Thursday 4th September. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Meghan woke me early. There was a phone call for me. A young Belgian guy had seen my notice at the hostel and wanted a lift to Flagstaff with me. It was time to be on my way, so I farewelled Meghan, picked up Michael from the hostel and off we went. Michael had a couple of months in between completing university and commencing work, so is having a look around the States. He had planned to catch the Greyhound to Flagstaff until he saw my note. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up more passengers along the way to Dallas. Otherwise it'll be quite an expensive exercise as far as gas goes.
It would normally only be a four hour drive to Flagstaff but niether of us were in a rush. We stopped to take photos at Hoover Dam, and drove along secondary roads wherever possible; even the renowned Route 66 for a while. I was curious to see what the Grand Canyon Caverns were, so we stopped in there. So the lady behind the desk told us, it's the largest dry cavern in the country, but we both lost interest when she said it was twelve bucks to get in.
Most of the way, I drove with the windows closed and the air conditioning on. The Camry kept us informed of the changing conditions outside. As we left Las Vegas, it was over a hundred degrees, but it was cooler the further we drove. On a couple of occasions, we drove through heavy showers and I noticed the temperature drop by ten or fifteen degrees each time. After the rain stopped, the air stayed cool and by the time we reached Flagstaff, it was a brisk sixty degrees.
Michael got out at the hostel in Flagstaff. In fact there are two hostels in town, about a hundred metres from each other and with the same ownership, so I posted a notice in both places- "Ride offered to Phoenix, Tucson and on to Dallas". My host Erin wasn't home when I phoned, but her flatmates said it'd be cool for me to come over and wait for her. I met Dave, Tony, Ken, Travis, Jason, John and Chelsea... and it seems that Chelsea is the only one who actually lives there with Erin. Some of the others just seem to wake up on the girls' loungeroom floor quite often. Ken and Travis were the coolest, funniest gay couple I've ever met. One of the boys phoned Erin and told her that her guest was here. A few minutes later, she bounced in the door with a six pack of 'Sly Dog' or some such unusually named but very tasty beer. According to Erin's friends, she did have a 'good' job at the bank, but has quit that to go back to school studying photography. *when I say a 'good' job, I mean a crap job that you hate and that makes you miserable, but has good benefits and the pay is decent - the sort of job that too many people settle for* The group of us spent the next few hours eating pizza and drinking beer, swapping stories and being entertained by the strumming skills and dulcet tones of Johnny Wonder. By the way, Ken and Travis aren't gay *as far as I know* I just said that to freak them out!
Thursday night is quite a night in Flagstaff, so it seems. we headed into town around nine o'clock, and the place was really bustling. We browsed a few different bars, and the group fragmented a bit over the course of the evening, but most of us settled into one bar that had live music and two dollar drinks. I played the worst pool I've ever played, and wondered how I could possibly be getting consistently more useless every single time I play. After the bars closed at one o'clock, we followed directions to an after-party that turned out to be just a bunch of tired people sitting around. Just as I was wishing I'd gone home straight from the bar, Erin and Chelsea said they were ready to head home as well. Cool. When we got there, only two bodies were in the lounge, which left a sofa for me. Anyone who gets in later is on the floor!