Got up at 8:30 after sleeping on and off most of the night. Felt pretty rested though after relaxing the day before. The weather was obviously changing because the wind howled all night, and was coming directly out of the East/ SE... changing periodically. But the thing that didn't change was that it was STRONG! All day... I decided to take mt time getting out of there, and decided to hit the road at noon. I loaded up and walked for a few miles feeling pretty happy about things, especially that I was FINALLY doing this. The day was beautiful despite the headwind. Probably 80- 85 and sunny.
I got 2-3 miles up the road, took a break remembering Chris' system, and shortly after I started again a pair of elderly gentlemen who had been at the campground offered me a ride to Wiggins, which is on I-76. I had no interest in the interstate, nor the 8-mile walk back to meet up with 144; which is part of the American Discovery Trail, so I politely asked to be let out there which was MAYBE 3 miles from where the picked me up! I believe I was seen as insane, but out I went.
Literally 5 minutes later, IF that long, another car stopped to offer a ride all the way to Ft. Morgan. They seemed nice, so I got in and learned that Rolondo is a pastor at a church in "Morgan" (as they called it) and has a radio show on Sundays. What a nice couple they were, and they even let me snap their picture AND dropped me at the library. I came in to play with the internet a bit, then figured out how to get back on course and headed down Main St. toward I-76.
Here's where I MAY have made my first REAL mistake. I was intoxicated by the kindness I had already received that day, and wanted to see if it would continue, so I spontaneously decided to plant myself at the Conoco station next to the I-77 East on- ramp to see if anyone would stop. Noting at 4:30...5:30...6:30. By then I had learned the seriousness of the weather. There was a "Storm Team" from a TV station...in GREEN BAY!...here. They were following some storm chasers and thought there was a good possibility of tornado activity here either that night or the next day. By then the realization that I just wasn't going to be offered a ride hit, and since I'd wasted 3-4 hours sitting, I'd now have to figure something out in Ft. Morgan, or on the fringes.
I had found out from the Storm Team that there was a park on the other side of I-76, so I hoofed it there and discovered that there were hiking trails that went along the S. Platte River. I followed the trails, then quickly found a suitable place to exit them and hunt around in the bush to find a place I could be concealed, and shielded from at least some of the wind that was still blowing...
Once I found the site, I quickly set up and got inside. After I chatted w/ Laina and while I was updating my journal, a FIERCE lightning storm came through. There was VERY little rain, which surprised me, but the lightning was constant to the point it was as if I were inside a strobe light! Keep in mind...this is my first night solo stealth camping, so I had no idea what to expect.
Thankfully the storm was over quickly, and just as I was dozing off...VOICES!!! Are you KIDDING me? Who the Hell would be out on a night like that...except me, of course...
That spooked me a bit, because about the LAST thing I wanted was to deal with drunken vagrants or teenagers, so I hopped out of the tent and eventually deduced that they were probably up on the hiking trails. Why??? Who knows. I can tell you this though, that my initial fear and anxiety is now quickly turning to something akin to anger to solve the problems. I was more pissed off that these people were keeping me from sleeping and ready to deal with it to get some sleep! That's a good thing in my estimation.
I finally got to sleep and heard NOTHING the rest of the night...