|The Norvells Relaxing Together at Home|
I may have missed my breakfast date if not for the friendly neighborhood trains, which came by at fifteen minute intervals or less from six A.M. onward.
I packed up in a wobbly state, legs like Jello and head like rolling thunder. Joel picked me up at seven and I was soon experiencing relief in the form of steak and eggs. An accompanying apple served as my first fresh fruit in Colorado. Betting windows are still open if you'd like to place wagers on the day of my heart attack. I was also able to shower for the first time since Julesburg.
As we we went over the day's route Joel surprised me by offering to pick me up from Snyder tonight and putting me up at their home here in Merino. He and Angie also promised to do my laundry as I walked. I was only being introduced to the incredible hospitality of the Norvells.
In the meantime, I had some stumbling to do. Taking only a fanny pack I shuffled quickly in the morning hours, reaching open grasslands and a wildlife extravaganza. Red-tailed hawks ruled the sky and rabbits bounced in and out of their burrows on the way to and from Wonderland. I saw my first prairie dogs, a booming colony chattering in their birdlike language, warning each other of the flying dangers above and approaching rattlers below.
By noon oppressive heat took the bounce from my step. Lack of sleep and overindulgence finally took their toll and my pace slowed. The animals were a good deal smarter and hid in the shade of the Elliott Wildlife Area.
I would have melted into a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West if not for the intercession of some clouds, which deflected the sun's power away from my skin. These were only the forward guard. An ugly black cloud formed and I opted to call my lifeline. Joel, Angie, and their son Alex swooped in half an hour later as I reached the outskirts of Snyder. They had brought plenty of water to repair my withered and dehydrated form.
On the way back we visited an elk farm and Joel told me about the main employer in Merino, Wisdom Industries. The company makes carnival rides and their most famous creation is the Gravitron, which involves spinning in a circle until all stomach contents have been deposited on the walls of the contraption.
Once we had returned to their domicile the Norvells resolved to relax me further. The hookah was retrieved from its resting place and loaded with blueberry tobacco. I've taken a short trip to Turkey, but had not used the opportunity to try the pipe. The smoke was smooth and incomparably better tasting when compared to cigarettes. I greatly appreciated the experience, but I've lost too many relatives to smoking related illnesses to become more than a casual user.
The day took another Turk for the better with a supper of Shish Kebabs. The skewers of marinated steak, chicken, onions, and various peppers satisfied the cravings of my tongue and belly. Even the epiglottis, usually a harsh judge, admitted to being impressed.
After dinner daughter Elizabeth joined us and Joel put on a picture show from his tour in Iraq and a shorter deployment in Panama. I followed with the photos from my aimless wanderings on and off the ADT. We discussed leaving the house in pursuit of entertainment, but in the end the couch's gravity held. On this night I wouldn't have had it any other way.
19 miles/2388 total miles