Post-Vegas Hitchhiking To Arizona and New Mexico

Marilyn and I sat at the bar in Vegas, our new friend finally peeling himself away from the madness and making his way to the airport and on to the next thing. We'd hitchhiked to town expecting a two night stay, but Vegas had other plans for us. Now, after nearly a week, we too planned on peeling away ourselves. Then Shana called, it didn't take much to convince us into another day or two.

Still at the bar we hung out with one of the new bartenders there, she was from Michigan before recently moving. We ran around Fremont Street with her for a while, then got a ride back to my friend Shana's place for the night.

After some breakfast in the morning we hit the thrift store. Christmas was around the corner and we'd be hitchhiking to see my family up in Wyoming, so we wanted to hitch in style dressed as Santa and an elf. That story will come soon enough.

After gearing up, Vegas began again. First a little casino bar, then to a really good seafood spot to chow before heading to Shana's bar on Fremont. We drank there for a while, playing video poker and blackjack, sipping Guinness and taking well timed shots.

Eventually Shana got off her shift and we ran all over the places, getting drinks in one spot, shots in another, playing arcade games, riding up and down seesaws, meeting friends and otherwise running around town.

After all of it we somehow wound up in a cab heading back. Something happened during the ride and it got tense, he took long way or some such. Suddenly we were hopping out of the cab several blocks away from the house and scattering, running in different directions and all winding up back at the house, safe I suppose, laughing at the whole thing.

The next day was a much needed recovery day after about a week of non-stop Vegas-go.

Then, amazingly, back on the road. Our new destination was Phoenix to see a friend of mine. We took the city bus to Boulder City, a pretty good escape route out of Vegas to get good hitchhiking position. We began walking to the edge of town and then it looked like a cop car that stopped and pulled over just ahead for us.

We ran up to it, and it was indeed a cop car, but a retired and re-purchased one. The guy driving gave us a ride just past the Hoover Dam and to a pretty obscure exit just inside Arizona.

When we hopped out there was an older hitchhiker on this desolate on ramp looking pretty beat, he said he had walked there from Vegas. Waiting at the ramp was useless, there was about zero traffic, he had little chance. It was probably a fear of police that kept him there, a fear that Marilyn and I didn't have. Arizona State Police have grown nicer over the years when it comes to hitchhikers, I've gotten many a ride from them and good advice as well.

So we walked on up to the highway itself so we could be seen by all the Vegas exodus traffic. We got a ride within minutes from some people heading to Albuquerque where they were doing rope safety training. They dropped us off at the junction near Kingman that turned south to Phoenix.

The desert started getting dark, but an eighteen wheeler scooped us up just in time, heading right down through Phoenix. We spent the night catching up with my friend, Larry, hanging with him and his kids for a while. We spent the next day chilling out and doing more of the same, watching some football and relaxing.

In the morning after our next move was to head north again, at this point we were just squeezing in as many friends and places before having to make the trip up to Wyoming. So now, Flagstaff.

We walked to the 101 where we hitched our first ride of the day, a guy in his van who got us up to Interstate 17, just north of the Phoenix sprawl. Next was a ride from a cool couple who'd done their share of biking and hitchhiking, they dropped us off near some outlets after a smoke.

Three guys gave us a short ride after that, then a guy in a Santa hat talking about his grandchildren to Camp Verde, and finally a pretty chilly back-of-the-pickup-truck ride right into Flagstaff. We went to Flag Brew immediately for an imperial stout to warm up.

After that we hit the slightly newer brewer in town, Mother Road, and had some beers there. We met some cool people there, one of which bought us a round and talked backpacks and gear with us for a while. He was actually a member of the Couchsurfing website, he gave us his number saying he could host us for the night if we needed.

We had to head to a bar with a TV after that for the football game. My friend had gotten me into fantasy football a year or two earlier, this was our playoffs where I was coincidentally facing him, and as it turned out, destroying him.

After the beat-down, Marilyn gave our new friend Mike a call, he indeed was down to host us. He came and scooped us up and we headed back to his place for the night, also meeting his wife.

Mike was heading down near Sedona for an errand, so we joined him and made a day of it. We hit a couple breweries, checked out his friend's property and the twisty, red-rocked scenery in general.

By night we were back in Flagstaff, a friend of mine was back in town and we spent the night there hanging out with him.

In the morning there was a light layer of snow on the ground. Despite this, we were ready to keep moving. Our next and final stop before making the trip to Wyoming was Albuquerque, there we'd be intercepting a couple of my good friends on their road trip.

We started walking and managed a quick ride out of town, then a straight shot ride to Albuquerque, the driver had a puppy in tow that kept Marilyn happy for the whole 4 hour ride or so. They dropped us off at a brewery, as is the default, we jumped in and ordered some beer while waiting for my friends Nick and Mandie to roll into town.

We'd walked to a second brewery by the time they made it, they hung with us there for a bit and the we drove out as they searched for a hotel room. We found one and then piled in, laughing and catching up for the night.

The next day Mandie had an appointment, someone she was meeting up with in town, we dropped her off at a cafe and then went to check out the city. Marilyn, Nick and I roamed around looking for interesting areas. We got some decent food, checkout some Christmas decorations and hit another dollar store to complete our Santa and elf costumes.

Finally the four of all went out for dinner before winding up in the hotel room again laughing the night away. Come morning we'd part ways again, then Marilyn and I would be set on Jackson, Wyoming. We were excited, time to see how quickly Santa and his elf could cover 850 miles using nothing but their thumbs and smiles. Good times.

December 10, 2014 to December 18, 2014