Day 4: Gallup, New Mexico to Williams, Arizona; Fierce winds; Free Chiropractic adjustments; Watch out for elk! Ghosts of El Jefe; Grand Canyon Brewery.


I had only planned to go 220 miles yesterday, which would bring me to Williams, a nice Route 66 town I had stopped at twice before. It was a good thing. New Mexico interstates are not bad in the general scheme of highways in the universe (easily beat Illinois!) but why do they have to add those bumps when you’re going over the overpasses? The bounces caused me to shout out small oaths but also provided me with free Chiropractic manipulations that I didn’t really need.
Then there are signs for Indian jewelry, moccasins, art, knives, hats… and frequent places you could buy them.
It was the signs announcing watch out for elk: next 30 miles, that bothered me most. I know that most elk can read English and so choose these very areas to cross, knowing you are more likely to be watching out for your welfare and theirs. I suppose it’s a bit of a win-win situation. Deer can’t read and are visually allergic to the signs so they cross anywhere, except where they’re supposed to.
Then it’s started getting windy. I thought at first that it wasn’t as bad as when I rode through Hurricane Point on the Pacific Coast Highway with El Jefe a few years back, but then I felt the wind speed increasing. (Later, when I reached Flagstaff I read the weather report that said there was a wind advisory with winds 25-35 mph and gusts to 45). Being on a bike in heavy winds is no fun, especially if there are gusts and cross winds. You feel like you’re facing a welterweight boxer with a good right hook. The wind tries to yank your helmet off. Slaps you around a bit. Makes you think of sins you have committed. So after about 100 miles of this I pulled off in Flagstaff to search for real coffee. I got stuck in a traffic jam caused by some yellow Herzog train track vehicles riding back and forth on the tracks like they were part of a circus parade. The name Herzog reminded me of a book of the same name written by Saul Bellow. There was a line in it that went something like: “Herzog learned from Madeline (his wife) that when a woman was done with a man she was done with him utterly.” It was ironic seeing that sign because that theme is part of this journey too – dealing with women who have been done with me utterly. But that will be revealed as time and the road unfold. Anyway, as I rode into the historic part of Flagstaff I quickly changed my mind about the coffee when I saw the Flagstaff Brewing Company. I found a spot to park out front, a nice cute bartender named Savanna and an incredibly smooth and tasty Kolsch beer.
Back on the road I had only 30 more miles of wind and wonder to Williams. I stayed at the Highlander Motel. My kind of place, except they didn’t have a sign out front advertising Color TV’s, nor a bottle opener on the wall in the bathroom – normal luxuries you find only in the finest establishments.
I changed clothes, lit up my first Acid Kuba Kuba cigar, walked around the town and enjoyed looking into the eclectic shops. And then I saw a shop, Tattoos by Jefe and it reminded me of my good buddy and our trip across country 3 years ago.
I walked over to the Grand Canyon Brewery had some pizza and a nice American Pilsner.
Later, I walked back to the motel. The no vacancy sign was lit. I phoned my daughter and fell down on the bed feeling all beat up from the winds.
Safe travels today.

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