When I resumed trekking in the morning I could already see Ely to the north. Incredibly, this would be the biggest metropolis I had entered since Grand Junction five hundred miles ago. The populations of the places in between probably fails to match that of my home town in South Carolina.
All that empty space had failed to stop the word of the walk from spreading. Ely resident Jennifer Farnworth had heard about the walk from a friend in Grand Junction and e-mailed me to offer help. She drove down to check on me this morning, gave me a contact number with the local newspaper, and invited me to a family barbecue that evening. Following three days with almost no social interaction (unless you count talking to myself) I jumped at the bait.
Before the soiree I checked in at the hotel, showered, and talked on the phone with my mother and brother for an hour. They had to force an end to the call once I started conversing about my belly button lint. I've gone so long without computer or cel service I wasn't about to shut up regardless of whether I had anything to say.
That evening Jennifer came by the hotel and took me to her family's abode on the east side of town. She and her husband Mike are government employees, working for the post office and state prison. Mike's father and mother, Mike Sr. and Joann were in from Rock Springs, Wyoming for a visit. Son Zacary and daughter Taryn completed the group. We dined on a wonderful spread of ribs, macaroni casserole, and a medley of squash, mushrooms, and onions. I felt thrilled to have a surrogate family again, even if for just one night. Better yet a member of my own tree will hopefully find his way to Ely tomorrow. I'll try not to scare Dad with more talk of belly button lint.
12 miles/3435 total miles