Interbike 2016: Sucking it up

The Duke City vortex.

The Duke City vortex.

ALBUQUERQUE (MDM) — There must be something to all that vortex talk about Sedona. Something was definitely sucking there on Saturday. Mostly the drive in, down Oak Creek Canyon, on what should have been a beautiful fall afternoon.

I suppose if you have to be trapped in a traffic jam there are worse places for it. I had just left one of them, Las Vegas (“Gateway to Bankruptcy and Repossession”), and was glad of it, too.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

Still, you expect all manner of inconvenience in Sin City. Sedona bills itself as “The Most Beautiful Place On Earth In So Many Ways,” but this linear parking lot was not one of them.

Right behind me were a couple little yos in a red Kia getting their smoke on, their rap music polluting the air nearly as badly as the conga line of cars. (Pro tip: A red Kia is not “gangsta.”)

Up front, a sign proclaimed “Speed Reduced Ahead.” Not possible, I thought, glancing at my speedometer, which was flirting with zero. This made driving through Taos on Memorial Weekend look like barreling down I-25 between Raton and Wagon Mound at 3 in the morning. At least nobody was hollering or honking.

I hadn’t been to Sedona in years, and I wouldn’t see much of the new-and-improved version this trip. After inching through town to my hotel, I slouched over to the inevitable Whole Paycheck, bought a mess of juice, salami, cheese and crackers, and slouched back. Thusly fortified, I reclined on a chaise lounge at poolside and set about enjoying the comparative peace and quiet of the bubbling hot tub after the clangor and din of the Luxor-Mandalay Bay Dante Alighieri Memorial Circles of Hell (Two Through Four Inclusive).

Rub-a-dub in the hot tub! Or right next to it, anyway (yes, I eventually got in).

Rub-a-dub in the hot tub! Or right next to it, anyway (yes, I eventually got in).

Just about then a couple wanders in and of course they are in a mood to chat, having just come from the annual Sedona Winefest. He was a copper miner from Globe-Miami, and she was a phys-ed teacher and coach … who just happened to have cycled with a trailer from Canada to Mexico and was a member of the Adventure Cycling Association.

(“Cue “It’s a Small World After All.” Everybody sing!)

Anyway, they told me that on any given weekend Sedona was pretty much as I had already seen it, and so bright and early the next morning I arose, loaded the Subaru and got the hell out of Dodge. Vortex. Whatever. I took the back door through the hamlet of Oak Creek, which allowed me to use fifth gear and my inside voice.

I made it back to Duke City and El Rancho Pendejo in time for a light dinner and a short walk with Herself and Mister Boo. Turkish and Mia bestirred themselves, albeit briefly. (“Oh, you were gone? We hadn’t noticed.”) We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and an early bedtime.

All this peace and quiet will be shattered by tonight’s debate and the subsequent spinning of same, of course. Some vortexes suck more than others.


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12 Responses to “Interbike 2016: Sucking it up”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Sedona certainly is not what it used to be. 1% weirdos have come to town. Should have kept going to Prescott, although it is heading towards the dark side as well.
    Anywho, I won’t be watching that window dressing tonight, although I hope the orange one cracks, finally. Not when the first episode (2 hours no less) of Poldark beckons.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Pat, I can’t remember the last time I visited Sedona. I’m pretty sure it was a solo trip, and I recall doing some medium-light mountain biking. What I recall is a pleasant little village … which clearly has gone the way of Taos, Aspen, Santa Fe, Jackson Hole, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

      Barring the shot of my puppies at the pool, I didn’t take a single pic while I was there, reasoning that the place hardly needed my assistance as regards promotion. “Loved to death” is the phrase that comes to mind. Parked cars lined both sides of the canyon on the way down, and all the campgrounds were packed to the limit.

      I visited Prescott once or twice, too, the first time back in the Nineties while writing a “Made In USA” bit for that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling, and found it a pleasant little burg with a nice Italian eatery whose name eludes me. I expect it’s changed plenty too.

      The Eagles had a thing or two to say about our predilection for shitting in the garden. “They called it Paradise … I don’t know why.”

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Last time I was driving through Oak Creek Canyon was back when you were dodging the Pacific tsunami and we were dodging a huge winter storm blowing in from California. We got the fuck out of Sedona as they closed the last bridge thinking it was going to float off. I think it was winter, 2004. We both survived.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I should’ve turned around as soon as I saw the medium-heavy logging on both sides of the road. I wondered if maybe the state was getting set to widen the road, or if they were battling beetle kill, but the hotel clerk said it was a fire-suppression tactic.

      ‘Course, with all those flammable trees out of the way, there’s plenty of room for more road, more RVs, more people, more commerce. Joni Mitchell had a few thoughts on this topic Back In the Day®.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    AZ? All yours my friend, especially a little spot in Rio Rico. An amazing place. An amazing place. Big things are gonna happen there, let me tell you. Next, I will get my ass handed to me by Hilary Clinton and Lester Holt (because he’s a …well…you know) will call me on every BS line I throw out there. I need one of those game show “lifelines”…quick, get me Hannity on the phone! AAGGhhhhh! Oh, but I won this debate, just so you know. Just so you know. I won. Let’s make this country hated again…or something like that.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oy. What a spectacle. We streamed it in a tiny window on PBS, which wouldn’t let us go full screen. Probably just as well. The nation would have been better served by watching 90 minutes of a monkey fucking a football.

      • Larry T Says:

        Well, it’s up to the stupid people at this point – anyone with a working brain could see the greasy orange turd is little more than a big-money carnival barker. Maybe the morons who support “Orange Hitler” as Bill Maher likes to say, will forget to vote? Gawd save us!

  4. JD Dallager Says:

    I sorta like Thor Heyerdahl’s take on progress: “Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.”

    Nice Birks there too, PO’G!! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hah. That’s a good one, for sure. “Complicated simplicity.” I like it. I’m stealing it.

      I love me some Birks. Ordinarily I only wear ’em around the house, but my feet were killing me after pounding the concrete around Interbike. Like Huck Finn I just couldn’t wait to pull off my shoes.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      I’m stealing that one too. “Simplicity, patience, and compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” Tao te Ching, translation by Stephen Mitchell How do you solve complex problems? First simplify them into parts. Then solve each part.

  5. md anderson Says:

    Well if you’d just checked with me I could’a told ya to avoid 89 to Sedona, especially on the weekend. If you were coming from I-40 at Flagstaff the much faster way is south on 17 to the Oak Creek exit then backtrack north thru Oak Creek. Whenever we are there we stay in Oak Creek. Much quieter, much saner, much less traffic. There’s a cute little hotel with both standard rooms and A frame cabins right on the edge of town and the mountain bike trails start right from their back gate. Pool, fire-pit and they have free s’more fixings every night. I’m not making the name public so’s the rubes won’t find out.

  6. Stephen Newhall Says:

    Patrick, better than trying to stay in Flagstaff. Drove around for an hour trying to find a place with a room on a bike shop budget, and finally realized it was “Parents” weekend at NAU, and drove on to Holbrook, and found a $40 room that was clean and functional.

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