Linda and I have officially slipped into Arizona adjustment mode. It happened on the final leg of our trip to Fountain Hills.
We were cruising along Interstate 40 just outside of Holbrook, when we spotted, what appeared to be, a skinny German shepherd dog prancing alongside the highway. “Look,” she said, “ a Ky-OAT-ee!” That’s right Ky-OAT-ee..not Ky-Oat like the Lord and most Midwesterners know to be the correct pronunciation. But, when in Rome, you know.
Our trip was, thankfully, uneventful and, aside from gale-force winds in Colorado and New Mexico, Big Red, our well-traveled Lincoln, did just fine aside from inhaling lots of expensive fuel which is the price you pay for all those Town Car amenities. The timing of our gas stops was not good either. For example, I had just filled up near Pueblo, Colorado for the ridiculously high amount of $3.49 a gallon only to drive 50 miles farther down the road to see it for sale at $2.82. Sixty Cents difference? It is quite literally highway robbery taking place out there and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it aside from staying home or trading down to a bare bones vehicle that gets 35 miles to the gallon but offers none of the things that make motoring enjoyable like heated seats to keep my tootsie’s tushey toasty on those frosty mornings. We spent New Year’s eve at the Gallup, New Mexico Rodeway Inn. After nearly 11 hours on the road we were ready to stop. I’d made the reservation on-line the night before and thought 50 bucks was a good price considering the 85 I’d spent at the Comfort Inn our first night out. I always figured from a quality level Roadway Inns were right up there but when we pulled in, my first instinct was to pull right out again.
The place just looked run down but we were too tired to find someplace else so chose to take our chances. Once again, the English language was foreign to those behind the desk which makes no sense at all if you’re in a business that requires a certain amount of communication. After a few times of me saying “huh?..What?..say again? My reservation was confirmed. They didn’t bother with reservation forms to fill out; the guy just ran my card and gave me a key. The parking lot was filled with pot holes deep enough to swallow up smaller vehicles but we made it to our room which was illuminated on the outside by a million candle power fluorescent light over the front door. After opening said front door we were nearly overcome by a blast of fumes from Bon Ami or some other powerful cleansers you see advertised on late night infomercials by guys with thick British accents or bearded dead guys. “Well, it smells clean,” Linda said as she is wont to do with her “make the best of it” attitude. Then she nervously tip toed into the bathroom to inspect the floor, shower and toilet. Of course the TV and internet didn’t work so I had to have another conversation with the owner who put down his curry long enough to holler for his teenage son to visit our room and fix the problems. The boy was very nice and got both functioning properly within a few seconds. We were both hungry but, rather than go out, decided to fill a couple Red Solo Cups with vodka and coke and have a party. (Heard that Toby Keith novelty song about a dozen times on the car radio coming down here.)
We dined on a couple remaining ham sandwiches Linda had packed for the trip..then toasted in the New Year early at 8:30 PM. Our cups were still about half full when we both fell asleep in front of the TV and were deep into REM sleep when I was startled from my slumber by the sound of bombs exploding along with yelling and laughter from men, women and children outside the concrete bunker that was our room. The next thing I saw was the tragic figure of Dick Clark on TV ushering in 2012 from Times Square. I thought about waking Linda up for a little New Year’s smooch but concluded she’d probably much prefer to let the next few hours pass in an unconscious state. As we were vacating our noisy nest that morning, some of the other guests were just arriving to their rooms in various states of inebriation from a night of reveling with booze and fireworks along this famous stretch of Route 66.
We were only too happy to be galloping out of Gallup aboard Big Red; back on the dusty trail..only perhaps not quite as dusty as our overnight campsite. HeeAww.