Friday, 17 October 2008

Laramie – Fort Collins (October 16)

Day 32

Evan escorted me to the dentist on his way to work. It was actually a dental nurse who saw me and she said it should be OK to wait for my tooth to be fixed (capped) when I got home, providing it didn't start to hurt. The main thing was that it didn't affect my masticatory enjoyment, otherwise it would have to be attended to immediately. Dropped by the university library before heading out of town. Why is it that young males with baseball caps look cool in the US, whereas British cap-wearing men just look stupid? So, Chris stayed with Evan a few days ago. I found out some more stuff about him. He lives in Santa Barbara, California, he wrote to heart disease organizations (who he is raising money for) all over the country before he embarked on his trip and many of them arranged free accommodation in fancy hotels, meals in top restaurants, bar tabs... He works for a man who makes magicians props. I wish I could say abracadabra and make him disappear, that's for sure. It looks like my wish will be granted soon enough, as he's travelling in a more southerly direction through Oklahoma and I'm going through Kansas. I did begin to head south today however, and the Westerly wind was extra strong across my bows. Finally it was warm enough to strip down to shorts and I found a nice spot in the lee of a building, to have lunch.

Crossed into state number six, Colorado, this afternoon and straight away I got phone reception (nothing in the whole of Wyoming) the road improved, it was greener, there were trees and interesting rock formations. Then it was all yellow again for a bit, but then it did gradually become more verdant as I dropped down to Fort Collins at 4,894' (I don't think I was ever below 6,500' in the eight days it took to cross Wyoming). Another university town, it seemed like a nice place, but with too much traffic for my tastes and it seemed ridiculous that I couldn't stay on the main road through the downtown district (there were 'no cycling' signs) when there were three lanes for vehicles and no sidewalk.

Continued to the south of the town to meet Sheila, who had recently moved from California with her husband, to be near their daughter and grandchildren. Sheila was happy with the relocation, but Larry missed the golf course he lived on in Californian and his golfing buddies. They had a big, beautiful house and they had guests – from Sheila's Scrabble club. Tucked into the buffet first, which Sheila had prepared and the others had contributed towards – the best part of which was the pumpkin cake.. The organizer, David (who had once cycled from New York to Denver) asked me to make a speech and so I talked about who I was, why I was doing this crazy venture and my experiences so far. Then they all said who they were and where they came from (many were from 'back east'). It was so nice to be at a Scrabble club in someone's house, with food, drink and a relaxed cosiness – rather than the austere atmosphere of some clubs. I played two games, both of which were hard fought and hard won – by me. In the first one, against Phyllis (who had a board made out of a picture of Tiger Woods), I put down QUILL with the Q on a double letter (also making QI) and it reached a double word tile (71 points). In the second game, with Eleanor, my HEADCASE was disallowed, but I'm sure it would be an acceptable SOWPODS play. Everyone came over to talk to me and were admiring of what I was doing, including one lady who had a Scrabble board brooch with the word FUN spelt out. A photographer from a newspaper in nearby Loveland turned up and took about a hundred photos while I was playing with Phyllis. He said it would be in tomorrow's paper. Then I headed for bed, in the basement, which was like a whole separate house. Every room had intercoms and about six light switches - but property is reasonable here, Sheila told me, at least compared to the San Fransisco area, where they were from.

Over a breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes and bacon, Sheila and Larry told me about the foreign exchange student from Glasgow who had stayed with them some years ago. He was 11 years old, hated everything about America and his strong accent made communication arduous. It had been a full family migration from California, as both their children lived down the road. Their daughter, Christie came over this morning and her young son was entranced by the bell on my bike. Then I packed up my plastic bags once more and Larry escorted me on his bike out of the neighbourhood, and back on to Highway 287.


keefe said...


Adrian said...

I knew it! Thank you.