I’m writing this with the sound of the Pacific waves near Carlsbad, California in my ears.
I could live in Flagstaff it’s the most agreeable American town I’ve met. It provided me with breakfast in the Grand Canyon Diner, whose waitress was a bit slow, and whose booths seemed full of English people – me and five others I counted. The kitchen provided me with a passable but unexceptional 2 eggs and hash browns and the waitress and I talked about Cincinnati which is her home. No – she knew nothing of the Passenger Pigeon and Martha. But the chef knew where I could get a haircut, and correctly judged I would prefer a barber to a hair stylist and so directed me to Herman’s two blocks away.
Now, Herman’s is actually Ulibarri’s, named after Ulibarri between Burgos and Pamplona. That’s where Herman’s family came from, although he has never visited and he has lived in Flagstaff all his life, cutting 61,000 heads of hair in the process. As he made it 61,001 we talked about the economy (and how people still need haircuts, the fires that are burning in Arizona, my journey and how nice is Flagstaff. I came away with a good haircut and a sense of wonder that a life-long Flagstaff barber holds a torch for his ancestral Spanish town that he has never visited.
Pita Pit supplied me with lunch to go and I headed out of Flagstaff and after some desultory birding in the heat of the day near Sedona (Hepatic Tanager) headed onward to stay at the space age motel in Gila Bend where the desert temperature was over 100F. I added Gambel’s Quail and a couple of doves to my bird list.
Yesterday I headed West on I8 past Yuma, in sight of the Mexican border, through three checks to make sure I wasn’t carrying fruit or vegetables or Mexicans and into California. Just before 4pm local time, and just over 3 weeks from when I last saw the Atlantic near New York, and 5 weeks from when I saw it in the Carolinas, I stood with my toes in the Pacific Ocean, lifeguards on the beach, surfers in the sea, bikinied babes on the sand, and Brown Pelicans in the air.
Not quite over, but the journey of a lifetime from ocean to ocean and from the shore of Lake Erie (with Canada invisible across the lake) to the I8 with Mexico invisible behind a big fence (to keep the rich Americans in?).
I shall spend the next three days close to Los Angeles as my wanderlust is now sated and try to bump up the bird list a bit before heading home where I see things are not going well for my local football team and there are droughts in place.