Every heart has a place within that wants only to love and be loved.
It was once known as “Route 66’s Southern Sister”. Highway 60 passes through the dusty town of Salome. I’m traveling east towards Wickenburg. Most of the businesses have surrendered to the elements. However, the Westward Motel is booming. Rande Walters, the owner, purchased the landmark in 2008, giving the historical property a retro remodel.
The motel has only four guest rooms. Shoeless Jo and I reserved a spot outside under the stars, camping instead of taking a bed. Jo is still sleeping in his wagon. It’s 4:30 in the morning. Here I am awake, sitting inside the common room sipping coffee, tapping on the screen of my iPhone.
Yesterday morning when I arrived in town, after a short fourteen mile bike ride, I first met up with Doug at the Post Office, retrieving my resupply box. They were kind, opening the doors for me on a Saturday. Shoeless Jo’s food is shipped forward to us from Bend. He’s a four legged ambassador for www.turbopup.com. Kristina who owns the company offered to feed Jo their bacon K9 meal replacement bars, from coast to coast. Jo loves them.
Before heading into the roadside cafe for a chicken fried steak and eggs, I scope out the towns bulletin board. Others are doing the same. If you’re looking for a deal on a relic, chances are you’ll find it in Salome.
I parked Shoeless in the shade, front and center at Don’s Historic Cactus Bar. I met Joel inside. He is volunteering, setting up, organizing. And he tells me of the pig roast that benefits wounded warriors, happening this day at 3pm. I buy my ticket, showing my support, ready and willing to ‘pig’ out.
Back at the the motel, I sort through my resupply, hand wash my laundry, then chat with a couple from Phoenix who rode their shiny hogs out here for a night. Then Allen showed up on his rolling steed, pedaling the same route as I am. His bicycle looks heavy. Allen is from Casper Wyoming, traveling alone. He shared his milk and cookies with me.
It was 80 degrees and just before 4:00 o’clock when Jo and I started our two block walk back to the bar for some pork. The place is packed, people coming from bordering towns and RV parks join in the festivities and support a wonderful cause.
My plate of food looked like one of the mountains we had pedaled over to get here. I did some volunteering while I was there too, cleaning up the desserts; carrot cake and a chocolate moose.
To see a small town come together, raising over $5000 dollars in one afternoon for their wounded warrior chapter was an impressive show of human kindness and an outpouring of love by this small desert community. It felt so good to be there, to contribute, to stand together with these folks, to be love.
After swapping stories with some of the locals, and as the sun was beginning to set, I took Jo by the leash and began my walk back. Before leaving, a man grabbed my attention by shouting, “hey sir” from the opposite side of the railing. He and his wife, Brooke handed me a twenty dollar bill. I had not met them before.
They told me how they’ve helped other cyclist coming through in the past, taking them in, feeding them a steak dinner. With Brooke’s nudging, the owner of Don’s Historic Cactus Bar added another fifty buckaroos to my bill fold.
These random acts of kindness and generosity are welcomed but I still feel awkward receiving. Knowing I can use the cash, I humbly accept. Just that morning on the highway, riding into town, I had been speaking a prayer of abundance, telling myself that money loves me and that with it, I’m able to bless others.
I give, I receive. And I experience a beautiful circle of love.