I don’t know what I’ve ever done in my lifetime that would qualify me to receive such random and miraculous blessings. These gifts, I believe, come from my Creator, delivered to me by…people. And how is it possible, that each of these blessings seem to find me at exactly the right moment if it wasn’t for a loving Spirit looking after me.
Before I tell you about the amazing gift that Jo and I just received, I’d like to share with you a few of the others, the miracles that these earth angels have been bestowing upon us.
When I woke up yesterday, I was laying on the front lawn of the fire department in Panama City Beach. Jo was right there beside me where we slept under the stars together.
It wasn’t just the Captain, it was most of the crew that made there way over to us, offering us good-morning greetings just as the sun was rising.
It was six o’clock, a cup of coffee was placed in my hand by one of them. He had a kind voice, letting me know that he put cream and sugar in it. How nice. Moments later, another man in blue walked over and handed me a days supply of Gatorade and enough water for Jo and I both. And then another hero escorted me to the shower, handing me a warm towel fresh from the dryer. The last one to say hello wanted us to know that if we needed anything at all, that we shouldn’t be shy to ask.
My spirits were lifted, but in the back of my mind I was holding on to a little bit of worry that was interfering with my happiness. I was looking over my finances, giving my dwindling bank account to much thought. 71 days on the road, visiting America one day, one heart and one town at a time comes with it’s price.
I considered all of the monetary gifts that we’ve received, the love coming to me from over 100 people that have contributed since I left home. I felt reluctant to ask for anymore help even though I knew I needed it in order to complete this mission.
I sat down at the McDonald’s and I wrote my previous blog. At the end of my writing I included an honest request from those reading, basically asking for a miracle. And it happened.
By the end of the day, nine of my friends had deposited the sum of $557 dollars into my GoFundMe account. When I checked my emails in the early evening, I learned of all of the generosity. A few tears rolled down as I sat there on a highway guardrail, looking out over the ocean, watching the sun setting on the horizon. I just couldn’t believe it.
I’ve spoken of Miya and Glenn before. They’re a lovely couple making their way coast to coast by bike. We’ve continued to cross paths along the way, unplanned, random encounters as we traverse the country. First meeting in Arizona, then again in Louisiana, another time boarding the ferry on Dauphin Island and then once again, yesterday, when I felt like I needed the company of a friend.
I was pedaling through Panama City, passing by a deli when I looked to my right and saw them sitting on the patio. I let out a loud celebratory holler and flipped around to say hi. The four of us, Jo included in that number, made the fifty mile ride together to Port Saint Joe, not seeing a single beach bear as the signs indicate we might.
Jo loves having other cyclist around, it gives him an opportunity to exercise his herding instinct. He sits in his wagon, poking his head around the saddle bags, keeping a close eye on them as we roll down the highway.
Miya and Glenn had planned on continuing another fifteen miles or so, an out of the way detour to the state park campground on the peninsula where visitors are promised the most beautiful beach in America. I imagined standing on those shores covered in white sugary sand and having an endless view of the emerald green waters.
Following them out there and back would have added about thirty miles round trip. They said they were planning to post up there for two nights, making the extended ride worth it.
I decided to stay in town and later discovered that the only RV park here doesn’t welcome tent campers. I ended up visiting with one of the employees at McDonald’s on their front patio. We had a spiritual conversation, him saying “anytime God comes up in a discussion, I know it’s gonna be a good talk”.
It was now ten o’clock at night, the town so quite you might have thought they rolled up the asphalt at dusk. I looked at my phone, searching for churches and found one with ease.
I pushed my Land Sleigh under the awning of the front door of the brick building, the church. I laid my sleeping bag down, made sure Jo was comfy and rolled around on my deflated air mattress that has a hole in it. It was warm and humid and sleep seemed to escape me for most of the night.
I planned on waking and riding the seventy miles to a place called Slopchoppy. Who names these towns? But as was sitting at the coffee shop, still in Port Saint Joe, an email came in from someone whom I had never met before and am not connected with on Facebook either.
She suggested we stay here in this beautiful town on the Forgotten Coast, a place that’s famous for its oysters and breath taking beaches. With her suggestion came the most generous offer, a gift of a luxurious bed and breakfast, a pet friendly cottage.
I responded to her email, asking her to call me. A moment later my phone rang, I heard her sweet voice, she sounded like an angel and I believe that she is. She’s from Louisiana, wanting to remain anonymous, saying that she likes doing things for other people. She’s been reading my blog. The woman added that she spoke with Debbie, the owner of the Tiki Palms Inn and that she was waiting for us to arrive just three blocks from where I was sitting, that our accommodations were paid for for the next two nights.
I met with Debbie, who said we have the entire place to ourselves tonight. Then I put a pin on their map, noting that Jo and I are the only ones from Oregon to have stayed here in this beautiful place.