April 15, 2021
Zero Day Again
I woke up around 5:00am and laid in bed until 6:00am. I could hear Ghosthiker sleeping and didn’t want to wake her, but by 6:00am I was feeling restless and ready to move. I quietly slipped out of the room and crossed the courtyard to the main building, where there was already strong coffee made and so many hikers sitting around chatting. Ghosthiker arrived shortly after I did and we met several new hikers, then Hi-Ho and Fireworm arrived and we chatted with them as well. They gave us their old sit pad and gossamer gear mat, which was really nice of them, and soon Joe Dirt and Sonic arrived as well. Turns out, they’re staying in a room across the courtyard from us! I love spontaneous thru-hiker gatherings so much.
When Tweety arrived, we went into town to get breakfast, where we met up with Bass at Tourist Home Cafe. Then some of us decided to walk over to a local Juice Bar to get some healthy cleansing juices (and maybe cookies, lol), then we went back to our respective rooms. Bass didn’t have a room yet and was dead on his feet, so he dozed on and off in our room while we hung out. Joe dirt arrived and the four of us spent time chatting and showing each other photos of our respective travel trailers that we live in while we’re not hiking, as well as our dogs and other fun things. The guys left after a bit and I went to the front desk to find out if there had been any cancellations on Saturday night (to accomodate our rapidly changing schedule) but no luck.
I was feeling restless again and decided to walk over to The Kids’ room to see if anyone wanted to walk into town to a little place called the Hoot Mart for some snacks, and Tweety jumped up to come with me. I haven’t really had a chance to hang out with her much without the others, so it was nice to chat. Afterward, I sat out in the courtyard at the motel eating ice cream and touching base with some friends and family on the phone. Then a met a young hiker named Dani who works for a research team in Alaska locating habitats of bats infected with White Nose, which I found really fascinating. I’ve read about it, so it was really interesting to talk to someone who’s part of a research team.
I don’t really remember what I did after that. Zero days are so great. Especially after two, my feet feel fantastic. I hope it lasts.
Later, around 4:30pm, Ghosthiker and I walked down to the Hoot Mart again. I thought this place sounded like a joke but it’s honestly one of the best little convenience stores, and so close to where we’re staying! Lots of good trail snack options, and not just your typical candy bars and pop-tarts. A lot of the stuff was GMO-free, organic, and/or gluten-free! On our way there we saw Hi-Ho, Fireworm, and two other hikers at the Lumberyard. We made plans to all meet up later at Sosoba. I’d been excited about going to an authentic Japanese restaurant ever since I found out Flagstaff had one. I’ve made Katsudon at home a couple times, and I want to compare what I make to what professionals make. Since I won’t be going to Japan anytime soon, finding a good Japanese restaurant in a big city will just have to do.
On our way to Sosoba after the Hoot Mart we sent texts and Facebook messages to the other hikers who we knew wanted to join us for dinner, namely The Kids and Bass.
Here’s where we had another interesting encounter with mask mandates (again, just so we’re clear, Ghosthiker and I have always been more than willing to mask up when asked). There were no signs on the doors or windows asking us to wear masks but we had them with us, just in case. It’s hard to know what businesses want you to wear them or not, now that they’ve lifted the mandate state-wide. We walked in and were greeted by a really friendly hostess, who chatted with us for a bit about available tables for our expected group, and then she kindly reminded us to be sure to wear our masks whenever we had to get up and move around the restaurant.
Here’s where it got confusing. She chatted with us near the entrance and then led us to a big table, talking all the while, before she asked us to wear our masks. We were like, “Okay, that’s no problem. We’ll just go ahead and sit down now.”
Our hostess looked at us as we were turning to sit down and said, “That’s fine, but you still need to wear your masks.”
We stopped because we weren’t sure what she meant or what we needed to do. “While we’re sitting?” I asked, confused.
“No, while you’re up and about.” She said.
“Okay, cool. Well, we’re gonna go ahead and sit down then-“
“Yes, but right now you’re standing.” She said, flatly.
Ghosthiker and I were both seriously confused, feeling like maybe we were missing something, but rather than prolong this awkward standoff we just covered our mouths with our masks for the two seconds it took us to take our seats.
Once the hostess left, Ghosthiker and I were both kind of like, “Um, what the heck was that all about?”
But wait, there’s more.
To keep germ-spreading to a minimum, a lot of restaurants have started using digital menus, which is cool. There’s usually a sticker on the table you can scan to pull up the menu on your phone. However, my phone was having trouble getting the website to pop up. The hostess saw me struggling and came over to offer assistance, which was great, but instead of telling me what to do, she reached over and touched my phone screen. With her bare hands. Without asking. Now, I’m not a germaphobe, but that’s seriously not okay. I don’t know when the last time was that she washed her hands, and I sure as hell don’t know when the last time was that I sanitized my phone because I’m the only one who touches it. Seriously, in my opinion, it’s like touching someone’s glasses or underwear without their permission. You just don’t do it.
Other than those two incidents, our hostess was actually really nice, as was our server. The food was not authentic but some type of Asian-fusion, which, while unexpected, was still absolutely delicious. Despite the weird double standards with the masks and touching things, we were glad we stayed. Other hikers trickled in pretty quickly, including a few we’d never even met before, and soon our party of 6 became a party of 14! We apologized profusely to our server for the expanded group, saying we could split into separate tables if necessary, but they said it was totally fine. At one point I got Cameron’s attention and asked who that hiker was sitting next to him, and he just smiled and shrugged. He had no idea! It was hilarious! Hikers tend to recognize other hikers instantly in town, so for all we knew, a few had spotted us and randomly decided to join our table! It was a lot of fun.