A few hours in Flagstaff

Posted: December 3, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve got the title all picked out for the book I’m never going to write: 48 Hours in. Give or take, that’s how long I inhabit a city for most work trips. It’s long enough to sample the local flavor – literally usually – without being forced to stare at its exposed guts. Rare is the place that can’t be interesting or livable for two days.

The latest stop: Flagstaff, Ariz. I’d heard of it, sure, but had never been. I left with no regrets from the visit.

The setting is gorgeous – snow-capped and tree-covered mountains. It looks like Colorado more than Arizona and on this weekend was colder than South Dakota. Leftover snow on the ground refused to go away even when temps got above freezing. Correct or not, I blamed the mile-high altitude.

Behold Flagstaff, Ariz.

Behold Flagstaff, Ariz.

The man-made surroundings seemed thematic, too, be it the authentically aged downtown or the artificially rustic franchises farther down the winding road. Did you know Route 66 goes through Flagstaff? Maybe they filmed part of “Cars” there.

I ate a waffle made with granola and a burger of corn-fed buffalo, but passed on the cage-free eggs. Yes, there’s no shortage of local eats, much of it advertising a purportedly healthy way of living or thinking.

To that end, medical dispensaries and herb shops are easy to come by. One advertised a “free gram” for new customers. These are hardly novel concepts. But their presence here for whatever reason highlighted for me their absence elsewhere. It made me wonder about the history of this city; prevalent beliefs don’t happen by accident.

The largest local college, Northern Arizona, is situated among the mountains. Most of the students must take for granted the postcard views from their dorms, right? The beams in the domed stadium that hosts its football team is made of pine.

There’s poverty, too, painfully small homes; dreadlocked panhandlers with leashed pups; an industrial yard perhaps purposely set at the base of the San Francisco Peaks.

Could I live here? Maybe. Probably. But why would I? What would bring me to move to a medium-sized, moderately-climed town in a distant state known for heat? Then again, how do ancestors from Czechoslovakia, Ireland and Germany end up migrating to North Dakota?

Wondering is half the fun of exploring.

  1. […] Terry only stopped for a cup of coffee — and a waffle with granola — in Flagstaff, Arizo…He came away slightly confused after a trek to Spokane, Washington. And he was really out of his element when he visited Outdoor World in Springfield, Mo. […]

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