There’s a windmill doing nothing in the field that’s beside me. I’m here on the front patio of the La Loma De Chivo Hostel, glancing around at the awkwardly-magnificent scenery. Ingrid and Gil open up their place to cyclists; the first night is always free.
Seated in a vintage school chair I can see the girl next door who lives in a gazebo doing yoga outside in a patch of yellow wildflowers. I think about it for a moment, that maybe I should too. Ingrid just walked over, introducing herself and gave me a hug. It’s from this place that I focus my mind on all of the manificent moments that occurred yesterday.
For over thirty years, Jack has been operating a repair shop in Alpine, Texas; Highland Automotive. His son, Andon stepped out into the garage, seeing me standing there with my bike. He briefly inspected the bolt that sheared off on my luggage rack. After throwing my Land Sleigh on the bench and drilling out the old piece, he drove Jo and I to the local hardware for the new bolt we needed, refusing to allow me to pay him for the parts or his time. He was kind to help me along.
Afterwards, I hung out in front of a gas station convenience store making small talk with a few of the travelers who were topping off their tanks. It was now three o’clock, an hour had passed. I set out for the town of Marathon just thirty miles east.
The highway parallels the railroad tracks. Multiple trains came grunting through the desolate stretch of land as Jo and made our way up and over the mountain range. The wild-flowers are blooming ferociously; a banner year for these beauties.
The wind is blowing westward, making the trek a breeze for Ken and Tim who are riding to the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic. They hail from the UK, here exploring the states. Both of them cross the highway to have a chat. My only other friends out here are a herd of cattle. I asked them all to line up for a photograph.
The human population in Marathon is less than five hundred and is absent of anyone in charge of building codes here in Brewster County. The main drag, just a few blocks long, is flourishing. The Gage Hotel with its restaurant and bar seems to be a popular gathering place.
Jo and I were greeted by several people after leaning my bike against the wall. I shared a shortened version of my story with them. Chris is standing there with her husband listening and then invites me in to take seat beside her and join their group for dinner. She graciously offers to treat me. My prime rib is seared to perfection.
Chris introduced me to her comrades who were sprawled around the massive dining table, providing me an opportunity to describe the mission that I’m on; sharing the vision for Operation Elf Box. Jo and I are made to feel at home by all of these wonderful folks. They are members of a Porsche club, gathering together, a monthly meeting of friends; a community of passionate people. When we all rose from our seats, a woman approached me, handing me a twenty dollar bill saying that she would like to buy me lunch tomorrow.
After dinner I took a seat at the White Buffalo Bar introducing myself the couple beside me, Nathan and his partner, Renee. We talked for about an hour, swapping stories about our adventurous travels. They’re nomads, seeking out one beautiful town after another, perpetually repositioning their Airstream. They publish Wand’rly Magazine, a web-based read for travelers and those who want to be, offering up creative content on how to make a living while living on the road.
I didn’t arrive until late in the evening, Greg welcoming Jo and I in, pointing us toward an earth-ship type of structure that we made home. They call it the bumble bee and its furnished simply with a small bed, a miniature desk and chair. Stepping out into cool cloudy morning, I visually take the surrounding area in, everything I was unable to see under the cover of darkness.
I believe my heart tells me what it wants. It’s my job to listen to it and respond. By following my heart, I’m finding that I’m experiencing a tremendous amount of grace, love, joy and peace and I’m constantly filled with gratitude. As Jo and I explore the country, I’m absorbing the beauty and wonder of it all, the mystery and the magnificence.