Today, we left Grants for Albuquerque, beginning the first day of our week-long trail hiatus due to fire closures and a snowstorm in Colorado.
- There were lots of clouds out this morning, more so than I’d seen any prior day on trail. It was also rather cool. It’s like the weather knew we weren’t going to be hiking and instead taunted us.
- Stumblebee, Sprouts, and Lone Star (James) were giving haircuts. I opted not to get a haircut, but Stumblebee braided my beard.
- The Lava Flow hostel grounds also had a lot of sharp pokey burrs from various plants on the property, necessitating picking them out of your shoes when you entered the buildings, lest the floors would have sharp pokey things on them.
- I made a run to a nearby gas station to get a light lunch; a soda, a sausage on a stick, and a small tub of ice cream.
- The mood at the hostel was very low-key, and rather energy-draining. I suspect it’s because the fire closures and snowstorms are depressing everyone to an extent.
- Simple had us sign his hat, because why not?
- Around 2:30, we left the hostel to get lunch. Today is probably the last time for a while that the six of us (Simple, Dog Bite, Plus One, Mr. Freeze, Patches, and myself) will all be in the same place.
- Simple broke off and checked back in to the Days Inn. The rest of us met Kyra and Kiernan at the Junkyard on 66 Brewery. Built in a former auto junkyard, the place had rather distinctive decor. The bar is located in the warehouse of an old junkyard. The largest room, containing their brewing setup, features a few antique cars and tables made from car hoods. Old motors and car parts lined one of the walls, giving the place a distinctive smell, as well.
- There was also a pool table. Patches and I played against two other hikers; we weren’t doing so well, but then won when the other team scratched sinking the 8-ball.
When we finished, we walked back to the Days Inn, and joined Simple in his room.
Later, Plus One, Mr. Freeze, and I went to the nearby Taco Bell and Dairy Queen to get dinner. The interior of the Taco Bell was closed due to insufficient staff, so we had to walk through the drive-through, which required us to wait for another car to come up and trip the sensor so that the workers knew there was someone there wanting to make an order.
At 7:30, we bid farewell to Simple, and walked to the nearby gas station, which also served as the Greyhound “station”. Two other hikers, who had been at the brewery, joined us.
Our 8 pm bus was over an hour late, as a result of being delayed in Flagstaff, AZ waiting for connections, and again after leaving Gallup, NM as a result of an accident on the road. Due to the delay, the bus made a short and unscheduled layover, and most passengers got off the bus to go into the gas station’s store.
With the five of us getting on the bus, the bus was completely full. After initially not letting us sit in the front-row seats (reserved for handicapped passengers), he allowed us to take those seats once everyone else re-boarded and it was clear those seats needed to be used. The driver had to reprimand one passenger for storing his luggage in the seat next to him after previously telling him that wouldn’t be acceptible, and moved the luggage to the overhead bins. (I had to sit next to him.) The woman in front of me had a baby and two young children; she’d apparently only purchased three seats, and when she was told she’d have to put one of the children on her lap, refused to let anyone sit next to her children (who also looked absolutely terrified of the whole situation). A passenger in a wheelchair took up two seats, rather than one, which left us with a two seat deficit. This ultimately got resolved by Patches and two others sitting three-abreast across two seats, and Mr. Freeze sitting in the aisle.
The ride for me was fairly uneventful, but Dog Bite was sitting next to a rather strange fellow who (among other things) kept asking Dog Bite where he kept his money, and was generally pretty creepy. Once we reached Albuquerque, Dog Bite was in a hurry to get as far away as quickly as possible.
As windy as it had been in Grants yesterday and today, it was even windier in Albuquerque.
After 11 pm, we arrived at our hotel, to find that it had no power, the windstorm must have knocked down some power lines. We were only able to get a room key because Dog Bite had accidentally selected “early checkin”, so they had pre-made the key cards. If he hadn’t, then if we ever left the room, we’d have had to have been escorted up by someone at the front desk with a master key card.