The next morning, Jack chatted with Mahk over breakfast and got Kelby’s address. At first, Vegas was going to drive Jack up to Fort Collins, but at the last minute they found that the truck wouldn’t start. It would take a day or more to get the truck repaired yet again, and Jack wasn’t willing to wait, so he decided to ride his bike for the sixty-mile journey from Boulder to Fort Collins.
Mahk was very good about providing Jack with directions and information about which roads would be the best. [click each strip to enlarge and to learn the pathway to happiness here on earth]
Then, Jack spent some time rearranging his duffle bag so that he could carry everything comfortably during the ride. His magic beans were still tucked safely in the SIDI cleat bag in his pocket.
With a wave and a thank you, Jack set out on what he hoped was the last leg of his journey to find Kelby in the great mountains of the west. The ride to Fort Collins was very flat compared to the mountains looming to Jack’s left. He passed easily through Longmont, Berthoud, and Loveland, taking time to stop and buy food and drinks when he needed to. The money Jack had earned over the long winter months made life so much easier now.
Not everything was easier, however. Jack had to deal with the awkward duffle bag slung over his shoulder, and he had to keep shifting its position on his back as he rode along. The strap was cutting into his shoulder, and the bag left a huge sweaty spot on his back. Jack also found that he missed his old bicycle, which he had lost in Iowa City months ago. Jack’s old bike was a nice, lightweight racing bike that fit him perfectly, but it was long gone. The heavy clunker he was riding now probably weighed three times as much.
By mid afternoon, Jack had reached Fort Collins, and after some brief confusion, he managed to figure out Mahk’s directions, which led him to
Kelby’s doorstep. At least Jack hoped it was Kelby’s doorstep. The address matched the one Mahk had given him, but no one was home.
Rather than attract attention by waiting on the driveway, Jack decided to ride around a little bit and find a nice park where he could relax. Then he could come back in a few hours and hopefully find Kelby at home. But just as Jack turned to leave, a cyclist coasted up the driveway and stopped right in front of Jack.
“I’m looking for Kelby,” Jack said tentatively
“You’ve found him,” said the cyclist. “What can I do for you?”
Jack let out a sigh of relief. His quest was at an end. “I’ve brought you the magic beans from Sister Kim,” explained Jack as he pulled the SIDI cleat bag from his pocket.
Kelby hesitated. “The wha?”
Jack looked at the bag and then at Kelby and realized how ridiculous he must have seemed, riding a clunker bike and just showing up in Kelby’s driveway, announcing that he had brought magic beans from Sister Kim. Then he looked back at the bag again and saw how beat up it was. Jack had been traveling with it in his pocket for almost eight months, through all sorts of weather and adventures. Today’s ride provided just one more set of foul conditions for the beans, soaking in Jack’s sweat from the bicycle ride.
Kelby smiled and shook his head. “You know what? Keep the beans. Sister Kim sent me a letter last fall saying that you would arrive sooner or later with coffee beans, but I think you should just keep those.”
Then Kelby continued, “Look, I just finished a training ride and I have to get cleaned up to go see someone about buying a school bus. Come on in and I’ll show you where you can put your stuff."
to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]