The sprinter van known as Enoch has returned to Leadville, Colorado after an almost 40-day escapade. The vehicle has sat in the parking lot of the Denny Menholt’s in Billings, MT since the end of July after striking a deer en route to Bozeman, MT.
Enoch lost his beautiful Mercedes grill in the crash, which was replaced by a logo-less grill. This social status contributed to the USSPC-sponsored van’s untenable hubris, according to some, and having shed that scrap of metal, the van is starting to care more about what’s on the inside — like a functioning radiator — than what is on the outside.
The vehicle’s primary driver, Ryan Sederquist, put his life on the line to rescue the van. He departed a greyhound station from Denver at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, heading north with a crowd so sketchy, it would have made John Wayne cower behind a nearby cactus.
Upon reaching the final stop for the first driver in Buffalo, Wyoming at 8:55 p.m., a passenger sprinted to the front and asked, “What time are we getting to Portland?” which should tell you almost everything you need to know about the trip.
After sitting at a Maverick station for 90 minutes waiting for the connection to Billings — a time that, even for a gas-station lover like Sederquist is far, far, far too long — the bus driver informed the crowd that the connecting bus was two hours behind schedule. The group was relocated to a hotel, so the first driver could get some shut eye. After pouring himself a fourth cup of hotel hot chocolate at 11:30 p.m. — an activity Santa Claus doesn’t even recommend for smiling children on Christmas — Sederquist nestled in for his fourth hour of reading about Covenant Theology while the rest of the gang discussed strategies for, and as Dave Barry would say, “I’m not making this up” … escaping from federal prisons.
At 12:05, a second bus appeared.
“What happened?” I asked a long-haired individual with a nice piece of metal holding most of the parts of his nose together.
I was then told that the bus driver forgot his wallet in Gillette and had to turn around to get it, which cost the crew an hour. Then, he backed the bus into a tree branch and ripped it across three full windows, one of which was perilously dangling on my left. In a shattered death trap, I decided the best course of action would be to crouch down and try to get a couple hours of sleep.
We arrived in Billings at 3:05 a.m., which is actually where the best part of the journey started.
With approximately 6.2 miles of dark Billings streets separating Ryan from the van, the frugal 31-year-old father of one — and soon to be two — packed up his backpack and started jogging to home. To a better life. To freedom.
His phone had been drained to 3% battery life during the harrowing journey across Wyoming and southeastern Montana. This forced the experienced runner, who once dreamt of running a 2:25 at the New York City Marathon, to memorize his Google Map route before electing to utilize the remaining juice to stream a comforting discussion on the state of education from Canon Press. Without the latter, there is no saying if he would have made it through the sketchiest parts of Montana’s largest city alive.
Luckily, Ryan’s navigational skills have taken a surprising upward swing since his days of playing make-believe football games with his animals in his childhood rec room. Despite running the final 2.8 miles without any map — AND NO PODCASTING MATERIAL — Sederquist, wearing a full sweatshirt and Courtney Dauwalter-length shorts — arrived at the well-lit GMC body shop around 4:30 in the morning, roughly an hour after leaving the bus station.
He then got in the van and drove it straight back to Leadville in 93-degree temps, a training session in and of itself, considering the van’s pathetic air conditioning capabilities. He was awake for 33 hours in a 36 hour span. That night, running completely on coffee, he joyfully pedaled his first mountain bike ride on the dirt of Leadville in over a month — and drafted a fantasy football team when he got back.
“We’re glad to have Enoch back,” said Christie Sederquist.
“Mum MOM MU-MU-Mu-mU-Mom! …. AH!” Novi Sederquist added.