Worth the Wait

Joey here.

Sitting where our right-side rear-view mirror used to be.

By my tail, there lies a tale.

We had the mirror when we left Fort Collins this morning, bound for Sterling, a hundred miles east.

The weather was fine in the agricultural flatlands.
Many of the roads were (like this one) excellent.
Thousands of sheep enjoyed breakfast al fresco.
Vast fields were dotted with oil derricks. Most were not running. Will they restart when oil prices rise?

A car pulled off the road a quarter mile after passing us. The driver got out, placed something on the pavement, then drove away before we could come alongside.

The kind driver left these for us!
Look closely. You can see we still had our right-side rear-view mirror.

We fought headwinds and crosswinds. Nothing unusual in that.

This great road was near Briggsdale. Other stretches were crumbly from pounding by heavy trucks and farm equipment.
Variation on a theme.

Then we encountered something new.

Après moi, le déluge!
The wind became ferocious. Like something from a monster movie, thousands of tumbleweeds bounced across the road, bombarding us, hitting Jeffrey in the face, getting stuck in our wheels and frame.
In the photo, they look ghostly. They were real.

The sky darkened. The wind went wild. Jeffrey had to lean into crosswinds to keep the trike upright. He slowed down and moved toward the motor lane, afraid that we could be pushed over the edge of the built-up highway.

88 miles from Fort Collins, we stopped.

Topsoil was blowing off farm fields. The cloud thickened after Jeffrey took the photo. Cars drove into it. Their lights disappeared in the brown dust. Jeffrey couldn’t tell whether we could get through it in the time that he could pedal while holding his breath.

Jeffrey waved at drivers emerging from the cloud, to ask how wide it was. When finally a driver slowed and opened her window, the howling wind drowned Jeffrey’s words. The driver said something and drove away.

The wind shifted. The cloud moved closer. Jeffrey felt in his pocket for a Covid mask. He wore a shirt, pocket vest, windbreaker, and safety vest; the cold had penetrated them. The wind would have overturned the trike if he had gotten off to retrieve his down jacket from our bag.

Jeffrey waved at the eastbound drivers who passed every minute or two, hoping for at least an informative call from the other side of the cloud. All sped past us, disappearing into murk. Jeffrey began to shiver. He thought of huddling in the ditch beside the road to wait out the wind, but he didn’t dare get off the trike.

A pickup truck passed us, went into the dust cloud, then reversed and backed up to us.

Jeffrey reflexively started to get off the trike to speak to the driver. As he lifted his weight from the seat, the wind overturned the trike with Jeffrey on it. We all were dumped into a ditch.

The right-side rear-view mirror snapped off.

Warren helped Jeffrey get up.

Warren was born and raised nearby. He runs a millet processing plant.

Some consider Jeffrey to be ox-like. Warren is twice as strong as Jeffrey. With a single effort, he lifted me and our trike and all our gear, into the bed of his truck. He lashed everything in place and told Jeffrey to hop in.

We’re lucky that Warren stopped. He used to stop for everyone. Some bad experiences made him wary. For us, he took a chance.

Jeffrey asked to be taken through the dust cloud so we could continue our journey. Warren said this was not biking weather. He had immediate business nearby, but insisted on driving us to Sterling, a dozen miles down the road. It was another dozen miles for him to return.

Jeffrey is a country boy too. He never experienced winds like this. He never saw a suffocating dust cloud. He was blown off 2-wheel bikes in NYC and (on the 2011 Ride to Postville) in Indiana. He never imagined being blown over on our trike.

On the drive to Sterling, through dust and rain and wind, Jeffrey and Warren had a wide-ranging talk. They agree that we shouldn’t have to choose between helping strangers and providing for our neighbors. Our country has money enough to do the right thing. How to make it happen is the puzzle.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have time to work out a solution. Because he helped us, Warren was late for his business rendezvous. After he unloaded our gear, he had to get going.

Warren is a super guy.

We hope Warren sees this and shows it to his girlfriend:

We didn’t meet anyone all day, until we met Warren.

Warren was worth the wait.

And now it’s snowing.

7 thoughts on “Worth the Wait

  1. Oh dear oh dear what a terrible ride! So glad Warren came along to the rescue. Our western weather is fiendish right now—late spring, avalanches, floods, storms. Be careful tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s