Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our Second Favorite Hole, or Travel Day #6

Animals: Mountain Bluebird, Scrub Jay, Nuthatch, Mule Deer

Quotes: “That’s like drinking bad breath”

“A plaque of grasshoppers.”

“I think we’ve zeroed in on heaven.”

SIARPC: Bloody Hatchett (the comedian not the band)

John got us a late check out time at the delightful Valley Ho so it was time to take our rest with the people whose voices sound like money, inexhaustibly charming and rising and falling like a cymbal song. I went to the fitness center and watched, “My Cousin Vinny” while coming to a decision. I was going to get a fancy-pants-less massage. That’s what credit cards are for and besides they were running a mid-week deal. I ran down and got in the pool for a few minutes because it looked like a mirage and found John, Lisa, and Rene’ already floating. I think all pools should be salt water. They’re delightful. After three weeks of sitting in a van, interspersed with lots of jumping up and down and carrying stuff, the massage was divine. I tell you what, I’m not really capable of doing the things that create fiscal wealth, nor do I have a particularly strong desire for stuff, but there appear to be some advantages to being rich. Besides the obvious advantage of having all worrisome moles monitored and air conditioning in ones car, their water tastes either like lemons or cucumbers, their robes are so heavy they feel like a compression vest, and day drinking is elevated to an eternal cocktail hour of the soul.

Regardless, I felt as relaxed as I had on the entire tour, excepting of course the warm and fuzzies following the taking of the waters outside of Butte.

No show tonight. We just have to be in Denver by tomorrow, and it just so happens the Grand Canyon is on the way. Of course in this part of the country “on the way” takes on a completely different meaning. We didn’t even make it to the actual park until about a half hour before sunset. The upside is that the canyon looked as if it was lit from within, the reds and oranges becoming indistinguishable from the rocks. We were on the south rim and I can’t remember what the north rim looked like from my youth, but it’s hard to imagine it can surpass the views here. Of course there were a lot of people there, but just as in San Francisco the English language was only one small part of the canyon’s polyglot. At first all the voices seemed jarring in such a place and I actually gave a thought to what it means if the Grand Canyon is incapable of moving you. Then I went to a little spot off the path and sat until the stillness of the place slowed down my heart enough to hear it. I walked along the edge until I got to a spot where I found Lisa and Rene’ and we stopped to watch the sun set. By the time we got back to everyone else the stillness had grown until it became like a physical thing that nothing could disrupt or destroy. Kind of like Wonder Woman’s plane. You know, technically invisible but kind of shimmery so you know it’s there. Chuck had been ready to go for an hour and we all began to realize that we had once again given ourselves a difficult black as late night drive. This time however we were a long ways from anywhere. We decided to make it to Albuquerque so we wouldn’t have to deal with the mountains at night. It was a long slow drive. We crossed into New Mexico and around Gallup were assaulted by a smell that was horrifying. Not a livestock smell, which is also punishing, but more of a gassy smell. Shortly after that faded we stopped at a gas station where I immediately noticed mostly mashed desert-brown grasshoppers littering the ground. Oh but then I looked up. They were everywhere. Flying around like their little hive mind had just gotten to the word “apocalypse” in the dictionary. The store had these 4-foot rag dolls that Chuck scared the shit out of Lisa by having one jump out at her from around a corner. John walked around announcing in a mechanical voice, “Driver 47 shower three is now available,” even though there were no showers. Lisa noticed that the audiobooks bore the slogan, “Like Movies for Your Mind!” which means I think that there is no hope for humanity.

We didn’t get in to Albuquerque until 5 in the morning because we lost an hour coming back into Mountain Time. Chuck walked into the room, dropped his bags and said, “There’s no way I’m sleeping here. It’s too damn small. I’m sleeping in the van.” Then left. We all settled into a twitchy silence when the fucking room starts vibrating like a giant had inserted a quarter into the roof of this janky hotel to start the world’s biggest 1,000 fingers machine. We all just started laughing because what else can you do? And it continued to happen periodically throughout the night. Turns out our room backed right up against the laundry room and our wall was next to the hotels huge laundry machine.

Tomorrow is Denver.

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