Lost in America – Calhan, Colorado

Wednesday. 10:30am.

My LAR1 is three short weeks away. As usual, I’m hiding my unease by refusing to address the issue. All’s well so far today, the internal voice says. Yes, go with that. Personal hokum and manufactured platitudes are ideal when attempting to ignore one’s pending morbidity and mortality.

And, to top it off, I’m starving.

Takehome point #1: If ever there was a best cure for the selfish and foolhardy pursuits of boredom, procrastination and self delusion, it’s  cancer.

“Yep, gettin’ lunch.” I mutter to myself in the steam of the shower. “What’s it to be?”

“Tacos? Pizza?” Apparently, this morning’s self pity stifles healthful choices.

“Pastrami?”

Done.

Now, for those who don’t personally know me or haven’t gathered from prior posts, I harbor the pleasantly nasty little habit of trying to get myself lost. I always have. Wanderlust, whether it be in some stupidly-thick textbook or on some backroad where I get distracted by the rusted-out hulk of a tractor, will always be one of my best friends. Finding myself lost is one of life’s greatest rewards. And, in my case, becoming lost usually plays-out a little something like this:

  1. Decide I’m bored.
  2. Get angry at self for #1 (especially in setting of a looming ATRS2).fullsizeoutput_3f9
  3. Make completely ancillary
    plan; in today’s case, “go get pastrami”.
  4. Do not get fooled by #3. That is, pack gear for the “just in case inevitability of becoming lost-centrically located.” Therefore, load car with, at minimum, the following: camera bag, hiking boots, parka, gloves, lots of water, snacks…and, to my deep-seated hatred and disgust, the poop-bag-supplies bag (painful post forthcoming).
  5. Don’t forget camera batteries that are charging in the bathroom. Don’t ask.
  6. Adjourn to Denver’s modest interpretation of a New York staple and aquire giant ‘strami and swiss on pumpernickel with kraut and spicy brown mustard. Complete the montage with a half sour and a side of slaw. Oh yeh, throw in some fries too. Please and thank you.
  7. After filling gut, fill gas tank.
  8. Drive. East? West? North? South? Doesn’t matter. Just drive.

Takehome #2: If you wake up craving a hot pastrami with kraut and brown mustard, don’t forget to load your camera bag because you never know to what landscape that sandwich might take you.

Today, the route began, as near as I care to remember, easterly for a while. Then, southish for at least 5 songs (or was it 10?). Mosey to the west for a mile or so on county road whatever. Wait, what county am I even in? Turn back southward. Grab a coffee at middle-of nowhere cafe. tilting-in-calhanSouthwest followed by south then southeast in a big bowstring track through the spits of a rolling-hill pine forest seemingly out of place amongst the winter wheat fields. Sounds good to me. Spy rusted-out skeleton of tractor. Stop. Grab camera. Look for tractor composition. No good light. Shit. Back on state highway pothole 101. Fantastic abandoned welding shop. Yep. Hang a left at at town that time forgot. Spot hundreds of windmills running from way-the-hell-out-there to far-away-by-but-closer-to-here to ultimately end atop a hundreds of feet tall bluff. Wander around 7 or 8 dirt roads looking for a route to the top of said bluff.

Once atop, the clear sky affords views for tens if not hundreds of miles. Pikes Peak is directly west and shrouded in clouds. By the time they reach me, they dapple the deep cerulean Colorado sky with the looming promise of a lost-man’s sunset. The wind is howling and cold. Put on parka and gloves. I can count at least 100 wind turbines scattered all around me. They each consist of a mast at least 150 feet tall with blades two-thirds that height. They are all, from base to blade-tip, painted glossy white. As they spin – faster than I might expect – I can distinguish a high-pitch whine that is presumably the scream of the electricity-generating coil atop the mast from the heavy whoop-whoop-whoop of the blades.

My hero, Don Q, had it right. Giants exist.

Wednesday. 3:36 pm. About an hour and a half until sunset. I am lost.

1 LAR = Low Anterior Resection
2ATRS = Ass Tumor Removal Surgery (aka LAR)

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