I'm in Wyoming! Hi folks & welcome back to the walk. I feel like Survivor Man after this week on the road. The week began easily enough with a short walk to Fort Collins where I met the pastor at the Presbyterian Church & then bumped into the assistant priest at the Catholic Church. Fr Peter was a young man from Poland & after I'd extended an invitation to pray for unity he extended an invitation to join him for a quick dinner at the 'Outback Steakhouse', an Australian themed restaraunt. On the menu apparently Tasmania is famous for its Buffalo Wings?? So I ordered them. They were great. Still bemused though that I grew up in Tasmania & yet had never heard of buffalo wings as a local dish :-) I eat very slowly & Fr Peter had to return to the church before I was finished so he left me to eat as much as I wanted until he returned 2hrs later. By the time he returned I'd managed to finish my dinner. As I said, I eat slowly. The great thing though was that in that time Fr Peter had organised for me to stay with a young couple, Robert & Melanie. They had a beautiful home & an inspiring faith. They also had two overly energetic cats that took a liking to my bed, my bag, my boots, my socks, my gloves, my feet, my hands, etc. I enjoyed my stay there! I originally thought that the highway I was following traced around the base of the Rockies but I soon discovered that from Fort Collins it headed straight up & over. Ten miles out of Fort Collins I discovered that I was walking without my wallet. I kept walking & tried to trace back over the previous day & came to the conclusion that it was in Fr Peter's car. I stopped at a service station & called the church office & after a quick search they found it. Thankfully, Melanie was heading out along the highway to her work place, a Benedictine Abbey in the middle of nowhere, later in the day. The Abbey was to be my destination as well with nothing around for 30km either side. Melanie pulled over with my wallet in the early afternoon & I continued on up into the mountains. The landscape was unbelievable & the air very cool. I could see snow falling on the distant peaks & as the sun set I had wide open wilderness, herds of dear grazing at regualr intervals, no traffic & all the time in the world to pray. It was... complete :-) I arrived at the Benedictine Abbey at 8pm to a retreat centre full of very motherly women very willing to take care of a guy who'd just walked & prayed 55km! I was mothered to death. I didn't even get to met the Benedictine sisters until mass the next morning. The women on retreat fed me, set me up for the night & topped up my supplies for the next days walk. I felt very loved! After sleeping the night on a make-shift bed made of cushioned dining chairs & early morning mass I headed further through the mountains to the Wyoming border. The wind was incredibly strong & soooo cold. I was stopped dead in my tracks a number of times by the powerful winds & despite wearing a balaclava I had to stop & turn away from the fridgid wind a number of times. At 2:30pm I stopped into a roadside store & found that the temperature at that time was negative 2deg & the wind speed around 90km/hr. I grabbed my camera out & did a quick dialouge on the 'current conditions' but it's a little diffcult to watch because I'm shivering so much that the shots a little shakey! Realistic effect though. I entered the town of Laramie at around 8:30pm & was met by the local Marshall, Brian Fritzen who did the usual line of questioning & request for i.d. but then did the unusual thing of paying for me to stay the night in a motel. He simply paid for my night & wished me all the best. As simple as that. There had been weather warnings for the past week about a large cold front & low pressure system moving through so I had thought about staying in Laramie for a few days until it passed. The next morning though I worked out that I had just enough time up my sleve to make it to Rock River, a day & a halfs walk away. I had a quick stop in at the Laramie Christian Centre with the beautiful Pastor Allen, Joyce & Joanne & then hit the road again. As I left Laramie a friendly dog run up to me for a pat & belly rub but then wouldn't leave me! I tried evrything to get him to go home but he simply looked at me with puppy dog eyes & continued to follow me. Out on the highway he had no road-sense & almost caused a few accidents so it was getting a little serious. I ended up stopping a passing truck & asking the guy to take him back before something happened but he was reluctant to take him onboard. I scolded him (the dog, that is) & tried other means to get him to go but he kept on following. After 5 miles the somewhat inevitable happened when he ran out across the road in front of a speeding truck who ploughed him down withbrutl force. It was deflatting to witness & I was then left with the grim task of removing his body from the road. Somewhat of a senseless waste. I walked pretty quietly from then on. I found a place to pitch my tent for the night & after some reading & dinner I drifted off to sleep. And dreamed about walking around the world - funny that. Today I hastily completed the rest of the trip into Rock River with the approaching cold front looming. Once in town I found that there were no churches & the motel had closed for the off-season. No sooner had I thought, "I wasn't particularly looking forward to sleeping in my tent again tonight" and a voice called out form across the road. Actually, it was from the pub to be exact. Meet Forest, new resident of Rock River, bar tender & a very hospitable bloke who has lent me his caravan until the storm passes over! And the storm has now hit. There's around 10cm of snow already & could be up to 30cm by tomorrow morning. Pending conditions I may stay here for an extra day until it's a tad safer to continue. Oh, & Forest's caravan, it's not a caravan, it's a house on wheels - it's enormous!! Beats my tent hands down. So here I am, now only a couple of days away from reigning in those extra 15days in order to cross the Canadian border on time & enjoying watching my 1st snow fall in 14months. The Lord continues to provide at every step & after a great talk with Fr Peter back in Fort Collins I'm all inspired again (actually, I hadn't realised how much more inspired I could be). Please continue (or begin) to pray for unity! Love & truth. I hope you have a great week, God bless & may his peace be with ya! Sam.
"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer." Ps 18:2