Jo and I are sitting in a fluorescent lit community room on an old military base. It’s Easter Sunday. He’s laying under the table. I’m sipping french vanilla coffee. In a warm southern tone, a Georgian, Jim, just welcomed us in and took our twelve dollars.
At about nine o’clock last night we came rolling into Fort Clark Springs RV Park in Bracketville, Texas. We had left the city of Del Rio behind us late in the afternoon making the thirty some mile trek under the threat of thunder and rain.
As my morning ritual goes, I practice giving thanks to my Creator for a half dozen things or so. Sometimes more. I usually speak these gratitudes out loud as I begin pedaling my bike. I say what first comes to mind; I’m thankful for my dog, for my friends, for the food in my belly, the snacks in my shirt pocket, this iPhone, and for the ability to give and receive love.
Leaving Del Rio, I cruised down the hill, along the main strip, pulling through a McDonald’s drive-thru. An employee came out and spent time with us making friendly conversation and was helpful in pointing us to a local bike shop and a market.
After lunch I mozied into the store and fetched Jo some kibble. One of the workers who was pushing carts offered to keep an eye on Jo and my Land Sleigh while I ran in. Returning, we were approached by several others asking questions about our voyage. I shared the Operation Elf Box vision and sent them friend requests.
Another busted rear spoke finds us visiting, Jesus. His friends call him Chewie. I had bought some fresh fruit at the store so when I walked into the bike shop I introduced myself and offered the man a piece. “Hi, I’m Josh, would you like this banana?”. He took it. And then Jesus took the wheel and fixed it.
As I traversed through the small city towards the outskirts, I stopped to consult my map. That’s when Joel who had turned his car around having spotted us, pulled up beside me. He started asking questions about my bicycle. When I told him we started in San Diego, I might as well have said Siberia. The expression on his face was one of bewilderment. He mentioned that he had just bought a bike for himself and how he’s excited about riding it. The bicycle brings people together and riding one causes happiness.
I’m no where near Folsom State Prison when I hear that train a comin, rolling round the bend. I drop my bike and run out to the tracks to grab a picture and feel the powerful locomotive blow by me.
The texture of the highway is rough and lumpy. As I pedal along the wildflower lined byway, I spot several wild animals. Two rams and a pair of exotic Indian antelope…from Texas.
When I stopped to admire the burly beasts, Sheriff Ben Vasquez paid me a visit, pulling in alongside me. The first words out of his mouth were, “are you okay?” I responded that Jo and I were doing amazing, just taking a break. We sat there discussing my long bike ride, the poor asphalt condition, the rattle snakes that are out, the other animals that inhabit the area, and the town up ahead. I thank him for stopping to check on our wellbeing, and before reaching my hand in my pocket, I ask if I can shoot a photograph.
In Bracketville, two dudes that work at the gas station helped by pointing us toward the campground. They were extremely kind, stepping out from behind the counter, coming out front and identifying a landmark up ahead where we would turn.
A group of teen-agers offeres the same assistance once Jo and I were beyond the security guard kiosk and we’re getting closer. They came over and loved on Jo, patting his head, and told us again where to turn, that we were very close.
I’m experiencing a tremendous amount of love along the way. Meeting those who are expressing kindness toward us, patients, offering guidance, providing for Jo and I. I’m grateful to be receiving exactly what we need when we need it. In fact, we have more than we need.
And now I sit here thinking about everyone that I love, and those who love me too. I feel fortunate, lucky, and blessed beyond measure. And I imagine that Jo must feel the same way.
With Love & Happy Easter,
Josh Hart & Shoeless Jo