After an excellent night’s rest at the enthusiastically staffed Harrah’s Ak-Chin, where we had an awesome evening event with CodeGreen, Sam, Kate and I awoke early to the hot Pheonix sun to give Baby Bus and Sam some morning face time on Good Morning Arizona. Sam rocked it and we quickly returned to the casino to fill up on water and pick up a little veg. Here come the complications. While filling up on veg Remy and I noticed that we were pulling veg extremely slowly. Thus, we set out on the road from Phoenix toward the Grand Canyon perplexed and pondering whether it was a pump, filter, veg issue, or a leak. As we sat discussing it, we found out we had been spontaneously and generously offered a large quantity of veg from a biofuel promoter in Cottonwood, Arizona, a small town just slightly out of the way. Now we would really need to solve the pumping issue if we wanted to pump 50 gallons in any reasonable time. And then we met Mike Rogers, owner of Cottonwood-based Biodiesel U.S. Inc. Mike and his crew gave us the friendliest of welcomes as we pulled up beside his small bio-bus in a Cottonwood parking lot. We talked for a long while, and he told us the inspiring story of the start of his company. He started his B.U.S. when his daughter’s school was experiencing some big budget issues. He saw biodiesel as a means to cut fuel costs for school buses and save money. Now he has his own bus equipped with a small scale functional biodiesel reactor in the back as an educational tool for local kids. But our story with Mike doesn’t end there. After we mentioned we were having pumping issues, he brought us and the bus back to his shop where he helped us majorly reseal our system and seriously clean our filters. Once everything was tight he brought us over 50 gallons of good veg which we pumped with ease. Score! Thanks so much Mike, you’re the best.
From Cottonwood we had the opportunity to head northeast through beautiful Sedona, which we would have missed had we not detoured to Cottonwood. Near Sedona, as we left the desert and entered mountain forest, we felt compelled to pull off the road by Slide Rock State Park, take a dip in the tranquil Oak Creek, and sip the sweet mountain air. This was perfect. The water was cold and the beauty was everywhere. It is times like this that we remember what we’re working so hard to protect.
We departed from Oak Creek and began the ascent up the winding mountain roads toward a higher plateau. With the sun setting on our backs I look back down the slope into the valley for a magnificent view. In the distance summer storms flashed lightning and sparkled above the open landscape. This indeed was John Muir’s vision when he said “go to the mountains and get their good tidings.” Night descended upon us but I felt elated as I watched the storms grow around us. Soon droplets splashed on the windshield and I was giddy. Moisture to the dry earth. Sustenance to the animals. Life from the sky. The light storm quickly turned heavy as we passed Flagstaff. Soon droplets turned to waves, even oceans of water, covering the glass. Lightning stuck left and right as we worked hard to see the twists in the road. Nature’s power was apparent. Finally we reached the parking lot at the base of Mt. Humphreys where we decided to cook up a quick meal and spend the night.
The next day we rose early to make the four mile hike to the top of the 12,600 ft Mt. Humphreys, the highest peak in Arizona. We powered up the 3,000 ft ascent in excellent time for stupendous 360 degree views, and we managed to beat out the afternoon monsoons. We had a powerful debrief on the way down the mountain, and with a fresh excitement for the natural world, we set out for the Grand Canyon.
We arrived at the park to find Mike and Maya, to our suprise, ahead of schedule on their bike touring trip safe and sound and ready to return to the bus. We then pulled up to the rim of the the monumental canyon just as the sun was setting over the opposing rim. Glorious. This is our planet. This we must preserve. I lay my head down on my pillow that night with images of the vast Arizona landscape, of vivid dusk purples and reds, of peace and of a longing to stay out there forever. The sun faded and so did I. The best type of tired. Till next time.
Sign off -AK