(NB if you have photos relevant to my trip - please email them to email@example.com. I am unable to load pictures from my camera)
Cereal at Mac's house and then bid farewell to one of the most generous and easy going people I've ever met.
My route has been adjusted slightly by cutting inland earlier – and also diagonally – so I will meet my projected self in a couple of days. It was a good thing too, as there was a fearsome wind out of the south, although it still hampered my progress. First stop, the library, full of nubile women and their broods. So many times I've seen the rear view of a beautiful hunk of woman, only for a big old bump to be revealed when she turns round. Is it something in the water? Today I'm missing British sarcasm and moaning. People are just too damn nice here. You can buy a 'treed lot' for $200,000 in the Castle Rock vicinity and Mac had pointed out million dollar homes yesterday. Real estate is pricey here because of the proximity to Denver and also thanks to the influx of Californians (Mac and family were from there too). Headed east on a shoulderless, quiet highway, through trees and hills, then just hills. Stopped in Kiowa to refill water bottles and to dine al fresco in the park. Often when buying a sandwich in a cafe it comes with crisps, which isn't really helping the obesity situation, especially when I didn't ask for them. Mac told me about a restaurant in Nebraska which serves a 5 lb hamburger. They take your picture with it and this is put on the hall of fame if you finish it and the hall of shame if you don't. 'Country Clutter Collectables' could be bought here, and they get top marks for their honesty. Women buy up this mock-old fashioned, Far East tat by the truckload, line their nests with it, only to discard it all in a few years and start all over again.
The next 50 miles were through British-themed open moorland, with grey skies to match. Houses are plonked arbitrarily on hillsides, with no gardens or trees. Unless their occupants are working the land, you wonder why they would choose such a windswept place. Left my bum bag behind whilst donning leggings and had to go back for it. Thank God I realised pretty quickly. A man leaned out of his car window, while driving past, to enquire where I was going and as I was returning for the aforementioned article at the time, I replied “The wrong way”. How friendly is that though? From there on it was a cold, grey, windy blur and I was utterly drained upon arrival at Limon, where the sign on the Interstate (I had to ride it for a few miles) whined “Please visit our town”. It was dark by now and I didn't see much of it as I headed straight for the Safari Motel. This is how the conversation went with the unsmiling Polish lady at reception :
Me - How long have you lived here?
She - In Limon 12 years.
Me - You don't seem very happy about it.
She - Why would I not be happy if I have lived here 12 years? Are you on a bicycle?
Me - Yes.
She - That is why you are very red in the face.
I could have chatted to her all day... but my stomach had a date at Southside Food & Drink, right across the road. They did a 'chicken fried chicken' and a 'chicken fried steak'; but I settled for a burger and a glass of Killian's Irish Red.
A breakfast (pastries, muffins, coffee, orange juice) in the office was included in the tariff. I asked the Polish husband if there were any motels in Kit Carson, 60 miles away, but he'd never been there and was unable to find out.