connections, driving, friends, Path Unknown, stories, Travel


The scene and winds changed as we crossed the Arizona border. I couldn’t get over how much the color of the rocks and mountains shifted from red to tan through a single imaginary line.

It reminded me of a Bioregionalism class I took a few years ago. Part of the idea was to separate lands by using natural, obvious barriers. After two weeks on the road, it seemed like the Western states use this idea.

We drove to Flagstaff to stay with a friend Marcus and his fiance Eva. I hadn’t seen them in years, but they graciously opened their doors on a last minute whim.

Actually, the first major road trip I took alone was five years ago. I bought a Mazda 626 and drove to Orlando to see two friends, one of which worked at Disney. Both Marcus and Eva were doing the internship program as well, which is where they met and fell in love.

It’s kind of funny how you can forget just how much history you and an old friend possess until you sit and have a few beers and then a former life just pops into existence.

This is what happened at the Flagstaff Brew Pub.

I was falling in amore with Flagstaff after one wheat brew. The locals seemed so laid back. There were dogs lying around outside. Plus, the shops of downtown were adorable. I liked the style of clothing and the vintage charm of the city.

Marcus and Eva have lived here for almost four years and loved the outdoor activities the scenery has to offer. There is skiing or snowboarding in the winter, plenty of disc-golf and bike trails, and enough running space to keep it interesting. I swear it seemed like there were more outdoor shops than boutiques…which is my kind of city.

There’s a university there as well–Northern Arizona University, home of the Lumberjacks. We thought it was pretty odd that was the chosen mascot because both of us had associated Arizona with desert, but we found out during our drive to the Grand Canyon the next day the answer to that question.

Marcus had pointed out during dinner that I had given him a tour of UL when he was a senior in high school. Considering he graduated in 2002, do the math. This year we both finally graduate with bachelor’s degrees and more life experience than many of the denizens at home.

Seeing his life made me realize why I am on this adventure of a road trip. Leaving everything you know in order to see what you are really made of is quite a quest for self realization.

We finished up at the Brew Pub and then walked through an alley to an old hotel that is now two different bars. According to our tour guides, most of the downtown hotels have turned into pubs after the boom of newer sleep destinations. This was fascinating to me. Nothing says kicking back like hanging out in the atmosphere of the Shining: carpeted floors, antique tables and bars that look like ghosts would be tending your spirits.

After a bourbon and water we went back to their house to retire for the evening. Nick and I planned on touring the Grand Canyon the next day and we wanted to prepare for the scenery. Plus, we thought we were going to have to pack up to leave for Vegas.

However, as I was going to learn the rest of the trip, sometimes things don’t work out like we anticipate.


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