“Do the two of you have any money?”
Not normally what you expect to be asked when you sit down in the local diner for breakfast, usually it’s more along the lines of “how are you?” or “can I get you something to drink”, but on this particular morning in the hick town of Bridgeport, California, one old toothless restaurateur decided that my comrade Appa and I deserved special treatment.
“Oh shit, this is one of those places where you need to exchange money for food?”
We ate our breakfast, paid, and left. What a bitch.
Sleeping on the ground in a bag of your own filth and not showering for days (sometimes weeks) at a time may be the norm out on the Pacific Crest Trail, but should you find yourself in a town in a similarly situated state, all of a sudden you become inappropriate and off-limits to children.
Suddenly, you are expected to use restrooms instead of dropping trou where you please, and those around you expect your appearance to be “clean” (at least if you hope to receive proper treatment from the locals).
Since the PCT leads you through desolate wilderness, not every town the trail passes offers the most reasonable of accommodations. What’s that? Almost $100 for a motel room? And the communal bathroom is at the end of the hall? And you’re only permitted one hot shower? And it can be no longer than five minutes? SIGN ME UP!
But really, not only does it take an entire five minutes to remove the outermost layer of dirt from your body, but when my “room” resembles a closet with a twin mattress on the floor with no amenities, I expect a slightly lower price point (say $5?).
I think I will take my chances behind the abandoned grocery store. At least when I find shit on the ground there I will know where it came from (cows, it came from cows). When trail angels are nowhere to be found, parks, churches, or fields usually provide the best bedrooms whilst homeless in town. There does exist a chance of running into an authority figure, but you can always plead your ignorance and hope for some sympathy (and hey, maybe a jail cell wouldn’t be so bad).