It’s 105.9 degrees in Kingman, Arizona today. We’ve already gone for a swim and played 18 holes of (miniature) golf under the broad day sun, and now all that is left is to fire up this grill and cook ourselves some tuna steaks and corn on the cob. Of course, before that can happen there’s a bicycle ride to pick up said ingredients, about 5 miles round trip. No big deal, right? Well, Kingman had a few great surprises up it’s sleave for me. I could go into vast detail, but I’m sure you’ve all got better things to do than read about my bike ride, so I’ll summarize:
- Melted Handlebar Grips. Much thanks to the sun for boiling down on my bike’s grips so valiantly that it literally melted them onto my hands.
- Woody’s Gas Station. Upon walking in, and me in my straw cowboy hat, an arrow head necklace and nearly completely unbuttoned, button up shortsleeve, the attendant calls out “Howdy partner.” I could sense the snide tone to his voice and his friend’s smirk indicated they were likely having a laugh at my own good expense before I came in. I countered with long slow drawl added to my voice, “Pack of Blue Spirits,” which roughly translates to “Can I buy a pack of American Spirit Regulars?” I think he then realized how serious this conversation had become, because he got them without delay and somehow sussed out that I was from Pittsburgh. He claimed to have lived there himself in the past and made some remark akin to “Yeah, the weather’s a helluva lot better up there.” To which I replied, of course, “Yeah, and so is the football.”
- Natural Planet Health Food Store. My next — and what was to be my final — stop was this store with a name that clearly indicated it would sell healthy food. Upon entering I discovered shelf after rows of shelves full of vitamins and supplements, and a small stand selling granola. When I asked her if she had fresh fish, commonly thought of as “health food”, she looked at me as though I was crazy. In what kind of world do people think that taking supplements and vitamins can be considered eating healthy food?
- Safeway. I was only introduced to Safeway a few months ago, but it’s nearly on par with Whole Foods, even though it’s basically just your average super market chain. Two great pieces of life happened here:
- Bike Lock. I placed my key into the lock to attempt to lock my bike up and, somehow, beyond the explanations of man and gods, the key literally melted into the lock. Irremovable. Excaliburred into the lock for all time, perhaps?
- Crocodile Dundee. The fishmonger/butcher, maybe 25 years old or so, was incredibly social and talked to me non-stop about the great boneless pork chops he’d just cut up (and how they barely had any bones even left in them, each one about 3 inches thick) and various hamburger specials. I just wanted the tuna. When he saw my attention drifting he finally handed me the two tuna steaks, but not before one last remark. “Are you from Australia? Your outfit looks like those Australian guys I’m always seeing.”
What a great ride.