The first Motel is a privately owned establishment and cheap, cheap as motel costs go. I might have done better had I searched harder. However, an all night Denny’s is located directly across the street. According to the map I might have to travel one hundred miles therefore I could find hot coffee and breakfast. Been there. Done that.
After checking in I head over to Denny’s. While having dinner I remember the time while stationed in Kansas I took a leave and headed for Colorado. The temperatures were hot in the flatlands. One forgets so quickly. And I headed into the Rockies with not enough warm clothes.
Someplace west of Denver, Georgetown, I think, after having a steak dinner, I asked the lady at the cash register about nearby free camping.
“Oh yes. You are in luck, sir. It’s still early in the season, so there are no camping fees for those motorcyclists,” she said, stepping out from behind her work place. I thought her reference to bikers was unusual, but I didn’t pursue it. Instead, I followed her to the entryway where she points out a road leading from town, climbing into what appeared to be foothills. Perhaps the words Too early should have alerted me, alerted anyone on a motorcycle. But I was tired and i saw no red flags.
After about twelve miles I recognized the free camping area she’d mentioned. Barricades were still in place. There was not enough room or a car to pass, but not a problem for folks like me.
After setting up camp and building a small, Indian-style fire, I took a seat at the table and watched the evening colors gather as the sun made its way toward the horizon. With the sun went the warmth of the day.
As the chill moved in I stoked the fire with what was available. Soon, I was uncomfortably warm on one side and chilled on the other. I moved inside my new North Face tent, stripped down to my underwear and snuggled into a sleeping bag.
The silence was overpowering. There was no sound. Not even an insect. And I must have fallen asleep. I couldn’t recall anything until awoke chilled to the bone, absolutely frozen stiff.
Jerking on my clothing, I stepped on my cold weather suit, boots, helmet, and gloves. Then I wiggled back into my sleeping bag. But I was too late with the clothing. About two o’clock I decided I needed coffee and I needed it NOW.
Hitting the starter, the Goldwing started right off, I turned it so I could use the headlamp. In great haste I packed up and headed back toward Georgetown. I don’t recall the number of the highway. I only remember I turned the wrong way.
Eventually, I found Interstate 70 and proceeded westbound. I found nothing open for more than one-hundred miles, until I found a small cafe in Rifle, somewhere in the Glenwood Canyon.
The waitress, bless her heart, came with a cup and a coffee pot. When she how my hands trembled as I lifted the cup to my lips she left the pot.
^ ^ ^
Lessons learned from comparisons are often embedded for years. Indeed,. I’ve never found a free lunch, but many things I’ve paid for have certainly been worth their cost – the steaming cup of Java the waitress has brought me being one.