Day 81

I Find the Cactus 🌵

Saguaro cactus in a field off North Beeline Highway, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, USA
Saguaro cactus in a field off North Beeline Highway, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, USA

Vacation Inn to just outside Grand Canyon campground


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Day 81 - Tonto/Coconino and Kaibab National Forests. My bike wasn’t stolen in the morning. I grabbed fuel where a girl begged for change for a bus ticket to get away from her abusive partner and look after her mother with stomach cancer. I headed to the forest and was overjoyed by the site of the saguaro. I’d spotted a few but this was fields filled with the huge suckers! 🌵I continued into the Coconino. I climbed a lot. So much the hot desert air turned to chill. I saw the first snow peaked mountain of the tour. A glorious sight of Humphreys Peak. I met a bike rider patching his tube at a lookout. He told me to checkout Sunset Crater nearby. I warmed up at Flagstaff and offered help to a couple with a flat tire at the petrol station. A homeless man begged for change at the traffic lights next to them. He didn’t offer help. I made it to the volcanic land and was impressed by the rivers of rock. I took one and headed straight to The Grand Canyon. The ground changed from black to red. I checked out the Trading Post nearby the National Park to sample a ‘Navajo Taco’. It was huge. I declined and headed to camp. It was getting dark. I made it to the park checkpoint at dark. The ranger said campgrounds would be full but I could camp anywhere in nearby Kaibab Forest. I thought it was a great idea. A campground inside The Grand Canyon would be expensive. Why do that when I can camp right outside it for free! I setup alone and explored the forest. I found one caravan deep inside. They didn’t want to be disturbed. I came back to camp and started a fire in the cold desert air. “It’s 6000ft”, the ranger told me. It would be below 10C. I warmed myself and waited for other campers. My spot was the first clearing from The Grand Canyon. Surely, a car jumped on the brakes, turned around and entered my spot. I waved, happy for the company, the said something and drove 20 meters away. I was disappointed they didn’t camp with me. Their voices could be heard speaking Russian. Perhaps they thought I was American. I cooked, worked on the bike and ate a Moon Pie on an ironically full moon. What a time to be alive 🌕

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