The captivating people we meet.
There aren't many constants on this trip. We're never in one spot for more than a day usually.
One thing that is consistent about this wayfarer life, is that we are always running into people. We've met every sort. Both young and old. Cyclists who have, or are currently peadaling around the world by bike. People who have never left their home state. And their lives are inspiring. There's a never a shortage of incredible people to meet in this country, and we'd like to share some of their stories:
While we were in Wichita we decided to visit a combination book store/ coffee shop. Mike and I both needed new books. We stopped in a place called: Watermark Books & Cafe. The shop was filled to the brim with people chugging java while others were on the search for the next great novel; one of those patrons among the stacks was Jenna Blum, a New York Times bestselling author, who we had the privilege to meet. She wasn't there for a book signing or a reading. Just stopping by for a visit like many of the other people in the shop. She was incredibly charismatic and had a very humble personality. Jenna had plenty of advice for the both of us, which we took to heart.
One boiling hot day in Kansas, we were reclining in the coolness of the van eating our favorite sandwich --an ice cream sandwich-- when we heard another cyclist slowly roll into the shade. This cyclist is Thomas Camero, and he is currently on a Trans Am bike race from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. Tom is currently in last place; but he has the enthusiasm of somebody who has already won. His favorite activity is to stop at the National Parks and participate in the Junior Ranger programs to pick up some knowledge and collect the badges, which he proudly posts on his front pannier. Tom is carrying more 171 pounds of gear, including a coffee pot.
One of my very best friends from high school, Becky Flynn, spent a week and half hanging out with us. By hanging out I mean, she drove our sag wagon, cooked our food, and generally took great care of us. This season Becky is working on trail blazing mountain bike paths out near Moab, Utah. Her special skills include: Chopping down trees, identifying obscure directors of movies, and driving more skillfully than Dale Earnhardt Junior. It was quite the privilege to have her support.
Lyle Wilson, owns a coffee shop in downtown David, Oklahoma. He pulls one great shot of espresso and knows all of his customers by name. Before getting his own coffee shop, he went to a different coffee shop every morning. One day his wife approached him and said: “Lyle, do you know how much money you spend on coffee every year?” He replied, “No, how much do I spend?” she looked him dead in the eye, “Nineteeeeeen hundred dollars.”
“Well, I don’t play golf; I drink coffee instead.”
We've been very fortunate to have met so many different people along this trip, and we will continue to encounter more as we travel further.
Thanks for reading!