There will be no one to save you in the event of an encounter. Well, at least that is what a Ms. Jess Johnson has told me as she quickly taps the keys of her laptop and speaker phone Skypes a hotel reservationist in Oregon, who by all accounts has no idea what is about to descend upon his little oasis of overnight lodging. Confused yet? Well, you should be because I am sitting right next to this Louis Lane of sorts, but she prefers an association with a TV character by the name of Scully.

Jess Johnson is the operations manager for the Mutual UFO Network and is currently dealing with a CAT 3 deployment. Apparently this is a big deal in some social and professional networks where military talk is thrown around with little regard for the layperson. I being lay and very wet behind the ears when it comes to UFO sightings. Regardless, CAT  3 deployment sounds really, really cool. So cool, that I have already asked her five times if could be the one she deploys to research this particular encounter. Apparently you need to be a specialist with something called “credentials” to be deployed. I don’t know what that means but I am currently deploying my internet skills to research these “credentials,” so I can get back to her and be deployed in CAT 3 style. What is a synonym for deployed? She says my one encounter with an unknown burning orb is not worthy of specialist status. In fact, she has shrugged off my encounter entirely as a result of an indiscretion prior to the citing. Confused yet? Well let me explain.

I was on the San Juan River in late April partaking in all the usual social experiments associated with floating and boating in the desert. That being said, I also had all my devices about me to witness something of this nature. It was impossible not to notice, and I have a partner in crime to back me up on this one, a Ms. Katie Folz. The night of the sighting we were gathered in a tent about to drift off to a sleepier place when what appeared to be a flashlight adorned mischief-maker was approaching the tent. We pulled back the flap to alert the approaching hooligan that there was no room for his “Tom Foolery” at this late hour. To our surprise, there were no chinanagons being had and the light we were witnessing was actually coming from the sky and dropping very rapidly toward the canyon’s skyline like a huge shooting star. By huge, I mean gigantic. Apocalyptic. So big that I assumed a large shock wave was about to wash over the canyon and explode our meager nylon shelter into a burning orb of its own. Jess (UFO specialist) says I have watched Armageddon one to many times, but I say there is some truth in any big budget, Hollywood movie. Why else would they spend the money or go to all the trouble of depicting an asteroid if there wasn’t some truth to the shock wave or the panic that it could produce? I was terrified and threw my arm over my tent mate in a feeble attempt to shield us from the cosmic rays that were about to descend upon us. The shock wave never happened, and I obviously didn’t find myself in that burning ball of nylon that seemed so imminent at the time. There was no Armageddon, and I was left with only expletives leaving my mouth as I attempted to piece together what had just happened.

No one really paid much attention to Katie and I’s story the next morning as we huddled over breakfast. I don’t know if it was my bag of costuming or Katie’s cosmic awareness that wasn’t inspiring confidence among our river companions, but the group seemed to have determined that a story of this nature was expected from characters such as us. We saw something, but the truth of the matter will forever lie in that gray area where even a character such as myself could become a UFO specialist. I am working on my resume.

Jess’s latest case, and I am really excited to say, cannot be discussed. It is classified. I am not privy to most of the details, but I know a CAT 3 sighting means that there was direct contact with an alien. Apparently most sightings happen over the weekend, late at night and in Texas. Possibly grouped around such social experiments as football games and keg parties. Do aliens only visit drunk white people below the Mason Dixon Line? There is apparently quite a screening process to weed out all of the false sightings, for there is a large budget associated with this line of work. Jess is salaried and works the logistics associated with deploying the researchers. These researchers are people with actual credentials, educations and the tools necessary to study the details surrounding an alien observation. Aliens abduct us and we send out these people to figure out if the abductees are full of it. It is a lengthy process, and I am currently a cog in this very bizarre wheel. Check out mufon.com for more info.

Are you kidding me . . . she is now Skypeing with a friend that has identified a whole new city in Southern Mexico. Her friend is an archaeologist and I know feel like I am Indiana Jones. Not that I have a whip, leather jacket or a cool hat, but there is some really cool (expletive) happening in Salida right now.

As you have probably figured out, I am in Salida after biking from Boulder in a two-day push. The days were long and there are roughly six passes between Boulder and Salida. I guess if sustainability were an easy thing, everyone would be doing it? The show was last night, and I think it was the best one yet. There was a large man who elbowed a small child. This was just one of the highlights that occurred after I dropped a Yakima door prize at my feet and told the audience the first to grab it could walk away the new owner of bike rack. I don’t know the moral to this story, but maybe it could be that it pays to be bigger, faster and more likely to throw an elbow. I don’t usually promote this sort of behavior but the audience was all about it. I had to come up with a variety of questions to give away the other door prizes, so I flipped through the FIBark booklet looking for an appropriate inquisition. I came upon a vintage photo of Roy Hicks who is a legend around here for winning the annual hill climb over a ridiculous amount of years. In the photo, he is wearing what I would consider the shortest pair of shorts possible without being put on a city’s sex offenders list. Naturally I found this entertaining and thought I would ask the audience “in Roy Hick’s photo that appears on page seven of the FIBark program, what is an appropriate adjective to describe his shorts?” I was expecting someone to raise their hand or blurt out “really short shorts” and this correct answer would then entitle them to a Mountainfilm Kleen Kanteen water bottle. I called upon the first girl to raise her hand and she informed me that they were “do me shorts.” The crowd loved it and I am starting to think small town Colorado harbors the crazies. Maybe that is why I live in a town of 150 residents. Awwwwwww home. I wish I was there at this very moment swinging on my front porch, and taking it all in. It would be a brief moment, for as I have already said, there is some really cool (expletive) happening here in Salida.

About to go run a race. Wish me luck.

Drew

PS more photos coming soon . . .

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