How A 3200-Mile Loop Became a 4000-Mile Crazy 8 (The End)

Birthday post card

When I wished Forrest Fenn a Happy Birthday, I mentioned I was in Cody.  He asked about my search and by Saturday, when I was halfway up/down the Gallatin, he invited to meet him for a cup of coffee.  Wow, I thought.

Now, I’d told my husband I’d be home by Friday, unless I found the chest and needed to swing by Santa Fe to return a bracelet to Mr.Fenn.  Hmm.

I could do both if I knocked off a visit to a hot springs and a great restaurant I had reservations at.  Hmm.

I’d also brought my book hoping to get it signed if the opportunity presented itself.  Hmm.

“Life is short and getting shorter” said Mr. Fenn.  Hmm.

Mr. W’s phone was off on Sunday.  By the time I got ahold of him, I’d already flown by Billings, Casper, Laramie, and was maybe nearing Denver.

“Cool,” he said.  I told him he was invited, too, but he’s still busy supporting my hobbies.

Serendipity.  A southern suburb with a gas station, a car wash, and across the street, a great steak salad for a late lunch.  I didn’t recognize anything of the Denver I knew in the mid-80’s.

IMG_0567Back on the road, it was dark when I passed through the mountains north and east of Santa Fe.  I had reservations on the west side and thought I’d have no trouble finding the Fenn estate the next morning.

Wrong.  I plugged in the address but it wanted to send me about 12 miles back east of town.  Time was getting short, so I stopped at a place I was sure could help:  The Collected Works Bookstore.

Fortunately, the guy at the desk knew it was only a couple miles away, and gave me a start in the right direction.  Museum Hill would be ‘too far’.  That’s where I turned around, but at least I’d passed the correct address.

(Was anyone else a bit claustrophobic with the narrow streets, adobe walls, and one way streets in old Santa Fe, or is it just that I’m used to seeing horizons?)

I turned in the drive and pushed a button.  The gate opened and I pulled forward.  I grabbed my book and camera, and hoped the big dog was friendly.

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Yes, those are Post-Its in my book.

Mr. Fenn met me at the door, and I was escorted into the big room, familiar because I’d seen Dal’s pictures:  the wooden Indian by the fireplace, the ancient books on the shelves, the buffalo skull.  Bells.  Baskets.  Beautiful things.

He was curious about my search;  I was curious about everything.  The time flew.  Then, I took a couple pictures, he signed my book, and a “homely girl” got a kiss.  No.  How does it go?   I mean,  smile.  (Is it too late for braces?)

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I headed home with my treasures.  Amarillo, Tulsa, St. Louis, Bloomington…..

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Friday evening, I was greeted with a vase full of roses, happy chickens, and fresh peaches on the tree.  More treasures.  They don’t all fit in a chest.

Life is good.IMG_0608

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