Saturday, January 12, 2008

red dirt vacation

So we're out in Flagstaff, AZ, having a weekend's respite from the Big Apple with Denise + Steve (and Cody, Sally, Susie and Gus, their dogs and cats). And it's been awesome to be out in the clean air and big, bold horizons of the Southwest.

We got in Friday evening and drove up to Flag from Phoenix. Today was spent down in Sedona hiking while Steve arm-biked. (The recent snowstorms in Flag, as documented on Denise's blog, while great for skiing, essentially keep Steve at home or in his shop building custom bike-frames.) It was really great to see Steve get himself up and around on his crutches and leg-brace; I will admit I had gotten used to having him at waist-height in his chair -- and so to be able to talk to him standing up was just a great reminder of how far he has brought himself. This was the first time Meg and I had seen Steve in action on his arm-bike and, holy crap, was he impressive.

I have no qualms about admitting that while I will walk all day behind our dogs chasing birds, city life has made me an aerobic sloth. And if you put me on a mountain bike now, I'd be falling off stuff left, right, and center. Steve does have a pretty sweet handbike, but it has to weigh 40lbs. As you can see from the pics, his bike may have a shorter wheelbase than a regular bike, but it's now wider than his shoulders. And while he has some pretty awesome gearing on there, too, he's still relying on his shoulders and arms (which on most folks are nowhere near as powerful as the big leg muscles).

I could probably have done the ride on a regular bike without humiliating myself horribly, but... So, in short, watching Steve slog, bully, and finesse him and his bike over all kinds of steps, shelves, boulders and loose red shale was pretty amazing.

I'll try and post some more pics and video tomorrow.

My other highlight was stalking a Gambel's quail through the brush for a few hundred yards. I haven't seen one before, and having just read Joe Augustine's book with all his adventures chasing the western quails, I was psyched to see one out here and recognize it from its distinctive top-knot.


Dan & Margaret said...

We'll be in New Mexico in about 72 hours.. (leaving TX Monday AM). Too bad you're flying or you could drive over and we'd show you how the fast dogs hunt. ;)

Andrew Campbell said...

Must be nice having dogs that do all the work for you! Next thing you know you'll be driving your RV all over the country, thinking that's work, too!

Just jealous. And I would love to see some long-dogs run. I dog-sat an Irish wolfhound for a week once, and had a spot I could turn him out to let him run. I felt quite a bit lower on the food-chain and grateful that Madigan was the sweetest thing.


redgirls-in-scotland said...

We have just had a text from Momo and Jozsi and they are missing you terribly and do not understand how you can be having such a good time without them. We here are now a bit worried cos our mum has said she likes the idea of a boot camp for red miscreants.

Andrew Campbell said...

Red-girls: well, just to clarify, our boys aren't miscreants. Think of this as The School for Gifted Youngsters. They're really just bird-nerds. And if we implied we were having fun in the desert, that's a vicious rumor.

We did spend the weekend looking at pictures of the boys and missing them a lot. We're going to see them in two weeks.