Monday, 20 October 2008

Castle Rock (October 19)

Here's the photo of the game I played with Phyllis in Fort Collins that appeared in the Loveland newspaper.

Day 35

It was another hot one during this, a rest day, when we drove to Mac's wife's house nearby, where both his daughters, Eliza and Hanna joined us. His wife. Carrie, was the complete opposite of Mac on the tidiness stakes and her home bustled with mock-antique ornaments and autumn-themed decorations. The teenager banter was entertaining, especially Hanna's, who calls everyone 'dood'. The food was fantastic, especially the orange-flavoured pastries out of a packet (so heavy and intense) but sadly for me, they were another Mormon household and their cupboards were coffeeless. For all the religion in the West it seemed a little odd that a local paper was crammed to the gills with adverts for sexual services, strip-clubs, etc. Mac was so good to me; he made me feel like one of the family and I decided to stay another night, especially as I had plenty of time now that I wasn't heading further south to Colorado Springs and Pueblo. I was pretty worried about the next state on my itinerary though, Kansas, as a lot of people I have mentioned it to has said I should avoid it. It can't be as bad as southern Wyoming surely? Mac dropped me off at a bike shop in the afternoon, while he took off for an emergency NA meeting for something or other. Had the bike equivalent of an oil change (a new chain) as I have now ridden more than 2,000 miles. A guy in the shop told me how a group of his friends had cycled non-stop from San Diego to Maryland in nine days. However, they only cycled one at a time, while the others relaxed in one or more RV's, where they had their own masseuse and acupuncturist. On the way back to Mac's a girl shouted out of a car window “Ooh nice crack!” As far as I'm aware I had no cracks on view.

Mac hadn't returned from his meeting when I returned. However, Lyvonne, or Lavonne or something, Mac's landlady, invited me upstairs for a beer and showed a lot of interest in my route and gave me suggestions, as she had 11 siblings who lived all over the Mid West. Felt a bit guilty about the beer when Mac returned, yet he seemed OK with it. In the evening we went back to his wife's place for a barbecue. I don't think Mac does a lot of cooking - or washing-up if his kitchen is anything to go by. The barbecue could have fed a dozen, not just the five of us, and featured huge slabs of beef, garlic rolls, roast potatoes, fried onions and salad. No alcohol or coffee of course, although there was decaffeinated tea on offer. I helped Mac clear the garage after dinner (tips and icebergs came to mind) where he pointed out the 'Mormon stockpile' of porridge oats and tinned food. This family weren't 'kosher' Mormons though – they voted Democrat for one thing. There is another child, a boy called Haydn, who was away on a hunting trip. His girlfriend had recently given birth, but it wasn't his child. Not only was he surprised, but so was everyone else – including her – as supposedly she didn't know about it and she had delivered the baby herself. Carrie managed a retail store and used to work in another one called London Fog, selling winter clothes. The girls put out Hallowe'en lights and a character called Marcus the Carcass, who was made up of lit-up head, hands and feet, and sits on a lawn as if rising from the dead. Hallowe'en is a big deal here, at least in a commercial sense. Next we played boys vs girls Trivial Pursuit, although as is often the case with this game in my experience, we didn't finish it. Saw the weather at Mac's and it looked like I was in for milder temperatures and rain.

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