Last summer we found ourselves at the house where our Nepalese friends live to celebrate Naresh having earned his US citizenship. A few years ago I told his brother Ramesh about the tandoor oven I made in our back yard, so he showed me his tandoor and let me try my hand at making naan in it. I burned all of the hair off of my arm, but my bread came out great. Since then my hair has grown back and we’ve become friends with the whole family. The evening at the Poudels’ house was one of the more memorable evenings in recent memory. Our faces were sore from laughing, Karan showed us why the Punjab are the best dancers, Ramesh’s daughter Priana danced to the theme song from the only Bollywood film I’ve ever seen, we drank, and somehow Sheena and I were tricked into mimicking Karan’s Punjabi dance moves. In doing so we made them understand why white people should never ever try to dance to Indian music.
On Thursday night we went to the Himalayan Grill, the restaurant owned and operated by the Poudel family, for the last time. They’re not an easy bunch to say goodbye to, but their kindness and generosity makes us hell bent on getting to Nepal in Nacho. Until then, I’ll work on perfecting my Nepalese curry in our Dutch oven.
Last night Sheena and I were up until one in the morning cleaning the Dollhouse and collecting materials to bring with us to Phoenix for all of next week’s van projects. At the end of the night we sat in the middle of the floor and celebrated our completion by eating leftover cake from my company’s Christmas party.
A couple of nights ago our good friend Nate stopped by the Dollhouse. You may recognize Nate as the man behind the curtain over at Handlebar Sandwich. He’s an engineer and avid outdoorsman, but if this guy will be known for one thing 100 years from now, it will be for his unbelievable skill as a beer brewer. Last year he brewed an Oak Aged Belgian Tripel that knocked my socks off. A couple of months ago he produced a Coffee Vanilla Stout that still haunts Sheena in her dreams, and makes her voice rise by an octave whenever she talks about it. On this visit to the Dollhouse he was slinging his latest brew, World Wide Quadrupel. It’s a special brew just in time for our trip, made in my favorite style, the Belgian Quadrupel. If this guy ever opens up a commercial brewery, do whatever you have to do to get your hands on his stuff. These will be done bottle conditioning in January, so watch for a review.
He dropped off six 750ml bottles, and six 330ml bottles. We decided to convert Nacho’s toilet paper storage cabinet into a beer storage cabinet until it’s gone. Priorities.
This morning we woke up in the guest bedroom at Bret and Brigit’s house. We cooked a breakfast of pancakes as fuel for the road. All four of us were leaving on road trips; they were headed to Salt Lake City for Christmas, we would be going a little farther. It just felt like another day.
After loading up the van and our other car, we hit the road. As we rolled out of town I hit the button on our GPS tracker and added the first point to our live trip map (link coming soon). Goodbye to Flagstaff. It’s not an easy place to leave.
The last task for the day was to sell our car. Amid the sadness of leaving Flagstaff, we found some solace in knowing that our car would remain in good hands back home. The buyer was none other than the mayor of Flagstaff. She promised to use the car only for good and not for evil, and as Nacho’s little sister, decided that a fitting name would be “The Little Enchilada”. The mayor of Chicago would never say that. The mayor of San Diego would never say that either. The people of Flagstaff are a special bunch.
That night last summer at the Poudels’ house, Naresh told us that it’s people like us that make Flagstaff great. We figured he was drunk or mistook us for some other people, but now that we’ve left town, I’ve been thinking more about his words. Reflecting on our 10 years in Flagstaff, I’ve come to realize that the quality of our lives is not a result of the place where we live, but of the friends we make while we live there. Thanks to all of our friends for making our lives so rich.