I didn’t think I’d ever end up in Arizona, but here we are in Flagstaff, so named becaue of the pine tree that was stripped of its branches to fly the American flag in celebration in1876. The flagstaff became a landmark and in May 1881 when enough people had arrived at the railroad camp to justify a post office, the name Flagstaff was chosen.

Years later Route 66 would be built through the middle of town, and there are now three distinct arteries that divide it up: the railroad (with a train every 15 minutes), old Route 66, and the new Route 40. Most hotels and motels offer complimentary ear plugs because the trains must sound their whistle/horn at every level crossing. And there are many here.

We chose Flagstaff because it’s cheaper than Sedona, but weren’t sure about our choice at first. It was a 3 km walk to the historic part of town, which isn’t very big. We walked there and back to loosen up the mule muscles. Rob is walking less like a penguin and more like a part-time cowboy.

Sunset @ Snowbowl ski area, near Flagstaff AZ

Sunset @ Snowbowl ski area, near Flagstaff AZ

After our walk in to town, we picked up the car in search of the perfect spot to watch the sun set. A local had sent us up Cherry Avenue to the parking lot of a Mormon church. But they’d installed a fence that blocked the view. So, we instead set off for the local ski hill, aptly named Snowbowl. The sun was setting, and we weren’t sure if we would make it. Rob wasn’t in the Mini, and the road up the  mountain to the base of the ski hill was full of hairpin turns.

When we first started off we saw two men in their fifties carries skateboards that looked more like snowboards with wheels. Had they really come down the road ahead? It seemed crazy.

We did make it up to the parking lot in time and saw a beautiful sunset over the San Francisco Peaks. After supper we headed over to the Beaver Street Brewery and Whistle Stop. It was a really happening spot and made us re-think our views of Flagstaff.

For starters we had pretzels with beer mustard and ale dipping sauce. They reminded me of pretzels in Munich. The mustard was the type my Dad would have loved (had he been with us), with enough zing to clear the sinuses after about 15 seconds. For mains, I had Southwestern pizza and Rob had a variation of bangers and mash (no surprise there). We couldn’t finish all of it and now have lunch waiting for us in the “refrigerator” (aka the trunk of the car).

More tomorrow…

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