Friday, June 6, 2014

June 5 (Day 156) - Off day, Lewis's woodpecker nest, plan for next few days

Today was a scheduled rest day. I needed to have a bit of bike work completed, and as Flagstaff, AZ has a very active biking community, this would be an ideal place to stop for a day to deal with this. I also needed additional time to sort out how I am going to get to Durango, CO from Flagstaff. The four corners has a surprising lack of resources and support; these next few days are going to be logistically and physically challenging - more so even than Western Texas.

Right now I am planing to ride from Flagstaff (AZ) to Tuba City (AZ) to Kayenta (AZ) to Bluff (UT) to Cortez (CO) and finally onto Durango (CO). I will likely rest a day in Durango before beginning the huge climb over the mountains to Ouray, CO where I hope to tick Black swift. There are VERY VERY few places to stay in these towns, and there is basically nothing in between them. This means I had to spend a lot of time today sorting out where I can get food and water on each of these legs. Temperatures will be a bit warmer than they are here in Flagstaff, but they won't be anything like the 100+ inferno I saw around Tucson/Phoenix.

The average of these 5 days with be ~70 miles/day
There will be some climbing, but not as much as yesterday.

For logistical reasons, I am actually going to spend an additional night (Friday) in Flagstaff. This means tomorrow will be a very down day. As I have very few lodging options through the stretch outlined above, I need to make sure people are around to host me in each of these areas. After talking with all of my potential hosts, it makes sense to delay my departure from Flagstaff for another day. It is painful to have to do this, but I cannot mess around in this region which is so support-thin. Once I get into Colorado, I will have a ton of support. I am really looking forward to my time in Colorado as a result.

While my bike was getting checked out this morning, I did make a short foray on foot to view a Lewis's woodpecker nest in downtown Flagstaff. I had great directions, and both birds were attending to the nest when I arrived. They came and went for the 40 mins that I watched the nest. They were pretty high up, but I was able to get a decent record shot year bird #463!

Lewis's woodpecker

I also spent some time sitting very still trying to photograph the neighborhood Pinyon jays at my host's house. There was a nice burt of activity just at the end of the day when the light was best, so I walked away with a few nice shots!

Pinyon Jay

Pinyon jay

 Pinyon jay

 Lesser goldfinch

I was going to write a bit about my diet, but to be perfectly honest, my brain is fried after nailing down hosts, looking at satellite imagery of roads, considering elevations changes, and so on. I am going to shut it down and go to bed. I'll write about my food intake at some point though, I promise.
The logistics of this trip is REALLY REALLY REALLY time consuming and tiring - just as much so as riding the bike.


  1. Wow Dorian that is a very hardcore route through the heart of the Navajo nation. Be extra careful and prepare to have your eyes opened! - Dave

  2. Hi Dorian,
    I did the same route and stops but the other way a few years ago. These are small but good towns to stop at. Bring plenty of water and snacks. The landscape will be deserted but beautiful in its own way.
    Good luck

  3. The next few days north out of Flagstaff will be a lot of open land, but beautiful and fascinating. Probably not a lot of birds.
    I am envious of your Colorado route. Black Swift will be easy at Box Canyon Falls in Ouray. Ouray is wildly beautiful, as is the route from Durango to Ouray.


  4. This area was my favorite part of my cross-country road trip last fall. There will be a million Navajo people scattered along the side of the road selling their pottery and jewelry and whatnot and some of it is really cool (get Sonia something neat). The landscape is absolutely incredible, though I'm certain challenging on a bike. I'm certain you'll enjoy it despite the challenges it presents! Hey, keep an eye out for a condor! You're probably a little out of their usual hangouts but you never know! I saw one cruising over that route 89 to Page when I was there.

  5. Could you even imagine planning this trip without the use of the internet?

  6. Dorian - These next few days may lack in exciting birds (but hey, you never know), but on the other hand this area is one of the most scenic and impressive you may bike through this year. As you pedal along, just think about the fact that 800-1000 years ago there were more people living in this region than there are today. Best of luck, and enjoy.