Farewell Flagstaff

As I begin this blog I am beginning Episode IV of my life. Mostly because one of the most successful stories of all time began with Episode IV, thereby skipping over Jar Jar Binks and young Anakin. While meaningful, I do not need to recount my childhood in Flagstaff, Arizona (Episode I), college career at Birmingham-Southern in Alabama (Episode II), or return to Flagstaff (Episode III).  Instead, like Star Wars, I begin with a new hope, a move to Missoula, Montana. But first, a farewell to Flagstaff.

Gavin's and my snow forts grew as we did
Flagstaff has been my home for 22 years. As I grew from a wee lad building forts in the forest and snow to a taller lad exploring the trails and building bigger snow forts, the city has always been a wonderful place to live. The outdoor sports aside, I love driving along Thorpe Road and seeing multiple groups of people out frisbee golfing and stands full for four adult softball games, despite the springtime snowstorm moving in. It is great going into a grocery store and not only emerging a half hour later with the targeted gallon of milk, but also plans for that night and a run the next morning because you ran into three different friends in the store. Even the fickle weather makes Flagstaff great. Where else can you mountain bike in the morning and ski in the afternoon, on the same trail in May?

What really makes Flagstaff great though is the strength of the community. When I was little Flagstaff was a mountain town and is now a busy small city. Despite adding larger box stores and thousands of transplants from the cities-that-shall-not-be-named down the hill, Flagstaff been able to maintain the small town community strength. Downtown businesses regularly band together for promotional and fun events. There are still free walking tours, library events, and pet days in downtown Flagstaff. The ever-expanding running community is always welcoming new people while putting on great races and social events. And the biking community is still organizing trail cleanup/building days all while continuously fighting to keep local trails out from under the developer's shovel.

There is so much good in Flagstaff. As Vince, the owner of Run Flagstaff and my previous employer, liked to remind me, there are not many reasons to leave town. Sara and I both have great friends and family in the Flagstaff area. We love the access to outdoor sports. NAU is a great option for Sara to continue her education. And the multiple breweries are always coming out with a great new seasonal. Yet, it is time to move on. We both moved back to Flagstaff after college with the intention of only staying a year or so. "Or so" has turned into four and we feel the need for another chapter.

Which, leads me to Episode IV. I am moving to Missoula, MT with my fiancee, Sara, and our two gorgeous and goofy dogs (one gorgeous, one goofy). I will be working for a company call The Cycling House and Sara will be finishing some prerequisites before applying to Physical Therapy School in the next few years, as well as doing a lot of the legwork for our small apparel company, Sea Level Sucks. We will have a lot going on in our new home and many mountains and trails to explore. But without the first few chapters in Flagstaff, much of what we have to look forward to now would not be possible. I bid a fond adieu to friends and family that supported me and the community that nurtured me through two chapters of my life.