Like Good Neighbors, Steve and Carol Are There!

*click on the picture for full size

Rolling into Morehead, KY on Monday, I was nervous and excited. Being my first CouchSurfing experience, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Steve seemed nice enough on the phone, but I had arrived earlier than expected and didn’t want to interrupt him at work. Still, I gave him a ring to let him know I had arrived.

“Great! I’m just returning from lunch. Where are you? Oh wow, I’m actually near that intersection…are you that tall guy with the bags on his bike? Okay, look down the street…no the other way. See the State Farm building? That’s my office, I’ll meet you there.”

Greeting me with a huge smile and firm handshake, Steve led me and my bike into his office, plopped me down in a chair across from his desk, and asked a series of questions about my trip. At some point his father came in, sat next to me and joined in the conversation.

“Charlottesville, eh? I had a friend I visited there. Beautiful area. He built a house on top of a hill overlooking the town. Last name Wilson, I believe.”

I said didn’t know any Wilson’s who live on a hill (though I do know a Wilson Pittman Andrews III). After more chit-chat, Steve said he’d grab his pickup to take my bike to his house. I refused, saying I had already interrupted him at work, and considering I’ve biked from Virginia, riding to his house wouldn’t kill me. He insisted, however, and before I knew it we were cruising in his truck through downtown Morehead (this “him offering, me refusing, him insisting” theme would continue throughout my stay, I soon discovered).

Steve has lived in this town for most of his life, and he was a very knowledgeable tour guide. My favorite bit of Morehead history came as we passed through Steve’s alma mater, Morehead State University.

“You know how this school began? Around the 1920s, Kentucky wanted to put a public university in the eastern part of the state. Many towns were vying to be chosen. Morehead was not a very prosperous town at the time; only a few streets even had sidewalks, and many of the surrounding towns were better off. So Morehead citizens decided to make a movie showing off their town to the state. But how do you present a town that’s not very presentable? Well, there was a train that went through Morehead, and they had everyone that had boarded the train at previous stops get off at Morehead station. So that filled the town with people. But there were only five or six cars in all of Morehead. So they filmed one of the more developed downtown streets, and those same five or six cars drove around the block again and again. They submitted the movie, and within the year the state chose Morehead.”

Cheaters never prosper, but...

We also passed a soon-to-be museum of Morehead. I nominate Steve as curator.

Eventually we arrived at Steve’s home, where I met his lovely wife Carol. There I learned all about their son, Patrick, who is around my age, living in Lexington, and originally got his family interested in CouchSurfing. They are quite the jet setting family; from what I remember, their cumulative country list includes most of the European Continent, Iceland, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Cambodia, India, Japan, China, Vietnam…the list goes on, and they have couch surfed in nearly all of them. In keeping with the international spirit, they took me to their favorite Mexican restaurant, where I consumed a giant burrito and about half of Carol’s delicious pineapple fajitas. They said it was their treat – I said having a warm shower was a treat in itself and gave them money – they insisted it was their treat and refused any payment.

That evening, Steve and I shared a few beers on the porch of their cabin, about a 15 minute drive from town. I could try to describe the immense beauty of this area, but hopefully a picture will suffice.

*click on the picture for full size

Sleeping that night in a queen bed in a cozy cabin in the wooded rolling hills of northern Kentucky was, well, about as amazing as it sounds.

……..

The next day, I explained that I was going to try to bike the 85 miles from Morehead to Mason, OH and surprise my family by arriving early. Well, I should have seen it coming – Steve wanted to ease my load by driving me to the border of Ohio. I said no, I was prepared for a long day and he’s already done enough for me and doesn’t he have to go to work? He laughed, said as long as he doesn’t forget payroll, the office could run smoothly without him, and insisted on helping me. So together we drove north, crossed into Ohio (which I learned doesn’t occur until you make it to the far shore of the Ohio River…sounds like it should be renamed the Kentucky River), shared burgers at a riverfront diner, and was dropped off at a Dollar General in Mt. Orab, OH. Shortening my trip considerably, I rode a smooth 35 miles into Mason to a shocked and very happy family.

Thank you Steve and Carol for being such gracious hosts!

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by JHill on July 3, 2011 at 1:39 am

    you gotta love Kentucky and the people who live there 🙂

    Reply

    • Posted by bcline909 on July 3, 2011 at 2:22 am

      I was tempted to ask if they were the parents of JHill with the similarities in kindness and generosity, but the height wasn’t there.

      Reply

      • Posted by JHill on July 5, 2011 at 1:33 am

        I went to Kentucky Boys State at Morehead State back in summer 2002. But I didn’t meet Steve and Carol.

  2. Posted by Constance Brown on July 4, 2011 at 12:23 am

    What a great post, Brandon. I am so glad all is going well for you. You deserve it!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Rrrrrika on July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    CouchSurfing is THEEE best! That cabin looks awesome!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Olivia F. on July 13, 2011 at 4:00 am

    I love the pictures you added! If you didn’t add all these pictures, I’d be clueless as to what your trip is like. Are you using an ipad to do all of this?

    Reply

    • Posted by bcline909 on July 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      hey O! nope, just using my trusty point-and-shoot camera and uploading them to my blog whenever I find internet…like outside a hotel, for example, where I happen to be now 🙂

      Reply

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