A cross-country journey starts with wet clothes, and then a warm brecky
Photo Chris Kostman/XO-1.org
Waiting under the dripping portico of a little church in New Canaan, Mass., my brother gave a thumb’s up. I mounted my pannier-laden bicycle and followed him to a place he found where we could camp for the night; the tree-filled side yard of Ida Betts’ craftsman style bungalow.
“Within an hour, we were watching Wheel-of-Fortune.”
It was late afternoon on day three of a 2,600-mile bicycle odyssey and this 80+ year old widow welcomed us onto her porch to escape the rain. In minutes all our shirts, socks and shorts — including soaked tent and sleeping bags were draped over the swing, railing and rocking chairs that held a front-row seat to the summer deluge. Within an hour, we were watching Wheel-of-Fortune from her flower print couch, reciting our personal who, what, where and whys while snacking on egg salad sandwiches, potato chips and fresh lemonade. In short order, her daughter — who stopped by to grill the strangers who had invaded her mother’s home — was driving off with our wet clothes. Ida now insisted we stay in the guest room after feeding us dinner and watching the latest episode of Murder She Wrote.
In the morning, we feasted on a huge portion of eggs, bacon, potatoes, oatmeal, orange juice and milk, loaded up our clean, dry and folded clothes, exchanged hugs goodbye and hit the road. We had 2,470 miles to go. The dozens of other strangers we met along the way were never as good, but they weren’t much worse, either.