While entering the on-ramp to I-70 east, in the ski town of Silverthorne, I picked up a hitcher. His name was Rocky, and he was going to “the 25″, as he put it.
I knew he must be from California.” I’m from the Bay Area”, he said. My father is a welder.
Wow, I said. You should be a welder. They make sixty bucks an hour.
“Nah”, he said. ” I don’t like getting burned”.
Whatever, I thought. Since we live in Colorado, the conversation turned to pot.
“I was arrested for seventeen pounds of pot, but my public defender got the charge dismissed on a 995 motion”
” I was in this town called Kremmling. Slept in a caboose that they were turning into a museum. It was cold.”
“The security guard didn’t harass you ?”, I asked.
“Nah. I was offered a job at a gun shop. The owner asked me if I was a felon. Didn’t take the job though. I once was handling a gun when I was growing up- and it went off. The safety was on. It blew a hole in the wall. I don’t like guns.
“I’ve lived all over: New Jersey-near Morristown-also Key West, in the Carribean near the Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico. There’s like seven women to one man there.”
Really ? I asked. After looking it up, it’s more like ten percent more women to men, after age fifty….
Rocky said he had lived in a basement apartment for sixteen hundred a month in Breckenridge, another mountain town. He said he led a construction crew “of twenty-five”.
I just got back from Mexico, he said. My sister [ or daughter perhaps ? ] lives in a town called Amelio Carranza, near Veracruz[ Mexico]. I visited Belize. Nothing but dirt roads.
“Everybody speaks English there”, I chimed in.
I got stung by a fire ant in Galveston, he said.
The land there gets swamped and all the sewage pollutes the ground. The fire ants carry disease. I almost lost my arm. The doctor made me sign a release that said if they couldn’t cure me, they’d have to take off my arm.
We drove on. He talked about shipping pot through the mail. ” You have to vacuum-pack the pot, then wipe the package with alcohol. Then you add a sheet of Febreze, and then vacuum-pack the package again. Then wipe the package again. ”
Just don’t ship Priority Mail, he added.
“What about FedEx ? “, I asked.
“No. They X-Ray all their packages”.
I made a mental note of that.
As we approached Denver, I asked where he wanted to be left off. “Downtown?”
“No, just south of town.”
Great, I thought. We already passed C-470, which avoids Denver. I ended up driving east, then south, then east, in a stepwise fashion. Just south of Denver, we joined Littleton Boulevard, going east.
Suddenly, just east of Broadway Street, Littleton Boulevard became a dinky residential street.
Suddenly, we were in Cherry Hills Village. Horse country. Median household income: $190,000-230,000. Stop signs and roundabouts.
“Roundabouts are just people trying to be like Europeans”, said Rocky.
I slogged mightily through the obstacle course of stop signs and made it back to I-25.
There is a God, I thought.
We zipped on down I-25 south, for twenty minutes. I pulled off the highway in Castle Rock. He got out at the large anonymous gas station there. He went behind the building, and was gone.
Photo of Loveland Pass: (c) copyright Dan Townsell 2015
Photo of Castle Rock: Wikipedia