In the morning we left in a jarringly quick way given the meandering night; stopping only at McDonalds. Micheal was coming down from his adrenaline or maybe just non-sleep and handed me the wheel of his Grand Am just as we climbed past Park City. He slept most of the way to Cheyenne and I drove through the Wyoming waste on a warm day with freakishly persistent greenery and a soundtrack of dudebro rot that did at least include System Of A Down who I dig fuck what you think. The Wyoming stretch of I-80 was surreal as always; well filled with Denver-Salt Lake & Midwest-West Coast traffic in spite of the complete absence of locals. The biggest city in Wyoming is this transitory snake, and I reflected on how much the pulse of my own North Platte Ne depended on passers through on the interstate or UP railroad.
I reflected on this even more when we stopped in Rawlins for gas and lunch; and also so Micheal could go on Craigslist and attempt to trade his Grand-Am for an RV on the spot. It was very quiet and there was wind. He found no local biters but did make a potential contact in Sheridan. I informed him that this was very far away, and this disappointed him, though Very Far Away means nothing in Wyoming and I'm sure there was a childlike vagueness in his understanding of what I meant by it.
There were two TV's in the truck stop. One played a high school football game from somewhere in the Wasatch Front suburbs. We had crossed millions of acres to reach a point where Salt Lake was still The City. The other TV played pro rodeo because of course. This however was quickly replaced by a Broncos game. It was Sunday; the place with the lonely locals one finds in any rural truck stop, trying to live vicariously though eccentrics between cities; two dollars a pop for the right to loiter.
The warmth held until Laramie. There I saw the fog over the last mountains before the plains returned and considered taking the 2-lane cutoff towards Ft. Collins to avoid it. But on the other hand fuck that shit because driving through fog is awesome. I used to find it intolerably frightening but now I find it awesome. The climb off the Laramie mts; a stray arm off the westward veering main trunk of the Rockies, is always Tolkienesque and of course even more so now with all this dope-ass magic mist about. I could see well enough to maintain emergency-brake space from our neighbors and maintained a speed of about 70. The fog kept all the way down to Cheyenne and it was so sweet; except it was 45 degree when we got there, and I was in a t-shirt.
At night, when one comes into the only settlement larger than a village from eternity away, the lights of Cheyeene look impressive. On this gray day on the edge of town it was the raw, isolated grimy and mercenary aspects of the place that shone through. Micheal needed to take a leak. He limped in fact from the pain in his kidneys and spoke of visiting a hospital upon reaching Denver to have them checked; though this plan was later forgotten in his word salad of calling women, making jokes about sexually humiliating women and so on and so forth. I was worried about the temperature for when I reached the Denver streets though I knew the South Platte Valley forms a protective bowl between the mountains and high plains for its downtown.
It was sunset by the state line and full dark by FoCo. Micheal was wide awake now, his dude bro ipod replaced by local pop radio that he took to at a level which surprised me. He inquired me about the Colorado weed laws and when I informed him that you can't smoke & drive or smoke right there on the sidewalk etc he seemed angered and expected me to explain these outrages. This I could not of course do. But I did point out that one could after all walk into a dispensary and buy precise measures in sealed jars or fantastic forms from professional handlers to openly own for oneself, and that this would always feel liberating for any smoker over twenty five. These professionals to be sure are occasionally still a bit self-consciously smug about being such. A few are as obnoxious as a 90's acupuncturist or microbrewer. Denver has always been a magnet for such boutique snobbery though this is a forgivable trifle in the end. Micheal asked me where the dispensaries were and was strangely disappointed by my answer of everywhere.
We arrived on the city along the Park Avenue spur into downtown. Micheal barely avoided homicide while both trying to drive through Bronco fans and chatting with a woman in Golden who wanted to meet at a hotel. He'd forgotten about seeing a doctor for his kidneys and was back to perpetually dosing himself with soda, coffee and adrenaline with no actual water. He had trouble finding a parking spot and seemed to blame me when he wondered into a mildly shady looking hood along 24th Avenue. I reminded him that I was interested in the weed farm job he had spoken of and he'd said that he would have to wait three days now as we had arrived late. I recognized the shiftiness of the answer though I did expect it mainly. I told him to call me in three days then which I did not expect and he has indeed not called to this very now. We have parted ways and perhaps he himself was conned after all. Perhaps he is dead; eaten by matriarchal pagans, it happens sometimes.
I found some fellow travelers on the 16th Street Mall. Dusty clothes, bandannas, pocket knives, face tattoos, dreadlocks dogs and donated food. Hippie and punk mated into one twenty-first century being; a union of American streams as old as Natty Bumppo. I chatted them up on the knowledge of survival here and they were good folk happy to help. They gave me a dab of hash which was very strong and along with a pint of PBR I had bought I soon found myself lost in a city I was not unfamiliar with. In my haze I had forgotten that the downtown streets here are slanted at the angle of the river while neighborhood streets are terrestrially straight. Even in the dead of night it was at least much warmer than it had been in Cheyenne, the bowl was doing its job. I wondered past the Co Capitol and the Greyhound station and the theater block four or five times before finally finding the traveling crew again at about four in the morning. They were happy both to see me and to share a blanket.