of saying there are some CRAZY drivers on the roads I took. I was going the speed limit, 55-65, but that was apparently 20 miles under par.

Right now I am writing from the Courtyard Marriott. Of course I didn’t stay here but awhile ago I realized these places offer up free wifi and coffee. 😉
Currently talking to a gentlemen named Paul and we are rapping about the monks in Burma. He feels a bit of despair that monks are missing and being beaten. I do as well. I also respect that the monks are demonstrating non violent principles. Revolutions based on non violent principles are always the most successful. I admire that they are seeking out truth and willing to go to the lengths that we see as “extreme.” My thoughts and blessings are with them.

Namaste Alix

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