Tuesday, July 10, 1984
Canyon Village to Flagstaff, Ariz.
84 miles Locater map
I’m reprinting the day-to-day journal entries of a cross-country bike tour my friend and I took in 1984. More about the TransAmerica Tour 1984
We rode through hail and back to get to Flagstaff today. Why we left the Grand Canyon, I have no idea. I guess we’re just too accustomed to hitting the road everyday.
We awoke at dawn this morning, and took all the gear off our bikes for a ride out to the South Rim for more sunrise pictures. We flew along without the panniers,and I found it difficult to steer the bike straight. Returning to camp, we loaded up to our old sluggish selves and left by 9, stopping at the camp store.
Remember that geology lesson of climbing up to the Grand Canyon? It worked in our favor this morning. We zipped along mostly downhill for 28 miles to Valle by 11 a.m., passing the Flintstone Village amusement park there (it closed in 2019). We followed a hillier and more winding road to Flagstaff. We had descended into arid desert, but now we were climbing back into wetter and more forested mountain country. Strangely, I find climbing out of the arid flatlands more refreshing; I never thought I could enjoy cycling uphill.
The sky clouded over, the wind picked up, and a hailstorm blew in, our first of the trip. At first we thought of riding through it, but as the stones started pelting down harder we cowered in refuge at edge of the Ponderosa forest. It suddenly was as cold as any time of the trip.
The storm blew over, and we pedaled toward San Francisco Mountain. We eventually reached Flagstaff, where we checked out the western-style downtown before opting for a cheap motel out on the commercial edge.
Headline: July 10, 1984 —
People in the western US are less likely to die of heart disease
than those who live in the East, according to a newly released study.
Rose early again for sunrise and cycled out the West Rim to one of the overlooks for an a.m. photo session. I’ve shot almost 36 shots since yesterday. Every time the sun dips behind a cloud or there’s any change in the sky, it seems to change the look of the canyon dramatically. Pictures, however, do not do it justice.
We will make the 80 miles today to Flagstaff and we understand there are some hilly sections even though we will eventually drop in elevation. It was an enjoyable stay in the canyon.
We left at 9 a.m. and made 30 miles by 11. Then it got hilly. We had to cross the San Francisco Peaks, climbing from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. Near the top we got caught in a hail storm, which was actually fun. We also came through part of an evergreen forest that had been destroyed by fire. It was a very depressing scene to ride through–acre upon acre of burned and charred forest.
We dropped down to Flagstaff and were in the center of town before 5 p.m. It was a fine day of riding. The hostel here cost $9.70 each, so we went to Motel 6 and got a private room for only a dollar or two more.