Day 48, 22.08.2015
A new trivia fact for my beloved readers: I have lost 7.5 kgs or almost 16 pounds of weight, my present weight is now 67.59 kg or 149 pounds. I haven't weighed that little since University!
My night at the town park on “Rum River” was quiet and I got up at dawn. During breakfast and while I was waiting for my tent to dry I had one of those frequent short and always most predictable meetings with a dog owner walking his pet. While I was having my morning coffee at a coffee shop (no coffee in my luggage – I’ve got to change that; on the other hand it always gives me an opportunity to use the restrooms without a bad conscience ….) I heard two people talking about thunderstorms today. I asked them about it and they said strong wind and thunderstorms were coming in from the southeast, exactly the direction I was heading. OK, I thought, I’ll go for it and try to find a Warmshowers host on the way. At lunchtime (12:00) I had already covered 73 kms, if I kept at it I might make 120 – 140 today, I thought, 4 hours in the morning, good lunch and again 4 hours. I called Tom from Warmshowers and he agreed to put me up but it was still about 22 miles or 35 km to go. I felt confident I’d make it, there was enough time. It turned out different. At 1:30 pm the wind was getting really strong, I couldn’t do more than 9-11 km/h and was settling down into “patience-mode” 🙂 .
Then a car slowed down, coming towards me and a worried-looking man rolled down his car windows. “Are you aware there is a massive storm coming your way,” he asked. “Well I’ve heard there would be thunderstorms – how far off is it?” I answered. “Well, it should be here by five and you’re going towards it …”. Looking at my map for the umpteenth time I just didn’t find a place between here (Sunrise, MN) and my Warmshowers host (Osceola, Wisconsin) with a motel or hotel …
At that moment a cavalcade of thirty or forty motorbikes thundered past us, interrupting our conversation and when they had gone by I got off my bike and went across the road to speak to the man more directly. “Well, I’ve got an idea,” he said. “I’m going to town now but if you like you can stay at my house. It’s just down the road (and it turned out, it really was “just down the road”, not the usual 10 to 20 miles, when Americans have used the phrase to me before!)
“Well, I’d really appreciate that, if you feel comfortable with letting a complete stranger into your house just like that,” I answered. “Oh,” he said, patting my shoulder, “cyclists like you can always be trusted, I’ve travelled myself!”
After I had followed him to his driveway and put my bike next to his ultra lightweight road bike he said, “Just feel at home. I’ll be in later, about 7 pm. You can use the tv, have a shower, choose one of the rooms - my wife is out with the grandchildren”.
I gave him my card, saying, “just so you know who I am, just in case …”. His name is Bob. And off he was to see his father "in town". I took the opportunity to clean up, do some work on the bike and admired the beautiful and perfectly decorated house. Bob, by the way, drives the first Toyota Hybrid car I’ve seen so far. No wonder, probably, coming in from the west …
This is once more such wonderful proof that there are far more good people in this world than many would like to make us believe ...
Called Tom to tell him I wouldn’t make it – and started worrying once again I wouldn’t get far enough in the direction of Chicago at this rate to meet Niklas on August 31st …
PS At 15:34 my phone app eweather gave the following warning for Harris the area where I am cycling (was cycling until Bob took me in:
Alerts: Tornado Watch
25 C, overcast
Pressure: falling, 28.78 inHg
So I'll keep a watch - from behind a sturdy window!