Today should have been quite easy. I was headed to the house of my host in Grand Junction, Barbara. I had already been to Barbara's and had gained at least a modicum of understanding of the town's geography thanks to my wanderings with Lynne last night. I guess I prefer doing things the hard way.
A little after nine Lynne dropped me off in Whitewater and I headed out, loose and free, the heavy pack awaiting me at the finish line. I took only my water bottles and a couple of snacks. For some reason I decided having any useful maps would just be an encumbrance. Why? I can only plead temporary insanity and not very convincingly.
Two miles down Coffman Road I ran into the first problem. I was supposed to follow this street twice as long, but the city dump seemed to signal the end. My only recourse was to head towards Highway 50, which I knew went to the promised land. I was hoping to have better luck than Moses.
I followed the Highway a little, then veered onto a safer series of frontage roads. I then did an impromptu interview with Channel 8, whose intrepid reporter P.J. managed to somehow find me. If only I could do the same. I talked into the camera a bit because we are trying to raise funds and increase awareness of the Wounded Warrior Project here (had you forgotten?), but frankly I prefer dealing with bears a lot more.
Eventually I ran into the ADT once more at the Colorado Riverfront Trail. Grand Junction gets its name from the two rivers which met there, the Gunnison and the Colorado, which was formerly known as the Grand River. In fact, in 1869 when an old wounded warrior, the one-armed Major Powell, led his famous expedition to explore the Grand Canyon, the Colorado did not officially begin until the Grand and Green Rivers merged.
Call it the Grand or the Colorado, I could not continue to follow the river or the trail for long. My destination was to the east, in downtown Grand Junction. I headed across Highway 50 and managed to find Ouray St., upon which Barbara's home is located. After a few blocks this street also ran to its conclusion. Instead of paralleling on a north or south street and heading east until Ouray resumed I made a decision that could only have been influenced by the sun's melting of my brain. I want west.
After about a mile of this idiocy I somewhat came to my senses and went into a gas station to look at a map. The part of my mind which was still working insisted I was northwest of Barbara's. Those few remaining cells turned out to be correct. If only they had controlled my feet an hour earlier. Reoriented I found a sensible route to my home for the next week, arriving in time to collapse onto the living room floor.
Now to do my best to explain the following two weeks: My mother and brother wanted to meet me in this area from the get-go to see Arches and some of the other natural wonders out here. They will also walk with me and provide support through the first section of desert. Since they had to plan a flight early I was forced to guess when I would arrive in Grand Junction. Let's just say I did poorly. They do not get to Fruita, which is less than twenty miles away, until August 3. So I have time on my hands. Dad is coming to help out on July 25th and we will do some exploring of our own. Until then I plan on volunteering at the VA Hospital and perhaps the Catholic Outreach Center, which is a very important resource for the poor within the Grand Junction community. I'll do an occasional update, but will not be posting daily again until the third when I head off to meet Mom and Colin in Fruita. Until then please spend your time wisely - may I suggest donating to the Wounded Warrior Project?
11 miles/2934 total miles