what the two young men used to address these things. It seemed somehow necessary to them, if they were to have a real chance at successfully uncovering this mysterious character's life, and find out if he did indeed have some kind of legendary machine. They took time to listen to the river and just give themselves quiet time for what was to come.

As they headed out, they mentally cataloged the individual stories and storytellers that had provided clues to follow up on. There were in fact patterns and consistencies in the tales of this legendary character's life, far too many for him to have been a purely fictitious persona. He did have favorite geographical areas and communities that apparently were his main haunts. The young men's hunt became more and more systematic, and the stories and information on the phantom rider started to really accumulate. A picture was starting to be painted.

Unraveling mysteries is seldom a linear or predictable process. Clues that appear key are often revealed as irrelevant, and very small clues can become key. Fortunately the two young men were perceptive, as well as persistent. They had both taken a block of time off from their regular work, in order to spend a solid month chasing clues and leads about their new mythological quarry. After weeks of traveling rural areas on their bikes and interviewing any and all old timers, they unknowingly found themselves at a pivotal moment. They had pulled up in front of a general store for some camping supplies and cold beer. As they sat on their bikes under a shade tree, an old timer pulled up his vintage pickup next to them and went into the store. He was one of those odd people whose age was somewhat indeterminate. He looked a hardened 70 years, but had the aura of a much more ancient being of some sort. He had ignored them when he arrived, but when he came out of the store his eyes pierced clear through them. Strangely, there was no animosity though, but a power to his energy that was both intimidating and confusing to the young men. Was he certifiably crazy or just incredibly intense, was the question that crossed both of their minds.

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