Did you hear the one about the two people who drove through Navaho Nation during a pandemic?
Bill and I took off Friday morning, heading to Denver. We were completely in the dark about what to expect in the days ahead. One person told us that we wouldn’t be able to find a bathroom for love nor money. Not good when you’re a Baby Boomer with a bladder the size of a dime. We limited ourselves to one cup of coffee.
When we drive, we have a whole system that frankly varies very little. Bill starts out driving, and he takes us to Payson, about an hour-and-a-half from our house. We generally stop at McDonalds and get a breakfast sandwich and use their restrooms. No restrooms available this time, and the drive-thru line was long. No prob, because we’d already eaten breakfast.
Once I take over, we head to Holbrook where we might stop and have lunch at another fast food restaurant. My mother always said that the town of Holbrook, Arizona, looked like a town that had recently been hit by a nuclear bomb. Needless to say, she was never asked to serve on their Chamber of Commerce Board. Alas, she really is right. It is a town with very little to offer, except a Dairy Queen. A Dairy Queen at which we always make a stop to have an ice cream treat.
Because we needed a stretch break, we stopped at this very Dairy Queen, thinking perhaps we could use their bathroom. Signs on the windows indicated excitedly that their bathrooms were open. The lobby was closed, but they had a drive thru that had been added very recently. My guess is the owner knocked a hole in the wall with a sledge hammer though I can’t confirm that theory. The drive thru lane was about six feet long. And apparently DQ is the only game in town because the line awaiting the drive thru was down the street. We, however, parked on the other side of the building because I had made us sandwiches. We also saw that they indicated they had car hops.
After a wait of about 20 minutes (during which we ate our sandwiches), a very confused-looking woman appeared asking if we wanted to order anything. “Yes,” we said. “Two hot fudge malts. And a bathroom.”
She looked like a deer in the headlights. It seemed the front door was locked because the manager had left with the key. So no bathrooms. It really didn’t matter, because we weren’t in a desperate state. See above: limited coffee. I admit to being a bit concerned about the DQ employee’s safety given only one rear exit. Perhaps that’s why she looked so confused.
We left, and headed towards Gallup, which is the first town in New Mexico on I-40, and the heart of the Navaho Nation. You know, the same Navaho Nation which has been drastically hit with the coronavirus. But my dime-sized bladder was being stretched to its limit, and a visit to a ladies’ room was a must at this point. As we got off the highway, we noticed that traffic going into Gallup was backed up. However, our favorite truck stop, cleverly called Navaho Travel Station, was the other direction. We made a quick stop. The clerks were all wearing masks as were we. A thorough hand wash and plenty of disinfectant lotion made us feel pretty good. The line was still backed up as we got back on I-40.
That night, as we watched television in our hotel room in Albuquerque, we learned that the city of Gallup WAS CLOSED. As in NO ONE IN, NO ONE OUT.
The rest of the trip was uneventul. We left Albuquerque the next morning, and made it to Trinidad, Colorado, before our stomachs were growling (no sandwiches that day). We drove through Wendy’s and parked to eat our sandwiches. We had entertainment as the first marijuana store in Colorado coming in from I-25 was right there. And they were doing a frisky business. In fact, there was a line out of the door. To be fair, they were carefully allowing only one person in the store at a time. Their parking lot was full of out-of-state cars there to visit the essential business of recreational marijuana. That’s okay. I need my martinis.
We made it home without any problems, and now we just return to a quarantine life with new walls.