Friday 15th September – To Flag!

Another easy morning, but this time we had somewhere to be. Not in any hurry of course. When we came out to the kitchen, Debbie already had pancakes on the go so we just added a couple of eggs and a pair of smoothies and we were set for the day. While I was waiting for some washing, I sat at the kitchen counter and published my “Snake Dike” blog post – the longest in my history and for good reason. Once I was done with that, we got packing. The Cabana was going travelling again, taking us to the cooler temperatures of Flagstaff. It’s the usual escape for us two, only a couple of hours away with mountains, forests and cool air always on offer.

By about 11am, we’d put everything we needed into the Cabana and Cleo had been dunked in the pool for a cool off. We hugged Debbie goodbye and drove on out of our temporary base. It was exciting to be on the road again, it felt like we were back to normal. We’d both been without routine for about a year and this just felt like what we were supposed to do. I enjoyed the lack of input needed from the passenger seat as Dan drove us out of the heat. I am happy to report that the AC boost seemed to have kept working, we stayed cool all the way out of Phoenix. Apart from a stop at a dispensary before we left Phoenix, the road to Flagstaff was uninterrupted.

I had a look at some free camp options on the way up and when Dan could take no more of my maybes and what-ifs, we pulled over at one National Forest entrance just before Flag to suss it out. We didn’t end up going much further than the entrance, but stayed parked for a while just enjoying the fact that we were out in the forest again. We couldn’t make camp yet, we needed some supplies.

At the Walmart in town, we got the essentials to make burgers for lunch, eggs for breakfast and pasta for dinner. That and a bottle of propane and we were right for a couple of days. With that out of the way, we needed to start our latest rage the only way we knew how – with pool. We were going out on a limb to find us a different spot to mix things up from Brews & Cues which we knew so well. After visiting a pub that was closed until 5pm and a billiards hall that was way too quiet and serious for our liking, we peered into the window of an Irish pub and found what we needed. The pool tables were empty and the menu full of decent food.

We were helped straightaway by a waitress who got us sorted with beer and we made some rash decisions on the food menu. When we walked over to our table and discovered there was an all-you-can-eat fish and chips deal on Fridays, I immediately ran back over to the bar to find our waitress and change our order. Not a problem, we clinked our beer glasses together and racked up for our first game.

I got absolutely demolished over the next four rounds of pool, much to Dan’s liking. It was the second time we’d played since meeting up again and all my skills seem to have evaded me. I focussed on the food instead when it was presented to us. After we’d downed the first plate of fish, chips and coleslaw, we were presented with another plate of fish. Then another. What we had thought was going to be unlimited fish AND chips, turned out to be only unlimited fish. Still, it was a good deal.

Dan couldn’t hack beating me so badly anymore and I was tipsy after just one beer so we took our leave just before the after work crowd started taking over. We walked the streets of Flag back to the car where Cleo was patiently waiting for us. Dan drove us out of town and into the forest that had almost become our second home. Somewhere off the road up to the Arizona Snowbowl, we found ourselves in a familiar campsite. Last time we’d been here was July 4th weekend and it was packed so we assumed that now it would be quiet. Not so since it was a Friday afternoon. We had to drive past the last of the mandated sites and make our own adventure. After driving a while down a road that was unmarked and thinking “maybe”, as we passed some sections of flat ground, our instinct told us to push on just a bit further and sure enough, we were rewarded. Dan got us levelled up in a gorgeous site where there was firewood abounds.

Desperate for a fire, we both went off collecting and Dan got her started with one flick of the Bic (lighter brand). We spent the rest of the night sitting by the warmth and revelling in the fact that we were “home” again.

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