I chugged along through the desert into an early morning headwind. It was the most challenging day so far. The wind was so relentless that I wanted to title this blog post, “I wish the wind would blow me”, but I didn’t.
Today I covered seventy five (s)miles, the furthest I’ve ever ridden on a bicycle. My pup, Shoeless Jo, he plodded along beside me, covering forty of those miles outside of his wagon; stampeding through the hills and high winds. I’ve now ridden 609 miles from San Diego.
Back at the casino where I had last camped, they were hosting an annual event; a Pow Wow for the San Carlos Apache Tribe. I had the privilege of attending, entering with a five dollar contribution, taking with me some photographs.
Out here in the desert the views are expansive. It’s not the flat land dotted with cactus that some might imagine. The territory I’m riding through is a mirage of rolling hills and towering mountain peaks. And it’s unforgiving; water is scarce, the sun leathering my skin.
The french man, Stephen and I, are touring together today. He takes the lead much of the time, cutting the wind for Jo and I.
It seems that people are moved to be kinder when they come upon us on our bikes. Maybe it’s the dog, I don’t know? But after arriving in the first town, about sixty five miles down the road, Peggy offered oranges, passing them from the front seat of her sedan.
Not long after that, I was at a convenience store, picking up a milk shake an iced coffee and a couple of protein bars to propel me the last ten miles. Jo rested in his wagon out front. That’s when I met Carlos. He had a very calm and peaceful voice and was curious about my travels. I shared the coast to coast mission and introduced him to my copilot, Shoeless Jo.
As Carlos was leaving, taking a few steps back toward his old pick up truck, he warmly said, “please be safe out there”. I gathered that he was a genuinely kind person. I turned to talk to Stephen about our Warm Showers host that we’d soon be meeting. Carlos turned back around approaching me again, this time handing me a five dollar bill saying, “I don’t have much, but I’d like you to have this”. That’s love.
Once we arrived at our host home, our rolling cycle parade was met at the end of the driveway by Mons. He’s the son of Gene and Joy Robbins. They’ve been married sixty four years and have hosted cyclist at their home for the last four.
Mons welcomed us in telling us that his mother had made us dinner. We are escorted into an enclosed patio. It’s lined with soft sofas and a dining table. A smorgasbord of delicious goodness awaits; corned beef and cabbage, fried chicken, cheesy potatoes and a fruity jello. Gene cans a lot if her recipes and opens a few jars for us.
When the night was coming to an end, Mons was working on Stephens bike. Jo had just finished his TurboPUP bacon bar and was laying in his wagon, and I drifted off to sleep on the sofa.
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. ~ Lao Tzu