I think it’s reasonable that I was in no hurry to leave camp this morning. After all, I knew I was only a few hours from town and there would be plenty of time to get done what needed doing. On top of that, the canyon walls kept me in the shade until well after sunrise. It was 8am before I hiked out, continuing to follow the old road bed until I came near an easy place to climb up to the new road.
Somewhere between where I left it the previous night and where I rejoined it this morning, it had switched from gravel to paved. Ick. At least the traffic remained pretty light. I wondered if I shouldn’t have stayed on the cow track on the old road even though it was on the sunny side of the canyon and went through private property.
Not that there was much shade on the side of the new road. The canyon walls were getting shorter and shorter–or else I was rising to meet them. Regardless, as soon as the city came into sight–and sound–I called Mama. We had business to discuss and I needed distraction from the heat as I walked a paved road through a neighborhood on the outskirts of Grants for nearly five miles.
We had it somewhat worked out by the time I reached the bridge over the interstate and turned onto Route 66, so I hung up and crossed the road to get lunch at a Mexican eatery, the kind obviously adapted from a fast food place. I had a chicken fajita (which only came with one tortilla for some reason, but there was avocado so who could mind) and a couple of A&Ws because the Barqs I had had at Ice Cave just left me wanting–nothing is as good as A&W. But the real star of the show was the life-changing Cucumber Lime Agua Fresca I got to go.
It was actually interesting to walk through downtown Grants. It’s a very neat town for having peaked in the 60s and been on the decline since the arrival of the interstate made Route 66 redundant and all the mining operations shut down. It seems very likely to become the next Moab given a couple of decades.
I found my way to the Lava Flow Hostel, where I had booked a room while in Pie Town. There was no front desk–it worked like an AirBnB (and is listed there too). You can walk right in using the door code you’re emailed. My room in the back cottage was ready when I arrived.
And Banshee was in the shower. In the only bathroom. Which I desperately needed. Thank goodness he was quick about it.
Anyway, after I got a shower of my own, I got my dirty laundry together and went up to the dorm house to put it in. Banshee was in there watching TV and waiting on the linens in the washer. He indicated he intended to hike out that very afternoon since he’d already been there a couple of days. I asked him to drop my stuff in the washer when his was done and headed off to the grocery store to buy party foods on one of the loaner bikes.
I got a ton of stuff. Lots of drinks. Chips and dip. Cheese sticks and cookies and pastries and a ton of fresh fruit. And somehow I managed to get it all in my small daypack and the basket of the bike.
When I returned, Banshee was hanging the linens on the drying line, so I got him to have some dip and a bit of watermelon before he walked out and told him I’d take in the wash. Then I settled down in the living room to catch up with friends online.
I brought in the linens for the room Banshee stayed in, but the one wash hadn’t really gotten my clothes as clean as I wanted. I threw in a couple of different kinds of detergent and set the washer for a more intense cycle, then went back to my room.
While passing an hour on YouTube, Ranger Ross, the proprietor, returned in his ranger uniform. I introduced myself and soon went out to hang up my wash. He was doing all kinds of maintenance on the cottage the whole time. He disassembled, repaired, and deep cleaned the stove. Later, he painted labels on the doors of the guest rooms. He probably did a ton of other stuff, all while drinking Diet Coke with ice from an enormous glass he carried to every work location. For most of the evening, I was working on stuff for my blog on the cottage desktop computer while he was working nearby, telling me interesting stuff about the area. Super nice guy with some sharp thoughts.
It was well after 9 by the time I got all my blog posts scheduled and I could go to bed knowing I was free and clear the next day to just hang out and explore anything interesting the town had to offer. Or even just lie around and do nothing for hours. So I went to bed, leaving Ross to keep working out in the common area.
Speaking of the next day, there will be no hiking happening for the next two days, so no normal posts either. There will still be posts, but it won’t be this sort of post. I’ll cover the highlights of the next three days… three days from now.
Trail miles: 6.2