July 13, 2006
It was refreshingly chilly in the mountains last night, and I was up and out of Guffey relatively early.
The weather was perfect and the riding was scenic, but I was feeling dehydrated a little too early in the day. It was an empty stretch of mountain road, void of public places to get water.
After a while I came upon a structure with some gallon jugs outside. I’m not even 100% sure it was potable, but I drank it anyway. After that there was some more long, steady climbing, but it wasn’t so bad.
Eventually at around 11:30am I came to Hartsell, and stopped outside of a store for some drinks and snacks. I was there for a little more than an hour, mostly out front of the store on a bench by my bike. When I went to leave, I noticed that my digital camera was missing from my handlebar bag. I was certain I had it with me when I rode into town.
I’d left it in plain sight and assumed someone had taken it. I was furious. I’m pretty sure it was one of only two guys who could have stolen it – a guy who actually works at the store, and another who was making a delivery – because they were the only ones near my bike, and the camera would have been visible to them. Usually I put the camera out of sight when I go inside a store, but this morning after the mountainous stretch and dehydration, I just plain forgot.
Hartsell is a really small place, without a local sheriff or anything, so all I could do was buy a disposable camera (At a different store), and ride on away. I was easily upset enough to have made a big scene right then and there, which would have been the most likely way to possibly recover the camera, but since I’m traveling alone on a bicycle, with miles and miles to the next towns, I thought I’d better not.
The road to the next town, Fairplay, was beautifully scenic, and I even saw some bison, but I was so upset over this camera issue that it really ruined my day, as you can imagine. It’s not the monetary value ($200 including the memory card), that upset me, but the fact that someone had the audacity to take it right from under my nose. Granted I was making some assumptions here, but I was certain my camera was in the mesh of my handlebar bag, and it doesn’t come out by accident.
Most importantly I’ve now lost the last four days of pictures – some of the best yet as I approached the mountains. But I guess they’re gone now, and the continuity of having photos for every day of my trip is gone now too. That’s what really hurts. Fortunately I swapped the memory card the day before I reached Pueblo, or else I’d really be out of luck. I’ve become so used to a digital camera that now it’s hard to go back to disposable 35mm’s, and I think I’ll suck it up and buy a new camera at the next good store I find.
Then there’s the whole “reaffirmation of the good in society” thing that’s been going on here on this trip, and one piece of crap person had to go ahead and tarnish that. Also there’s the whole “I told you so” factor from my mom, who always imagines the worst. Whenever I wouldn’t get around to posting pictures for a while, she’d automatically assume “Did somebody steal your camera?! Are you sure?!” “Yeah mom, I’m sure, none of the bad guys you see on TV have come to get me,” I’d say. Well now she has a little standing room to argue with and make those conversations more wearisome.
When I got here to Fairplay I went to the police station and filed a report, more so out of trying to make myself feel better than any hope of actually getting the camera back. Since it wasn’t quite a “It could have been anybody (In a crowded place)” situation, the deputy was really helpful, and actually went to Hartsell right away to ask around.
So this evening I’m naturally feeling depressed and negative, and am staying here in Fairplay for the one in a million chance something turns up. Life is good… even though I don’t have pictures of some of it.