3 Things that Made Today Awesome

Written on Saturday, 7/9/11

Behind an abandoned house in Clay City, IN.

1)      As I stopped at an intersection around ten in the morning close to Martinsville, IN, two cyclists pulled up beside me.

“Quite a load you’re carrying! Where you going? Wow, crossing the country, eh? Passing through Martinsville? Want to join us for breakfast?”

I readily agreed, having not eaten yet (I try to get in a decent amount of miles before breakfast while the sun is still low), and followed them to a small restaurant in the town square. As soon as we dismounted, Marty and Carol introduced themselves, followed quickly with

“Are you into basketball? Know who John Wooden is? He’s from Martinsville. Coached the UCLA Bruins to 10 NCAA championships.”

I won’t soon forget him, as I was reminded several times throughout breakfast of this hometown hero.

Carol and Marty are from Indianapolis, and go for a bike ride to this locally-owned diner in Martinsville every weekend. There and back, it’s about 50 miles; impressive, considering prior to trying to cross the country, I’d still be sleeping by the time they finished. They had omelets and toast, I had a giant plate of biscuits and gravy, and we talked about biking, travel, family, and careers, among many other things. I told them I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life; they seemed to think there was nothing wrong with that. Just enjoy the trip, they said, and it gets flatter in Illinois. They generously paid for my meal, we exchanged contact info, they led back onto my route, and took off back to Indianapolis. Thank you for the wonderful breakfast, Carol and Marty, and go Hoosiers!

2)     Sweltering in the Indiana heat around midday, I stopped at an intersection and did a sweep of the landscape. Cornfields, gas station, covered wagon, more cornfields …wait, what? Looking like it had rolled in from the Oregon Trail, a wagon sat at the edge of the gas station parking lot. I pulled up to it and found a bearded (chin-strip style) man with a flat-brimmed hat and collared shirt and suspenders, and a young girl in a dress and bonnet. I can’t be sure, as I’ve never seen anything like this before, but I’d say they were Amish…and having a bake sale.

“Bread, pies, cookies, brownies, all made from scratch using the finest ingredients. You’ll taste the difference.”

The man introduced himself and his daughter, said his wife and other children were up the road at their own stand (which I had passed earlier; seeing women and children in similar dress, I had assumed it was some sort of folk festival), and explained how the proceeds of the bake sale would go toward building a new house for his family. He seemed proud of his goods, which admittedly all looked delicious, and the little girl kept staring at me, then looking back at her father like she wanted to ask him something, but too shy to do so in the presence of this sweaty man and his metallic steed. I ended up buying a chocolate chip and pecan oatmeal bar and continued on my way, pumped about the treat, the little girl (who continued staring from the cover of the wagon as I biked away), and money well spent.

3)      Arriving in Clay City around five in the evening, I began looking for a place to set up camp. I passed an abandoned house and decided its backyard would do just fine. First things first, I needed a shower, so I pulled out my handy Walmart camping shower. The house didn’t have a hose, though, so I rang the doorbell on the house next door. An old lady answered.

“You want to do what? Oh, sure, there’s a hose around back. Just make sure you turn it off.”

And then she saw my shirt. Well, actually, my brother’s shirt that he lent me from a tennis camp at Ohio University.

“Did you go to Ohio University? I went there! There’s a hose in the kitchen, why don’t you use that? Come on in, want a Pepsi?”

She grabbed a glass with ice, poured the soda, directed me to a chair and handed me the drink. Normally I’m not a big soda drinker, but that cold 41 grams of liquid sugar was the best thing I had all day. She told me all about her family, who lived in town and were currently at a festival down the road, and how she used to live in Ohio before her husband passed away. She said she much preferred the hills of Ohio to the Indiana flatlands. I had never really considered Ohio to have hills, but compared to eastern Indiana, a carpet has more bumps. She then gave me another Pepsi, a bag of chips that she claimed were only sold in Ohio, and wished me well on my journey. It’s amazing how the writing on a shirt can influence your interactions with people. Thank you, Pepsi lady, and go Bobcats!

And one gross thing: at the end of a typical day, I have about 20 gnats and small flies on my arms, stuck to the sweat 🙂

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11 responses to this post.

  1. your stories about strangers make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. like i just ate a teddy bear. weird.

    Reply

    • Posted by bcline909 on July 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm

      they make me feel warm and fuzzy too. we have a warm and fuzzy connection. like teddy space docking.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Stephanie Marnocha on July 15, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Brandon!!! I was talking to Miah the other day, and he mentioned that you passed through and stayed with him one night during your trek across the country. I happened across your blog today…how awesome!!!!!!!!!! The writing is comically you and the pictures are a great illustration of your travels. I am in awe of you. There are not too many people who would head out and do what you are doing. I can’t wait to see/read of more of your adventures! Safe travels, friend.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Constance Brown on July 15, 2011 at 2:24 am

    It always makes me happy to find a post from “tall guy on a bike”! Thanks for keeping us up to date on your adventures, Brandon. Your photos continue to amaze me. 🙂

    Reply

    • Posted by bcline909 on July 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      thanks for setting up your sister’s family to host me, Connie! Kevin and Christine are so nice, and their children were excited to meet the crazy biker 🙂 it was so nice to rest up for a couple days with such gracious hosts. now back on the road!

      Reply

  4. Posted by Bends on July 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Protein osmosis! Woohoo!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Wizzard on July 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I second both of the above comments! Hope you got some rest in St. Louis! Keep truckin’! Also… i need to call you… jv tells me you are planning on coming back around the 13th or so… just a reminder, beach week is the 9th. And… look at my mama! Using emoticons, she is fancy!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Janny on July 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    So excited for you buddy! Keep on trucking!

    Reply

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