Rest day done and time to get back on the road today. I journeyed west and south to the town of Rensselaer Indiana where a host family (Chris and Jodi Kosary) put me up for the night.
Today was a day of surprises, let me start from the start. I packed up early, ate some oatmeal and got on the road by seven. By 8:30 I found myself in the middle of a by-goodness midwest thunder and lightning storm where the time between the lightning and the thunder was less than a second. This is not a good thing, and all I know to do is ride. I did, as fast as you can with a boat for a bicycle.
Stopped for breakfast in the town of Medaryville at ‘Anita Coffee’ (took me a few to figure out I needed a coffee also…). Awesome breakfast. Got chatting with the couple next to me as they saw my bike and the fact I was leaving puddles on the floor. They told me of their nephew who rode the Big Iowa ride every year; ‘but he isn’t crazy enough to do something like ride to Colorado.’ We chatted about life and storms and good breakfasts. My waitress brought the bill and then two minutes later the owner of the restaurant (guessing Anita here) came over and picked it up and said ‘you don’t need this.’ The couple next to me had bought my breakfast and said they’d be praying for me for a safe journey. Cool, that has never happened to me before. Serendipity number one for a Monday.
I rode on to Rensselaer and was wandering through town heading towards McDonalds and unlimited unsweet tea and free internet. Trucks were honking and waving and I couldn’t figure out what was going down. Suddenly a van pulls up beside me on my right. It was my host Chris chasing me down to say I could come by anytime I wanted. I love small towns and serendipity number two.
In McDonalds I get seated and my iced unsweet tea and some fellow standing at the table next to me is talking and pointing at my bike. He said to the people he was talking to; ‘I was way up north and saw this guy riding in a thunderstorm and he had a rig just like that, I could see he got soaked…’ I turned around, smiled and said, ‘that was me…’ So proceeded the I think you are a crazy dude, and you got wet, and to be honest you are doing a really cool thing. Serendipity number three
While I was up getting my first tea there was a young girl there and we were chatting about sweet versus unsweet tea. When she heard the guy chatting with me she would look over and smile at me. Then after her boyfriend and her had finished lunch they both came over. She walked up to me, stuck out her hand and introduced herself; ‘Hi I’m Ashley…’ They asked about my trip and where I had come from and where I was headed. She was genuinely honoured to meet me. Oddity, or serendipity number four.
Reality is we often forget that people are not politics. Regardless of the places I have been when you get down to brass tacks people are people and we are either generous with our smiles and our money and our time; or we aren’t. I have been blessed on this trip with many who have given me houses to sleep and shower in. Hosts who have done my laundry for me. People who share their pig roast and their beer. I am only a week in and this has been delightful. Give me a generous heart to bless those around me who need it! Give me a heart to see the people around me not as representatives of what we espouse, but as people who live and move and breathe the very breath of God.
To finish off the day Chris handed me a bracelet made locally in Indiana. It says ‘be the change,’ amen, let me be the change in others lives!