Build day in Cottonwood, AZ
This morning I woke up feeling so refreshed after sleeping in a comfortable bed all night! It was amazing. We woke up in time to walk and see the sun rise over the red rocks at 5:45 and then go to meditation at 6:00. It was such a peaceful morning. While we were walking to meditation from the sunrise we saw hot air balloons off on the horizon!
After a DELICIOUS breakfast at Mago, we set off for our build day with the Verde valley Habitat. I forgot to mention that Mago is a meat free establishment so every meal so far has been vegetarian, and often times vegan as well. Everything has been absolutely delicious though! This trip has really inspired me to try to be vegetarian every other day in my real life for both health and other reasons. But back to the build day, we finally got to use a paint sprayer! The houses they build in Verde Valley are all stucco on the outside so we sprayed both the exterior walls and the eaves with paint. It was actually kind of exhilarating to paint this way and it got the job done so much faster than it takes us with rollers and paintbrushes. The funny part about the sprayer was that the wind usually carried quite a bit back in your face so lots of people had a slight pink or slight brown tinge to them.
We got the work we needed to get done fairly quickly and headed over to a country club for lunch and presentations by both our group and the Habitat. It was amazing to see how excited they were to have us there and working for them. This is a Habitat chapter that I would love to come back and volunteer at again some time in the future. Also at the lunch we got to meet the homeowners of the house we painted. They were a wonderful and deserving couple, and Karla actually sang us a song! She had an amazing voice and it just blew all of us away. I wasn't expecting to meet so many great people along the way on this trip! Following a hearty lunch of vegan sandwiches (so good!) we headed out as a group to go explore a town called Jerome. Jerome was once a bustling coal mining town nestled into the side of a mountain, but when the industry dried up it turned into a ghost town. Recently it has been built back up to be a tourist town where you can go on ghost tours and simply enjoy the views of the valley. We spent a few hours there exploring the shops and the town.
Getting back to Mago, we ate another delicious meal and said our final goodbyes to the Habitat staff. They were truly wonderful throughout our stay in Cottonwood--definitely my favorite team so far. As a goodbye, Lori, the volunteer coordinator for Habitat, gave us all lottery tickets. Unfortunately none of us got better than two matching numbers, but it represented that we were worth more than a million dollars to them. A large group of us went to yoga that night as well, which was a real trip. There was more shaking and jumping around in this yoga class then I have ever done before. My muscles were getting tired! Afterwards though I felt great and just like the night before, went outside and star gazed. Mago was such an amazing place to stay and I feel incredibly lucky to be here and on this trip. We are the first Bike & Build group to ever stay at Mago, and I hope that other groups in the future are as lucky as us. Tomorrow is going to be a late morning because it takes about 25 minutes just to make it to the end of the driveway here, breakfast doesn't start until 6:45, AND our bikes are at the Habitat.