Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 41: The Flagstaff Resupply

Smoke from the Slide Fire continued to blow over Flagstaff.
I took this photo facing west (towards downtown Flagstaff)
on my way from Safeway at Flagstaff Mall.
May 23: When I checked the weather forecast for the upcoming week, I noticed a problem: There was rain in the forecast for the next three days. The chance of rain varied from 10% to 50% depending on the exact day and hour, and considering that I would now be heading towards the San Francisco Peaks, I figured the chances of rain would be even higher than it was in the city of Flagstaff. And it wasn't just rain in the forecast, but thunderstorms as well!

And.... I decided to take another zero day. I still had a lot of stuff online to catch up with anyhow and spent most of the day working on the Straw Hat and Atlas Quest websites.

I also did some grocery shopping and bought most of the food I would need for the rest of the Arizona Trail. Allegedly, there was a grocery store at the Grand Canyon that was a good place to resupply, but I suspected the Safeway in Flagstaff was even better (and probably cheaper) than the stuff at the Grand Canyon so I bought here. I could ship food ahead to myself at the Grand Canyon, though, so I wouldn't have to carry it the whole distance.

Additionally, I took a very good look at my shoes. I usually replace them every 500 to 700 miles and these shoes now had 600 miles on them and needed to go another 200 miles. If I needed to buy new shoes, Flagstaff was a good place to do it. For having 600 miles on them already, they were in remarkably good condition. I used the same kind of shoes on the Long Trail last year and threw them out at the end of the trail because they were in such bad shape--which was less than 300 miles. The lack of water, mud, rocks and roots on the trail seemed to preserve my shoes. My only complaint, which was minor, was that the inserts had worn paper thin and even had holes in some places. But I didn't need to buy an entirely new set of shoes just to replace the inserts--Safeway had shoe inserts for sale. So that's what I did. I'd buy new inserts and push my shoes to the end of the trail!

The forecasts for rain peaked in the afternoons so it made sense for me to start hiking as early in the morning as possible and as a result, I decided to walk to the post office late in the night and mail stuff ahead rather than wait until the morning. I had to mail my laptop ahead--I wanted to mail that to the end of the trail and it would be sent to Page, Arizona--the gateway off from the Arizona Trail. And half of my food would be mailed on ahead to the Grand Canyon--no reason for me to carry all that food for a hundred miles when I didn't have to!

I didn't get far, though, before I remember that I brought nothing to write with. How was I going to address my packages without something to write with? Argh. It was nearly 10:00 at night--I knew the post office wasn't going to be open and there probably wouldn't be any pens in the lobby to write with. I also didn't want to walk back to the hotel just to grab a pen.

But I spotted a CVS that was open nearby and popped my head in to buy a cheap, disposable pen. I looked through all of their pens and the very cheapest ones I could find was a pack of twenty for $1.99. I didn't want 20 freaking pens! I just needed one! But the ones sold individually were all fancy and cost even more than that.

Eventually, I bought the pack of 20 and continued on to the post office where I used the provided flat-rate priority mail boxes to mail my packages ahead with the self-service kiosk. Then I spread out all of the 20 pens I now had on a table for anyone who comes in to help themselves to. I didn't need them anymore--I already had a few pens at the hotel, after all.

Walking back to the hotel, I saw lightening flashing in the distance. It hadn't rained today--not yet, at least--but the rain looked immenent.

Prairie dog!
Back at the hotel, I decided to wash another load of clothes. I had been wearing my camp clothes and rain clothes around town which generally stay cleaner than my hiking clothes, but people tend to frown on me washing all of my clothes at once since that would require me being naked. So I'll switch into my "less dirty" clothes and wash the dirtiest ones. My hiking clothes were now clean, though, having been washed the day before. Which means I could wear those as I now wash the (usually) "less dirty" clothes.

I headed into the lobby of the hotel and asked the desk clerk for quarters and detergent like I did the day before, but this desk clerk was of no help at all.

"We're out of quarters."

"What do you mean you're out of quarters? You have laundry facilities here that require quarters, and you can't provide quarters?"

"Well, if you put a dollar in the vending machine in the hall then click the 'eject' button to get it back, it'll return the change to you in quarters. You can get quarters from that."

Seriously? I'm supposed to get quarters from a vending machine? Fine....

"Okay, I'll need detergent too."

"We're out of that."

What the hell is wrong with these people? You have laundry facilities that require quarters, and you can't provide detergent OR quarters for your machines?

"But you can get some at the convenience store on the other side of the Village Inn. They have travel-sized detergents available."

I felt like telling him that he should have run down there and bought some himself so it would be available at the front desk for anyone who asked about it. Doesn't he know anything about customer service? Heck, he should have run over there and asked if they could give him a roll of quarters for a $10 bill. I'm usually a pretty easy-going guy, but it shouldn't be hard to keep quarters and detergent stocked when you provide laundry facilities for your guests! And if he couldn't get away from the front desk to do it himself, to have another employee run down the street to get it.

More than a little annoyed, I went back to the vending machine in the hall and put in a dollar then immediately clicked the eject button at which point a Sacagawea dollar coin spilled out. ******! What the hell good was a one dollar coin going to do me for a machine that took quarters?! I wanted to go back into the lobby and slap the hell out of the desk clerk right then and there.

Instead, I walked over to the convenience store and found laundry detergent, although they came in packs of three when I really only needed one. I bought it and asked for change in quarters and was finally set to do laundry. When I paid with a one-dollar Sacagawea coin (along with other bills), the clerk noted that she didn't get those very often. "Don't get me started...."

Back at the hotel, I finally got the last of my laundry done then headed to sleep.

I took almost no photos today since I didn't really go anywhere except
the post office, grocery store, a convenience store, and a couple of
nearby restaurants for lunch and dinner. This little animal just off
the side of the sidewalk was the most interesting thing I saw all day. =)


Sue KuKu said...

They'd frown on you doing all your laundry and being naked? What about Naked Hiking Day?

Anonymous said...

Your shoes rock. I've been wearing that brand for years - Check out my Boundary Stones in a Day photos in my B.S. Album on FB. Cracked up when I saw the shoes in your photo an earlier post.