*Chapter II*

Ian and Jesse head to the town of Weston—The brewery is busy—They try other locations—Free beer—A young boy enjoys many things—The brewery is still busy—Jesse enjoys enlightenment for a brief moment—They play pool—At last they eat and drink—On the way back to the campsite, Ian becomes a gate crasher—Rest

There's something about a tent that makes the world feel right. Every time I pull the zipper to open my tent, I hear wood crackling in a fire and I can see green pines reaching to the sky. I feel mobile, as if I were following herds of reindeer. There's an emptiness and a peace, like living in a valley where the winds don't buffet anyone, but can only look down from above.

Ian and I relaxed in our tents for some time, easing the aches that come from over 50 miles of urging on a steel machine. But we couldn't just leave it at that; for all the comforts of the tent, the real joy of life is mingling with others, enjoying a beverage and a meal, and seeing what might happen if you let other people in.

One of the big attractions of Weston Bend park is the view over the Missouri River to Kansas; I've included a picture before, but I think Ian and I managed to visit the park this year at the real peak of fall color, so here's another photo from the viewpoint we visited on our way to the city.

We next rolled our way down to the trail that leads to the city; Ian at a breakneck pace, with me following at a still reckless but less death-defying speed. We met the trail and crunched through fallen leaves to Weston. I'm not sure what the draw was that particular weekend, but it was fairly busy in the city; I guess other times I came on weekdays, so this was my first experience on a Saturday night. When we got to the brewery we found the restaurant completely packed; neither of us was all that hungry, I think, so we decided to enjoy the beer and float around town.

I'd only been to the main restaurant before, but this time we went into the bowels of the brewery. It felt like a catacombs; we went down two or three flights into the earth to find a cavernous beer hall. We ordered a Dropkick or an Irish Cream; I know I had both that night, several times over. Off in a corner there was some sort of wedding reception, and well-dressed folks were stumbling in and out of the mouth of the cavern all night.

Then I came up with an excuse, we put in a reservation and actually headed out to Weston to see the nightlife.

Weston is a small town, preserved because of some fun geological and riparian changes. I'm totally running off memory (you can Google it as well as I can, if you are interested) in saying this, but if I remember correctly it was one of the earliest settlements west of the Mississippi. It was just starting to bustle when the Missouri suddenly changed its course and Weston was left without a useful port.

Because it became less attractive, it didn't grow like, say, Leavenworth on the Kansas side of the river. Otherwise maybe there'd be a fancy fort and prison on both sides of the Missouri. But as things turned out, the town didn't grow and the old buildings were pretty much forgotten about rather than knocked down for more useful and less quaint things, as they might otherwise have been.

So Weston remains quaint. It is touristy as hell, and if it weren't for the beer and the park I might skip it. But camping and beer are, for me, pretty convincing arguments, so I like it very much.

When we came back to the hostess we found that we now had an hour wait, and I had a moment of deep reflection: why the hell didn't we put in a reservation the first time I talked to her?

But there isn't much to do outside of the park and the brewery, unless you like to shop. Ian and I quickly found a bar: packed to the gills! The same beer was about half the price at the brewery, though, so it became much more attractive. Then we found that, in another room nearly blocked off by a corner of the bar itself, a pool table sat by itself, contemplating as best it could life and whatever song was on the jukebox.

We played a game and were both terrible,

*Chapter III*

Ian and Jesse awake, refreshed—The homeward journey is discussed—Another lesson in anatomy, with turtles—Another chance meeting—They eat a hearty breakfast for lunch—Parting—Despite a headwind, Jesse finds the return trip pleasant—He thinks about many things, but does not find enlightenment—He decides he still has "got it"—Home again