Yesterday was my birthday... and even though I am traveling across the American Southwest all by myself, I was far from alone!
I got a new bikepacking bicycle + a full set of bikepacking bags. Whoohoo! Then I went into downtown Flagstaff, Arizona and ate a pizza dinner with two of my www.bicycletouringpro.com readers (Emir and Charmaine) who are on a cross-country road trip of their own right now. Then the three of us drove to my campsite in the forest and sat around a campfire, while telling stories and looking for shooting stars. The next morning I held a Bicycle Touring Pro reader meet-up/bike ride, where I was joined by Robby and Christian on a 30 mile round trip bike ride to nearby Lake Mary. After the bike ride was over, Emir and Charmaine joined me for lunch at the Wildflower Bread Company - where I received a free piece of carrot cake for my birthday and was presented with a special birthday muffin from Emir and Charmaine. :) Later that night, I met back up with Christian and we drove out into the forest and made a campfire. Christian froze his butt off sleeping outside by the fire, while I did my best to stay warm inside the van. It was 20° F when we woke up this morning! Brr. Then Christian and I decided to hike to the top of Humphreys Peak, which is the highest mountain in the state of Arizona - 12,633 feet. It was a tiring hike up, but there were some spectacular views from the top. While we were climbing the mountain, we met several other hikers, including a young woman named Becca and a young man named Zack. After summiting Mt. Humphreys, I said goodbye to Christian (he had to rush home) and I hiked down the mountain with Zack (and Becca for a bit). Then Zack and I went out for lunch at a popular brewery in downtown Flagstaff. Finally, I said goodbye to Zack and drove my van back out into the forest, where I am now camping. I've been on the road for almost a month now and there have been some good experiences, but these last two days were easily my favorite two days of my entire journey thus far. Thank you to all the strangers (who are now my friends) who helped to make my birthday so special.