Thursday, 16 October 2008

Elk Mountain - Laramie (October 15)

Day 31

A month into this trip and it was another cold one, as I made my way up a dirt track for the first 25 miles, then on to a highway from Medicine Bow to Laramie, thus avoiding I-80. It'll be in the 60s again on Monday, Tammy had said at the weekend. Yeah right. That's what they tell all the tourists. The unmade road was fine, except when a vehicle passed, sending up a cloud of dust. Elk Mountain remained in view behind me for much of the day's 83 mile ride, wearing a fluffy hat. I saw a herd of about 50 antelopes. Lambs to the slaughter. They should at least be given a fighting chance. I wanted to teach them to disperse when they are frightened – not stick together, give them flak jackets, helmets, hoof-operated weapons. Stopped in the tiny community of Medicine Bow to get a BLT sandwich made up at the cafe/bar and while waiting I took a few Tootsie Roll chewy candies from a jar on the counter. Working my way through them while riding, I discovered one had bits of bone in it. Wait a minute, that was no bone, that was about a quarter of one of my tooth. It didn't hurt, but it was at the front, halfway between the middle and the back, so it would show when I smiled. Along with my accent, my smile was the way I worked my ticket over here. I wondered if it needed to be attended to and whether it would be covered by the travel insurance. Sat in a park in Rock River with the sandwich. Another town of about 200 souls, yet the park had undercover seating, play equipment and barbecues. Feeling weary today, I don't know why. The land opened out this afternoon and it was all yellow. And so to Laramie, a good looking, prosperous university town with plenty of cyclists. In the grocery store I was once again struck by the tallness of the people; some of the men are around 6'6” and many of the women are 5'10” or more – and often with child.

Tonight I had accommodation arranged with a couple, and approaching their address a man on a bike shouted out to me that he was my host and he had one more lap to do, then he would meet me outside his house. Evan lived opposite a park where some kind of cycling race with obstacles was taking place. I had come across him through a rather dodgy sounding website called Warm Showers, which was in fact similar to Couchsurfing – aimed at the biking community. A young engineer from Iowa, he lived with his wife, Kennedy, a politics teacher, who had a migraine and I saw little of her. They had two feisty Basset Hound puppies and a very affectionate white and grey cat. Evan cooked me up a pasta dish with a spicy sauce, choc chip cookie dough ice cream and beer (one was called Fat Tire from Fort Collins and had a bike on the label). We got along tremendously and talked a lot of politics, as well as watching a bit of the final presidential debate on TV. Obama seems to be doing well in the polls and in recent years only Regan managed to overhaul such a deficit in the polls. Who knows though and it is pretty exciting. I'm really not getting to see a cross-section of America, as even though most of the Western states are safe as houses for the McCain side, just about all the people I've stayed with are wimpy, pinko, fagots like me. Actually Evan is still undecided. He showed me a sample ballot paper and compared to the ones in Britain it is so complicated. An A4 sheet with about 20 sections in both sides for all kinds of dignatories. You can even put your own suggestion in for some of them. Apparently Pistol Pete, the mascot of the Denver Cowboys football team gets a lot of votes. It doesn't beat the goat who was elected some years back as the sheriff of some county in the boondocks, and was armed with a badge and gun. It's a true story folks.

I was unbelievably tired tonight and while typing this, sitting up in bed, when a wave of exhaustion halted me mid-sentence – much to the playful cat's annoyance. The next day Evan made me cereal and enough pancakes to sink a battleship.


imkeefegps said...

I don't think you should be worrying about missing out on a 15 mile bit - just think of all those extra bits you've been doing round the places you've visited!

imkeefegps said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
imkeefegps said...

Sorry I posted my comment twice in error and then deleted one of them. Really I find this posting of comments very laborious and fraught. Not enough practice I suppose. And as for copying those stupid letters.....

Adrian said...

Thanks Mum :-)