Greg and Patrick cycled through the steam room and then cooled off by taking a few laps in the resorts roof-top lazy river. I took a seat outside on their sixth floor deck that wraps it’s way around the full length of the luxurious penthouse they put me up in. Jo laid under my patio chair while I wrote down my thoughts and watched the motorboats leave their ripple on the bay.
Jo is such a bright dog and extremely fun to travel with. I couldn’t imagine making this voyage without him by my side. And I imagine that some of the folks that have welcomed us in have done so to become friends with my best friend. I count him as a blessing everyday. Jo easily adapts to every situation that we find ourselves in, and is always a gentlemen.
Down the street is a place called Mo’s. It’s a BBQ joint with a sandy backyard beach vibe. Corey came to town to visit the guys I’m staying with. He’s a talented musician, a singer-songwriter and from 6 till 9, we listened to his silky vocals and soft handed strum. Gregg was sitting in on percussion and had an extra hand drum that I was slapping for a few songs. Wilkins is the young man that was drawn to the rhythm and joined in with us, confiscating the instrument I was playing.
From their website: Grateful Dead cover band, The Stolen Faces deftly capture the spirit of the Dead, covering a wide variety of songs from the band’s expansive catalog and delivering them with the sort of energy and spontaneity that might have you thinking you’re standing in the Fillmore West in 1971. The group features a rotating cast of some of Nashville’s top session and touring musicians.
They were scheduled to perform at a venue down the road.
We assembled our group and headed over to Harpoons to check them out. My friend, John, from Bend, showed up to the party. After tapping my foot to their melodic melodies for an hour, I phoned for a ride, a local shuttle offering a five dollar fare to anywhere. I needed to get back and get a good nights sleep. It might have been Carl who picked me up, but right now as I’m writing, I can’t remember. He had a beautiful guitar in the back of the shuttle van that he drove and let me play a song for him. It was really kind of him to gift me the ride, refusing payment; another one of the many angels I’ve met here in Alabama.
I was accustomed to playing my guitar almost everyday before I left. It’s been awkward not having one at arms reach these last two months. The Outdoor Ukulele that I started out with was nice to have along. I haven’t seen it for a couple of weeks, believing it must have bounced out of the wagon, landing on the roadway just outside of Austin. Hopefully it found a good home, maybe another cyclist pedaling along behind me.
My red cycling jersey that I was gifted from Hutch’s Bicycle’s in Bend is still holding up. It’s been my only shirt, wearing it the last 68 days in row. If you can imagine, it’s faded and worn out and sometimes can be stood up in the corner. Before I left town I was gifted two trucker caps, one from Picky Bars and the other from 541 Threads. One of them I handed off to Emily who offered me a ride to the pier in Sand Diego on the front end of the journey. The other hat disappeared in the California desert somewhere. The one I’m wearing now I found on the side of the highway in west Texas laying out in the tall grass, a highway hat. The socks on my feet are my only pair. I’ve been waiting for them to walk away on their own. And just as the shirt and the socks are aging, I am too.
My skin has been sun soaked from scooting along the side of the blacktop highways in the middle of the day. A few more wrinkles have taken hold around my eyes. Having not thinned my beard since leaving home, I’m beginning to resemble the Brawny paper towel man, minus the flannel. And my eyebrows are almost as thick and fuzzy as I remember my Great Grandpa’s being.
Every time I leave, I find myself in another place where the people are just as loving. It continually blows my mind and fills my heart as I keep experiencing such an amazing amount of generosity, kindness and trust from the folks that I’ve crossed paths with.
Florida is up ahead, here comes sunshine.