Day 43, ice cream in the desert and my Coke moment

I am horizontal in Ely. I'm reading The Road and I've got women's synchronized diving on mute in the background. The feed is from Salt Lake. In between dives, we have commercials for one stop missionary clothes shops and for stool softener.

Ely is an old western town of the type that might warm Wim Wenders' heart. I'm staying in the Hotel Nevada, once the State's tallest buildings, and as I look down at the drag I see cowboys, bikers, the downtrodden, and the odd tour group. The wind kicks up and a tumbleweed or Starbucks cup floats down an alley.

I had a great bit of coffee cake and an espresso for breakfast in Baker.
The guy there brought me cream with my coffee and I tried it out. Espresso and cream is fantastic!

I had another long stretch between water and people. So I got to singing. Home on the Range is a really annoying song. For starters, I can't see any deer or antelope -- standing anyways. Secondly, a discouraging word is seldom heard because nothing is heard. It's just you, thinking to yourself, often discouragingly.

In the middle of the dryness, a bar. I had a real Coke moment here. I open the fly screen, I'm covered in sweat, and I plunk some change on the counter.

"Make it a Coca Cola."

I gulp it down, plunk the empty can on the bar, and realize that I don't really like Coke. My commercial was ruined. And if Coke is America in a can, what does this say about me?

The lady who ran the bar was lovely. She gave me a Snickers, filled my water bottles up with wonderful tasting water, and she gave me a chocolate ice-cream cone. I'm much more of a chocolate ice-cream fan.

I've spent much of the day reading. Still, I did read outside and chat with a man who owns the vitamin shop down the street.

"Man what you're doing is crazy. But you gotta have your hobbies. You gotta have that. What's my hobby? Tattoos. See?"

This is actually not so unreasonable.

"A hobby's got to have meaning. Every one of these tattoos has meaning. I did some of these on my forearms. I designed the rest."

I don't quite know what the meaning of a snake and a wolf fighting under the full moon is (avoid the full moon?), but I nodded as this all made sense to him and as I expect people to nod when I talk about biking.

Two sad gamblers, a man and a woman not in love, sat in the booth once removed from mine at the casino's 24 hour restaurant. We were in section 1, Dana's section, although judging from the artwork it belonged entirely to Dale Ernhardt. I ordered the bbq pork and shrimp. When the treff was gone, I sat listening to the gamblers talk. Faintly, in the background, the sound of country and fruit machines clanking. Dana left me the jug of coffee.

"She had my system beat."
"I know what was that?"
"Pour me some coffee. Every move I made, every card I played, she knew it. It's not my week."
"No it's not. And you're driving us back."
"We've got Reno or Vegas it's your pick."
"Vegas is closer, but you know."

I spent the afternoon reading. I did approach a girl my age who was staring intensely at a wooden replica of a cowboy.

I begin:

"You know that's 16th century."
"Is it now?"
"Don't touch. It's priceless."
"Oh I won't. What's your name?"
"I'm Richard. Richard Nixon. And you are?"
"Charles Bronson."
"Charles? That's a funny name for a --"
"Well I'll be the judge of that."

Charlie and I get to talking, and then her party headed over.

"Well, if you're out and about, I'll be over at the low roller's table by that woman with the gray hair."

And I might be. Currently, I'm smuggly wrapped in my blanket and in slight awe at this fact: I have one week to go.

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