Flagstaff, AZ (or “Hanging Out With My Brother and His Friends”)

 | December 10, 2007 9:09 pm

Ahh Flagstaff… beautiful little Flagstaff.

I love Flagstaff. I love the downtown. I love the museums, the university, the train station, the urban trail system, and smell of the weather in town and view of the mountains. The fact that it’s home to the Lowell Observatory alone would make it a cool town. A few years back I even had a brief flirtation with the idea of moving there.

I only want to make this clear so you understand that when someone called it “big city” and I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to disagree I did not mean to imply anything bad about Flagstaff. It’s a lovely town, but 53,00 in “city” limits and 124,000 in the metro area, does not a “big city” make.

(It reminded me of being in a car going from Boston to Providence and the how driver kept complaining about the awful rush-hour traffic we were stuck in though we never dropped below 40 miles an hour. Silly east coasters, come drive the 405 at 6:00pm some day.)

However Flagstaff was the largest place I’d been to on my trip thus far. Also the coldest. The first night I spent there it dropped to the high teens. I stayed in the Walmart parking lot (first Walmart overnight of the trip! (will explain this to the non-RVers later)), woke up at 5:00am, and after about a half an hour gave up on sleeping anymore. So I climbed into the driver’s seat, apologized to the Waltons for not going in and buying anything after staying in their parking lot, (I usually patronize any store I stay at, even if it’s just to buy a can of soup or some gum), and drove off to the Northern Arizona Museum three and a half hours before it opened just to get the engine warmed up and the heater going.

So if my brother lives in Flagstaff what was I doing in the Walmart parking lot? Well, Elliot only lives in Flagstaff occasionally. He work 8 days straight in Southern Utah at a camp and then spends his 6 days off in Flagstaff, staying in friend’s garage. His rent is two cases of beer a month. (Yes, we’re both pseudo-homeless. Our parents are so proud). I got there on Tuesday, he wasn’t going to get out of the woods, (and turn on his cell phone), until Wednesday, and I had no idea where his friend’s house was. (Turns out it’s about a mile from the Walmart). So I had a chilly first night in Flag. It’s nice to know that I can handle those temperatures if need be, but I was quite happy to get a hold of him the next day and get directions.

Special thanks for the week in Flagstaff go out to Jared, Nick, Paige, Bobby, Pam and Alex for housing and/or entertainment. You’re always welcome to couch space, floor space, van space or whatever I have where ever I am. (Special thanks, btw, to Bobby for introducing me to Kava tea. First tea I’ve found I can drink straight. I bought a box yesterday and I’m loving it.)

Cronologically, my time in Flagstaff is confused since I spent 7 (!) nights there. Most of the time doing things that were lots of fun, but not very exciting to read about. Went to museums, art galleries and presentations at the university, learned how to play ma jiang, (though I found it easier to use what Japanese I remember from high school rather than learn the Chinese names for the pieces), did laundry, recorded Elliot, Pam and Bobby as they jammed on their guitars, and I learned that my brother can sing!

I only took two pictures that I especially like the whole week. Both were taken in Jerome, AZ when Bobby, Pam and I stopped for lunch on a day trip. The first shows Pam’s face clearly so until I get her permission to post it you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you how cool a shot it is.

Bobby and Pam in Jerome

It wasn’t actually as warm as it looks here. I was just having fun playing with my camera’s built in filters.

I had an excellent burger in Jerome. Absolutely fantastic. Ranked right up there with The Counter in Santa Monica. If you’re a carnivore and you happen to find yourself in Jerome (or more likely, nearby Sedona) then get a burger at the Mile High Grill. Very tasty with good bread, (the importance of which is often overlooked). Sadly, they don’t come smaller than half a pound, but you’ll eat the whole thing anyways.

I left Flag on Tuesday morning and headed south to Montezuma’s Castle National Monument, one of the most well preserved cliff dwellings in the southwest. Not as spectacular as Mesa Verde, but well worth the five bucks and the two hours I spent there. Don’t miss it if you’re nearby and have any interest in history.

When I got back out to my car I had a message from a researcher at the Museum of Northern Arizona who I’d been trying to get a hold of to interview for This Week in Science. So I drove the 50 miles back to Flagstaff, bought a six pack of beer for “rent,” showed up again at Jared’s house and crashed on the couch one more night.

I interviewed Dr. David Gillette the next morning about the Therizinosaur he’d excavated in 2000-2001 and spent most of the rest of the day at a coffee shop in town editing down the interview and writing a narration script to record later. I didn’t drive very far out of town that evening, just enough to lose some of the elevation so it wasn’t super cold that night.

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5 Responses to “Flagstaff, AZ (or “Hanging Out With My Brother and His Friends”)”

Molly wrote a comment on December 11, 2007

I love Flagstaff too! That (or Tuscon) is the Arizona I’m really talking about when I threaten “to run away and live in Arizona.” :-)

It would be really helpful if you could add a section on the side (right or left) with links to the beginning of the last couple (3? 5?) entries. Today when I checked there were two new entries, but I wanted to read them in chronological order and they’re long, so I had to scroll down a lot to get to the beginning of the first one.

Ah, and in livejournal you asked for suggestions in Albequerqyeue. The Rattlesnake Museum. Garcia’s Kitchen (“stamping out gringo food”). The Turquoise Trail, including Tinkertown (it epitomizes what is beautiful about living in America – a guy can accumulate a big pile of stuff and make a living showing it to people), Madrid (pronounced Mah-drid, not like the city in Spain, used to be a mining town but now is a little art haven and has a neat old train/crap museum), and generally the trail is pretty. Oh, and the Frontier up near the University – open 24 hours (I think they have wireless) and has amazing sticky buns – so good that I had my mom bring my a frozen 1/2-dozen when she was out there and I wasn’t. Hmmm… If I think of other things I’ll post later or email you.

I’m loving reading about your trip!

Roberta wrote a comment on December 11, 2007

I have to get back to Flagstaff sometime soon. It seemed like a really cool town. I really want to meet you on your trip! I’ve even been checking plane tickets again, but the prices went up even more :( You’ve gotta come out here soon!

Jessica wrote a comment on December 11, 2007

Molly – Ask and thou shall receive. I swapped the “Archives” section of the sidebar with a “Recent Posts” section. That should help. Thanks for the suggestions. I went to the Rattlesnake museum my first day and it was cool. Extra cool actually because there was a group of 5 year old boys there for a birthday party. They were even more amusing to watch than the snakes.

Madrid and the Turquoise Trail have been added to the map, but may wait until I’m back around next year. I wasn’t planning on going any further north into higher elevations. I’ll see what the weather is like when I leave town.

Garcia’s Kitchen looks like it could be the place I find someone for Good Food to interview about New Mexican cuisine, thanks! And I think I’ll plan to have an early breakfast in Frontier when I wake up super early tomorrow because of the cold.

Berta – Your own fault for not planning earlier. :) But it’s two bad you’re not coming out here, there’s a number of places (Roswell) that I think would be more fun to visit with someone. I’ll save them for when you get around deciding to quit this whole graduate school idea and do some proper traveling.

Molly wrote a comment on December 11, 2007

Wow, that was fast! Much easier to browse now… :-)

Jessica wrote a comment on December 11, 2007

Yup. It was easy to do and you caught me while I was still at the hostel in Albuquerque.

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