Score another one for Grant: When he isn’t driving the P1800, he drives a very practical XC70 — the last remaining Volvo that looks like a Volvo — instead of one of those godforsaken XC90s that look like an overinflated Gremlin after a botched rhinoplasty operation.
He got into Coldwater just before 11 p.m. Friday. We sat out on the porch for a long time, drinking coffee and listening to the coyotes and the wind, before road exhaustion got the better of him and he headed off to his room.
Between the coffee and the knowledge that the sexiest man on Route 66 was sleeping under my roof (albeit in a separate building), I didn’t fall asleep until well after 3 a.m.
I woke up sometime after 9 o’clock to find Joyce, Grant, and Joey sitting around a table in the lobby with a big platter of bacon, waffles, and migas, surfing Realtor.com on Grant’s phone while Harvey sat at Grant’s feet, bumming bites of bacon.
I’d planned to turn on the “NO VACANCY” sign this weekend, but Dr. Scherer had told Joyce that Grant was coming into town, so she offered to run the Tumbleweed “just for old times’ sake” while I played tour guide. I suspect her motive may have had less to do with nostalgia than with Dr. Scherer’s sudden conviction that he is the second coming of Dolly Levi, but I didn’t tell her that.
After breakfast, we checked out all the available properties in Coldwater — which took approximately seven minutes — and then went to see whether Bill Swinney had any leads on land for sale in the area.
“I think I’ve seen enough real estate,” Grant said as we sipped cold grape sodas and snacked on beef jerky in front of Newkirk’s only gas station. “Would you mind indulging me in a cruise down Route 66?”
I smiled. “Would you be interested in seeing a rough but very historic section of Route 66 that was bypassed in the 1930s?” I asked.
Grant’s eyes lit up. “Really?”
So I showed him Cuervo Cutoff, a rather primitive alignment of 66 that takes drivers away from the interstate and into another time.
By the time we reached Santa Rosa, Grant had fallen in love with the Mother Road, and I had fallen in love with Grant.
The rest of the day was a blur: a trip to the Blue Hole; a tour of the antique car museum in Santa Rosa; and a cruise over to El Comedor in Moriarty to have a bowl of posole and watch the rotosphere come to life at sunset.
We took the interstate back to Coldwater, pulling off once to spend a few minutes stargazing under the clear desert sky.
I thought about inviting Grant into the lobby for a nightcap, but Joyce left just as we pulled in, and I was pretty sure that we did not need to be unchaperoned right then, so I settled for a kiss in the glow of the neon, said goodnight, and scurried off to bed before temptation could get the better of us.
I have no idea how I am going to maintain my sanity for the next month while Grant finishes out his contract in Flagstaff….