Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Return to Flagstaff and Some Not Very Bike-Friendly Weather

Sunday morning we drove back from Mountain Village, Colorado. We needed to hustle since the forecast told of blizzards heading toward Colorado and Flagstaff. We left as snow was falling over the San Juans. Very dreamy.

The landscape slowly changed from Alpine forests to high-country desert to desert to high-country desert again. It was cold, very cold all the way home. We saw two cyclists pedaling along the highway (not together), both traveling quite loaded down with gear. I wondered about their adventure and thought of Beanie's recent road trip to Yuma from San Diego. Such belief in one's self to take on such a journey.

The San Francisco Peaks finally emerged with a heavy mass of clouds settled among the mountain tops. Only a a few inches seemed to have fallen but the closer we came to Flagstaff the more we became aware of what was to come.

Just a few inches on Monday morning and I considered riding the Expedition up to the airport. Less than a mile from my house. How cold could it be?? Really, really cold according to our well insulated Australian Shepherd Splash who had lost all interest in the outdoors. The morning public radio host warned of an approaching blizzard and white out conditions later in the day. Fair weather bike commuter that I occasionally am, I elected for the Element. Bob stayed home to catch up on sleep and hang with the dogs. He promised me French onion soup should I decide to come home for lunch.

The Element proved to be the right choice. By the time lunch had arrived, the snow was half way up to my knees, and quite wet. Since the state has cut funding to ADOT, City plows had to pick up the slack, and with that little if any salting or cinders had been applied to the road. Naturally, the urban trail was not plowed and likely would not be for quite a while, unless a private individual decided to take on the job. In no way, could have managed Pulliam on my bike. As I drove home, I passed evidence that many cars had skidded around or completely off the road. Would studded tires have done the trick? All I knew was that I missed my bike ride and as much as we depend on snow for water and to support the tourist economy here, I feared my winter rides might be suspended for several weeks.

This morning we awoke to over 2 feet of snow on the ground. Our first blizzard in ten years according to the Arizona Daily Sun. We couldn't even get the car out of the garage before noon today and riding my bike to work was out of the question. With the Planner Guy manning the snow thrower and me with a shovel, we set about to clearing a path for the Element. (Heavy sigh!)


Trisha said...

Beautiful landscape photos! I'm very jealous of the snow that every area of the country other than mine seems to be getting. :) But I'm sorry it keeps you off your bike.

Amy said...

Cinders, huh? Never heard of that. They use salt, sand, or a new molasses mix of some kind here in Indianapolis.