Riding into nightfall I roll into Flagstaff tired and hungry. The pace of the journey has picked up because I need to get to Phoenix and then San Diego for bike maintenance and to make a few adjustments to my packing and change out supplies for the read adventure to come: Mexico, Central and South America.
“You ride that to the Grand Canyon,” the silver haired man with the bulby red nose asked.
“This time no, but I just rode through Capitol Reef, Natural Bridges, the Goosenecks of the San Juan and Monument Valley,” I spit out the last couple days destinations figuring he’d know, “but not the Grand Conyon, been there several times,” I confided.
“I’ve never been there,” he tells me shaking his head. “I’ve spent too much time making money, not enough time living. Haven’t even been to the Grand Conyon.”
The Grand Canyon is perhaps a one or two hour drive from his home hear in Flagstaff. He’s probably packing 60-plus solid years on his sturdy frame.
“You need to take the day off and go today,” I say withe keen authority and confidence. “What’s a day?” I wave my arm into the sky as punctuation to my grand statement.
“I got two spoiled kids,” he says. “I’ve got to go to work.” Judging by his age his kids should be well into working age and fairing for themselves. Who knows. But there’s no telling this guy.
I lock my eyes on him as he washes his windshield and I start my engine. Backing slowly out the parking space on the slightly inclined pavement at the Shell Station, he looks at me. Me at him. Then with not enough momentum and bad judgement and mind spinning about this guys wasted life spent working and not living, I drop my bike on the pavement. A couple people help me lift it and I’m on the raod again.
Good thing I’m heading to Jesse’s.