I exit the trailhead, and immediately see some broken down RVs and a tent with large plastic cold insulating containers.

These people have been here for a while.

0.2 miles into town, there’s a brewery that is rated highly, so I stop in.
Fresh Meat

It’s nice to see people again.

My frustration from the day has taken a toll on my emotional state, so I decide to get a hotel room for the night...except there are none.

None that are reasonably priced, at least. This is a small town, small enough that there’s not even a Walmart - just one Main Street. Any commercial infrastructure is just one street. There’s a town about 17 miles down the one road with hotels and a Walmart, but no way to get there.

I could walk. 17 miles along a state road. But that’s a whole day.

A man named Bill takes interest in my gear and we talk a while. I don’t think Bill expected me to be so prepared, based on his questions.

He goes back to the bar as I eat and figure out what my next step is.

I ask Bill if there’s any way to get to the next town.

Nope.

There’s nothing.

He stands there for a bit.

I wonder if he’s going to offer to take me there.

And then the unexpected.

You can stay at my place tonight if you like.

I look up with a side eye.

Don’t offer if you’re not serious.

“I’m serious; I mean, it’s only for one night, right?”

Internally, I think, I probably want two nights.

Yeah. Only one night.

“Ok. I’m almost finished up, and we’ll head out.”

Alright.

The waitress comes over.

“Don’t worry, he’s a great guy”

That hadn’t actually entered my mind. But I guess we’ll find out.

Bill is an older man who lives in a wood stove-heated log cabin he built himself.
His daughters are grown and married, and he lives with Lucy.

Lucy loves EVERYTHING.

He shows me my bed in the upstairs loft. It’s a queen bed with a fan, because sometimes the wood stove gets too hot.
Too hot is not a concern of mine these days.

It is wonderfully toasty.

Lucy’s tail is wagging so hard that it throws her balance off a bit.

“Lucy loves company”

Lucy loves everything.
Lucy doesn’t trust cameras. She knows they add 10 pounds.