After my adventure to the Grand Canyon I rode back down to Flagstaff, stayed a night in the International Hostel in the heart of downtown, and then continued on my journey the following day.
Flagstaff was a really amazing college town. People seemed happy and I could see a true sense of community among the people working downtown. They all seemed to know each other. My favorite parts about the town were the fact that there were well-designed bike lanes on every street and that Buffalo Park was five minutes from downtown. Buffalo park was beautiful and the pine trees next to the mountains made me feel like I was in some sort of alpine oasis.
I was not expecting the weather in Flagstaff to be a brisk 65 degrees, a stark contrast from the desert I had been driving through. However, nothing prepared me for the heat that was yet to come.
The next morning I woke up early enough to drive back through Sedona and hike another canyon before heading to Joshua Tree. There is something about those mountains in Sedona…
The drive to Joshua Tree will stay with me forever. At this point in the trip, I started feeling a bit overwhelmed. It’s hard to be on the road so many weeks in a row without a place to crash and call home for a while. Until then this was something I had been enjoying most about the road trip, home was wherever I laid my head. But something changed on this trip to J Tree that made me feel a strong nostalgia for my personal space and place.
The drive was long, beautiful, but intensely hot. I kept watching the numbers rise on the thermometer in my car and by the time it got to 116 I was convinced it wasn’t going any higher… I was wrong. By the time I reached Joshua Tree it was 122 degrees outside, I had been driving for five hours, and was afraid to even get out of my car. When I finally stopped to pump gas, I opened my car door and was shocked by the sensation of heat. It was so hot I felt as though I could barely breath through the heat to get enough oxygen into my lungs.
Needless to say, I was apprehensive about spending the next entire day climbing and hiking around in Joshua Tree. I had originally planned to camp that night, but because of the forecast predicting 106 at 11pm, I instead decided to spoil myself and stay at a beautifully air conditioned Air B&B. I am so glad I made that choice. The people that owned the house are so incredibly kind and their home was so healing and comfortable to relax in and stay the night.
No matter how much I want to push myself to have certain experiences, such as camping at Joshua Tree, there are times during the trip when I have to make sure I am listening to my body when it needs to slow down. Staying at the Air B&B allowed me to catch up on some writing and reading and not worry so much about missing out on a different experience because their house was unique enough to make me feel as though I was experiencing something just as special.