Santa Fe Loving, Unknown Murder and Kissing Strangers

Marilyn and I arrived in the Santa Fe by night, returning the rental car she'd driven from Colorado and used to scoop me up an hour earlier after I'd hitched to New Mexico from Memphis over the past couple days. We wound up in her swank hotel room downtown, the same hotel where her work conference was being held.

I spent the next day exploring the town in between pecking away on the computer for a new project I'd begun while Marilyn was at her conference. We went to the Blue Corn Brewery for dinner with a fellow nurse friend of hers, then headed over to the Marble Brewery for a beer there and some beers to take back to the hotel. The next day the three of us walked along the river up the canyon before checking out some more food and beer spots in town, revisiting Marble as well. Then again to Marble the next day before jaunting towards the edge of town to check out the one last brewery Santa Fe had to offer.

The last day of her conference was a short one, soon Marilyn was setting up a shuttle to get her down to her flight out of Albuquerque. I'd be heading the same way, for starters, but by thumb instead, Arizona on my mind. One last hug in the hang of the rainy day and we were off in our own ways.

Once I made it to the freeway I managed to catch a ride from a butcher heading most of the way to Albuquerque. I spent the rest of the days light walking on and along the highway to get to the westbound Interstate 40.

I grabbed a bite to eat, then headed back on to the 40. I walked and contemplated where I'd end up, since I was in the thick of the city where there was little in the way of trees, bushes or anywhere else I could hide away to sleep the night. Soon an answer came in the form of a local woman hip to my sort of situation, she took me a all the way to the west edge of the city where the desert dominates and a busy truck stop stands as the last major structure.

I first stood under the streetlight by the on ramp in hopes of catching an overnight truck further along, but soon decided to head into the truck stop itself and relax a bit. After that I headed back towards the ramp that overlooked lights of the city, then back behind into a dark hidden carved out area where I could sleep on the cold desert floor for the night undisturbed.

In the morning I walked down to the freeway and thumbed a ride from a guy who called himself  "Dirty Harry", an 82 year old who'd worked for the government in tech and built houses all his life. He told me plenty of stories about his life and family. The most interesting of which was how he'd murdered a guy who'd molested his grand daughter. Harry had taken the guy out on a boat (the guy didn't know Harry knew what he'd done), then he'd sunk the boat knowing that the guy was unable to swim. Apparently it all seemed like an accident and nothing ever came of it.

After he dropped me off I did quite a bit of walking until at last getting picked up by a friendly truck driver heading for California named Sammy. We chatted about all sorts of things and happily cruised along. We treated me to Golden Coral buffet along the way, a franchise he used to manage before he started driving trucks.

By night we reached Flagstaff where I hopped out and soon got scooped up by my friend in town, Keith. I spent the night and the next day relaxing, catching up and revisiting my favorite spots in town like Flag Brew.

The morning after I was ready to continue on to Phoenix. I walked to the freeway and caught a ride from a girl heading most of the way to Sedona, then quickly got a ride from a guy into Sedona itself. From the there I walked through town until a couple in a pickup truck let me hop in back. It was a great way to roll out of town and have an open air view of the red rocks shooting up and twisting around.

We paused in a parking lot when we stopped, they offered to buy me a beer at the bar saying they would be going a bit further after, I gladly accepted. They knew the bartender and a few other people inside, we chatted and drank down our pints for a bit before continuing on.

They dropped me off up the road by a gas station where I got a ride from a woman who took me as far as the turn off to Prescott. I walked down to the freeway from there. A cop stopped to check me out, he was pretty friendly and gave me a ride some miles further south. My last ride from there came from a Texas guitar player heading to Phoenix himself. He went out of his way just a bit to get me close to my friend Larry's house by a coffee shop. Soon Larry picked me up and we went out t dinner and back to his place.

Besides catching up with Larry, I'd come to Phoenix to make some progress on a travel site we'd started some years back. We were waiting on some other people and decisions to be made though, so instead of that site I spent the bulk of my coding time chipping away on another somewhat overlapping project I'd just started dealing with mapping friends locations based on all their various location data points from social networks and wherever else it could be pulled from (you can check it out at FriendCompass.com, but keep in mind it's very much untested, it works great for me, but maybe not for you).

During the stint in town we brewed some beer and went to various events and parties. One that was the most fun was called Idiotarod where many groups of people created themed shopping carts with costumes while racing through town doing various contests, but mostly bar hopping and having a great time. By night everyone was fairly well blasted.

In the morning I had a flash of a memory about kissing some girl and not kissing another. Later in the day I got a text message, theoretically from the girl I'd kissed, but maybe not, wondering when we'd be going on our date. I'd spend the rest of the week going back and forth and trying to figure out who she was. Eventually the night came where she picked me up to go out for a couple beers before coming back to the house to watch a movie. It was a strange night and neither of us would contact each other again.

My last couple days in town I'd spend with Molly and Kirby up in Surprise, brewing a batch of beer, watching a fire dance and hanging out.

It had been shy of a couple months since I'd left the east coast, now I was ready to hit the other end and bounce around California for a bit where there's always plenty of friends, new friends and adventures to be had. Onward.

January 22, 2103 to February 25, 2013

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