I forgot to mention that earlier today I had noticed that the heads on the stem bolts on the bike were starting to show a little rust. While it was fresh on the mind, I figured I’d go to the hardware store and swap these out for stainless bolts, and I’d also do the same for another bike that needed it. Yeah, that technically breaks one of the cardinal rules of bicycle touring (don’t make any last minute changes to the bike), but what could go wrong, I figured. Well, as I tightened one of the bolts, it got tighter and tighter until … it started to spin freely. I had stripped some of the threads making the bike unrideable, as the handlebars could not be secured to the stem! Lucky for me, this happened on the other bike, not the one I’m using for this tour, whew!
Although I had done the Flagstaff to Ash Fork section as part of a previous tour, Flagstaff was the only place where I could send the bike. That’s somewhat unfortunate, as it seems like half the gear I brought was to keep warm on the first day. (FYI, this is due solely to the elevation differential, as there are no storm systems forecast to come through the area.). More unfortunately, as the train ride currently nears the end, I just started looking through my stack of printed map scans, and the section from Flagstaff to Williams is missing! I had two sets of map scans – one for a Flagstaff start for today, another for a Williams start as I had originally planned late last fall – and I had printed out the wrong stack! So all I have is the Arizona state AAA map for this section, which doesn’t show much detail. So this first leg could be an interesting test of my memory, more excitement than I really wanted for the first day!