I've got an important dateline to meet and I can't be late. The entire point of this detour was the hope of publicity for the Wounded Warrior Project in Delta. I am twenty one miles away. I have no cigarettes, I'm not driving a stolen police car, It's 1806 miles to Chicago, I only metaphorically have a full tank of gas, , it's light... and I'm wearing sunglasses. Nevertheless I must hit it.
I should have quoted Joliet Jake back in his home city, but better late than never and so I hoped to deliver myself in the same time span. I had originally planned on arriving Tuesday, but my body's near lifeless status forced the delay in Paonia. Although poltergeists occasionally change the font of the text here, they are no use as far as transportation. I had to do this myself and thankfully time heals all wounds, if only temporarily until I wound them again.
The sun has edged closer to the earth somehow during the last few days as I came down from the lofty heights of the Main Range of the Rockies. It was the major opponent as I strained through mile after mile. I battled the draining heat with water, consuming nearly twelve bottles over the course of our combat. Each few thousand feet was a more difficult task than the previous as the powerful star slowly gained the upper hand. The surrounding mesas became drier and dustier, the vision of giant sand dunes in my mind made me even more parched. The distance between the oases of fruit orchards and vineyards is increasing, the thought of their sweet, thirst- quenching juices an impossible dream .
Somehow the ancient star was defeated on the afternoon and I struggled in to Delta...or perhaps victory is deferred until my first melanoma. I met my host Jamie Head at the City Market and she dragged my beaten but not bowed form to her home north of town. Husband Wayne returned from his job as an auto mechanic in Grand Junction an hour later, shortly followed by their son Matt, who walked with me in Marble.
Jamie told me about the endless remodeling saga with their current home and I smiled and nodded, reminding myself to add a throw rug outside of my tent for a bit of the homey touch...perhaps a sauna and a whirlpool as well. Wayne was exhausted from a ten hour shift combined with a commute of nearly an hour in each direction. We sipped beer and exchanged the looks of those just happy to have found a seated position.
The household was amazingly active. Two of Matt's friends, Nick and Tom spend most of their waking and sleeping hours there and the Heads have four cats, two dogs, and sixteen chickens. We all sat down for a tasty meal of pot roast, mash potatoes, pancake cornbread, and carrots from the garden.
The chickens were spared for the night, but I sense their day of reckoning will come soon if they don't lay some eggs. Since there is no rooster the future looks bleak. Things didn't look to great for me either earlier this week. Funny how a little hot food and shelter can turn things around for those of us suffering from the blues. The bright side of my situation suddenly appears. Life on the road may be hard, but at least I don't have to flee a maniac Carrie Fisher.
21 miles/2855 total miles