Day 36:

What is hiker town? Is it a place to stay, or is it a place to look at? It is a place that left us confused and unable to answer any question about what it is.

As we walked up to this conglomerate of buildings on the floor of the desert valley, I didn’t know what to make of the arrangement. I asked around at other hikers who sat on the floor or kept talking to each other, everyone a bit confused as to what to do next. The owners of this parcel of land have created a façade old city of the west, in which several tiny buildings made up a cartoonIsh Front for a bunch of rundown… Hotel rooms?

We were told we could enter any one of them, and if it was free we could sleep there for the night for a mere $10. The question is whether it was worth the $10. For my opinion, I think it was worth the price of admission just for the storytelling. I decided to sleep indoors, though many chose to camp for free on the concrete floor of the garage, or on the grass ( if you could call it that) in front of the house. I wandered through the sheds, noting that each was uniquely detailed, but interiors had nothing to do with the exterior labeling. An initial poke into the feed store showed an open space filled with cat scratching posts and several long haired but very pleasant house cats. I shut the door, knowing I would be finding a different room. I examined the jail, the general store, the school house, the doctors office, the post office, and several other small rooms before I settled on what I thought had the most to offer.

The space I chose, the sheriffs office, seemed the best equipped. There was a kitchenette with a pen and a burner. There was a couch that seemed to be a pull out, and another long enough for a short person to sleep on. But best, there was a bathroom with a shower. I found the proprietor and said I’d like to take the sheriffs room for the night, although it seemed it needed a bit of cleaning, since there were dirty dishes in the sink, towels and sheets on the couch, and I don’t think it had been vacuumed in weeks. He said “sure I’ll just clean it up real quick.“ When I came back to the room, laying down my belongings on the floor Still on vacuumed, I noticed that the burner end of the dishes have been removed from the kitchen it, making it useless for cooking. The proprietor then told me also that the bathroom was not functional, or at least to say that the toilet was not functional. The shower did work, so I took advantage of that, as did several of my friends. Later we discovered that the faucet had a night like that turned on when the room was dark, making for the only lighting in the room. The toilet did not work, however if we went out side, around to the back of the building, and found another door with no knob, inside was a toilet that worked. Meanwhile, in this bathroom the faucet had not been installed though there was a gorgeous granite counter for it. Go figure.

Decorations on the walls included a poster of Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, The Lost Boys, and a farmer couple painted in oil. Hmmm…  Lighting came from exclusively one upright lamp plugged into what turned out to be the only electricity in the room: a short extension cord with three plugs. The five of us that spent the night in this room crowded our phones into these few Opportunities for charging.

The owners offered us a ride to the store, where we could buy food for resupply, a meal on the spot, or food to take home and cook in the equally unequipped kitchen in the common area of the garage. It became clear that they own the store as well, so they encouraged us to go there to purchase more items. They got overwhelmed however, and instead gave us the keys to drive ourselves to the store. This gave us a chance to let Canon, our Swedish friend, drive a pick up truck for the first time in her life. We left the several miles down the highway to the store, waving mannequin hands and legs around the cab of the truck, inventing stories as to their reason and origin.

At the store, we bought beer, ice cream, and a burrito the size of your forearm. At least you can say we got our calories. We all left the next day still shaking our heads. In fact, we are all still shaking our heads and wonder as to “what is that place?“


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