MRT day 11: Alfonso’s burns down


Mileage: zero

Muffy and I stay up late talking about… everything and I wake at 5, when the first light is leaking through the curtains. I make us coffee in the hotel room coffee maker and we eat instant oatmeal, feeling gloriously alive. My feet still feel like swollen, painful stumps, but otherwise I am stoked. Today is a day of treasures.

Treasures: The sun. Bright but still fresh in the morning, not hot yet. My love, Muffy. Walking arm in arm in the wind along the highway, backpacks empty. The gas station, where we buy iced tea and diet coke. The donut shop, voted “best donuts in AZ” six years running, where I eat three donuts?! And feel sick and ecstatic, and the glutenfog is totally worth it. Across from the donut shop is Alfonso’s, where we ordered Mexican food from last night. Except, holy shit- what the fuck? It’s a burnt out shell of a building, surrounded in police tape? What the shit?

We walk the rest of the way to the post office, confused. The people in line at the post office light up when we enter- strangers! To talk to! The people of Payson, which seems working class, humble, slightly sprawling, are so far very, very friendly. They’re wearing work boots and stained denim and they’re wizened from the sun, they have no idea who we are or what the fuck we’re doing here, but they’d love to say hidey ho! They drive old pickups and toyota carollas, they love the pie at the 260 Cafe.

“Do you know what happened to Alfonso’s?” I ask the post office line. “We just walked past the building and it’s a burnt out shell!”

The whole room gasps.

“Alfonso’s?! No!”

I do some searching and find a facebook post by the Payson fire department. The fire started at 4 a.m. this morning, apparently. The building couldn’t be saved. No one was hurt.

A wave of audible sadness washes over the post office crowd. Alfonso’s was much loved. Hopefully they can rebuild. A day of mourning for Payson.

After we get our boxes at the post office we walk to safeway to resupply, then big 5 sporting goods for KT tape. At the back of the store some older folks are trying on shoes.

“Did you hear about Alfonso’s?” One says to the other. “So sad. I loved that place.”

I feel a burst of affection for Payson. What a nice place!

The glutenfog has gotten less fun, now. It’s hot afternoon and my feet are throbbing again and I feel ill. The thai place has a $10 lunch special tho. And of course the food is incredible. Muffy orders a second entree for later.

Back at our motel I collapse, and tend to the blister on one of my pinky toes, which seems more painful than it should be. Is it infected? I google “how to tell if a blister is infected” and learn a ton about blisters. So many things! I cut the skin off the blister, which the internet says NOT to do but which I have always done and had good results with, at least on brutal blisters close to the surface. I clean the blister and bandage it with some neosporin. Heal up, little toe. Muffy leaves to get a pedicure, which is a special thing that she loves, and I fall into my phone for hours, losing the entire evening. Tomorrow we start section three of the MRT, most of which is on the AZT. I’m excited!

I’m using these blog posts to help raise money for Francis, an El Salvadoran refugee who is raising funds for an asylum appeal. You can view his fundraiser here.

Francis’ fundraiser is currently at $2,200- day 12 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $2,300 (and when I have service again). Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀